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Vol 3/ No.6

Will we ever need 400 Gigabit Ethernet enterprise networks?

Though 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) is just at the beginning of widespread uptake, there’s already plenty of talk in the market about the need for 40 and 100 GbE in the enterprise. In the middle of all this, do we need to consider the potential for 400 Gigabit Ethernet in the WAN and LAN? The answer is, plainly, yes. The IEEE has just formed a working group to determine whether there will be need for 400 GbE or Terabit Ethernet development. But we are already some looming use cases—even in the enterprise LAN—that will drive the need for 400 Gigabit Ethernet. In general, high-speed standards like 400 GbE or even Terabit Ethernet are applied deeper in the network where traffic has been aggregated. For now, computer and storage interface standards define transfer rates well below 100 GbE, so that won’t cause demand. But since the edge of the network is getting faster, it would be sensible to assume that this higher edge traffic would force up speeds in the metro/core aggregation network as well. Modern networks, whether they span the ...

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