Gigabit Ethernet Bonding for
100 GigE Wan
Clever new DWDM design bonds
multiple 10 GigE wavelength services to create a 100 Gbps long
By: John Shepler
Technology has an insatiable appetite for
computing resources. Processor throughput, memory, storage and
communications bandwidth are in no danger of going out of demand
anytime soon. The problem is that we're pushing the limits of
what we can do with our conventional architectures sooner than
applications would like. In the case of CPU throughput, multiple
parallel processors let us increase the Megaflop throughput easier
than trying to up the MHz of the processors. Terabytes of disk
storage are easier to create by adding drives rather than making
Paralleling Transmission Lines to Increase
The same principle of parallel processing works to increase bandwidth.
T1 line bonding is a common way to increase WAN bandwidth by
multiples of the standard 1.5 Mbps. The next logical service
increment is T3 or DS3 service at 45 Mbps, but that generally
requires fiber optic transmission lines that aren't universally
available. It can also be considerably more expensive if all
you need is 3 to 10 Mbps.
But what if you need massive bandwidth
even beyond what is available on fiber optic line service? How
about 100 Gigabit Ethernet as a WAN network? That's a tough order
to fill, as the fastest Ethernet WAN services generally available
run at 10 Gbps. On the SONET side, OC48 is a typical backbone
service. But that's just 2.5 Gbps. OC192 has a transmission speed
of 9.953 Mbps, basically a match for 10 Gig-E.
Now 100 Gbps WANs are Realistic
So how do you get to that next level of 100 Gigabits per second
today? Using similar principles to increasing WAN speeds by bonding
T1 lines together. Take 10 available 10 GigE wavelength services
and use them as a parallel bundle to achieve a total throughput
of 100 GigE. In effect, Gigabit bonding. The beauty of this approach
is that it doesn't require an order of magnitude transmission
speed increase. You can get 100 Gigabit Ethernet with today's
Well, actually you do need some specialized
equipment that's just in the demonstration stage. In fact the
demonstration of this approach by the developers, Finisar,
Infinera, Internet2, Level 3 Communications and the University
of California at Santa Cruz, was a 4,000 Km link from Tampa,
Florida to Houston, Texas and back again. The clever design approach
uses DWDM (Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing) to create
bonded wavelengths called "super lambdas." In this
demo system, a single chip provides lane alignment and packet
So who needs 100 Gigabyte Ethernet WANs?
This kind of bandwidth may eventually become the norm for HDTV
networks, video production, astronomy, seismology, telemedicine,
supercomputing and research including real-time simulations.
Corporate LANs are already filling up 10 Gbps LANs and 100 Gbps
LANs will be here before we know it. WAN bandwidths are going
to have to increase to keep up or become the irritating bottleneck
that limits system performance. In fact, how long will it be
until the next demonstration bonds 100 wavelengths to create
a Tbps long distance network?
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