May 2005
The Cyberinfrastructure Backplane: The Jump to Light Speed
Linda Winkler, Argonne National Lab


Ethernet has withstood the test of time to become the most widely adopted networking technology in the world. Due to its proven low implementation cost, reliability, and relative simplicity of installation and maintenance, Ethernet’s popularity has grown to the point that nearly all traffic on the Internet originates or terminates with an Ethernet connection. As the demand for ever-faster network speeds has increased, the Ethernet standard has been adapted to handle these higher speeds. 10G Ethernet is the natural evolution of the well-established IEEE 802.3 standard in speed and distance. In addition to increasing the line speed, it extends Ethernet’s proven value set and economics to metropolitan and wide area networks by providing: lowest total cost-of-ownership; straight-forward migration to higher performance levels; proven multi-vendor interoperability; and a familiar network management interface.

The10G WAN PHY standard allows service providers to use the installed-base of SONET Layer 1 transport gear to provision 10G Ethernet traffic. For the customer, this eliminates the need for expensive Packet over SONET router interfaces, lowering the barrier to entry into the 10G WAN market.

Third generation 10G NICs combined with 3GIO I/O subsystems in end systems promise to deliver full line rate performance for servers. The maturing of the 10G Ethernet market is demonstrated by the smooth interoperability of 10G interfaces from multiple vendors, the ability to successfully fill 10 Gb/s paths both on local area networks, cross-continent and internationally, and the ability to transmit greater than 10 Gb/s from a single host.

Showcase events such as the SC conference have successfully demonstrated the interoperability of 10G technology as well as its capability of meeting the ever-increasing demand for bandwidth. Participants as well as attendees have an opportunity to witness the next generation network two years in advance

NLR is probably the most ambitious research and education networking initiative since the ARPANET and the NSFnet, both of which led to the commercialization of the Internet. In the spirit of these great success stories, NLR strives to stimulate and support innovative network research to go above and beyond the current incremental evolution of the Internet. The results of such endeavors are expected to facilitate further commercial development and creation of new technologies and markets, thereby stimulating economic development and contributing to U.S. national competitiveness.


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Reference this article
Winkler, L. "Does 10G Ethernet Measure Up?" CTWatch Quarterly, Volume 1, Number 2, May 2005. http://www.ctwatch.org/quarterly/articles/2005/05/does-10g-ethernet-measure-up/

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