Saturday, October 16, 2010

40 Gigabit Ethernet Demonstrated on Supercomputing Network

By David Gross

Earlier this week, BLADE Network Technologies released its RackSwitch G8264, one of the first Top-of-Rack switches to feature 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports.    Extreme Networks (EXTR) has also added 40 Gigabit capabilities to its Summit X650 ToR box, which was used by two European research labs, CERN and SARA, to demonstrate a 40 Gigabit Ethernet link between their facilities in Geneva and Amsterdam.

As part of the demonstration, an Extreme-provisioned 40GigE link was fed to a long-haul optical transport platform in Geneva, which then passed the traffic back to another Extreme switch in Amsterdam.   The switches were used to display a computer-generated video of the Big Bang, and were part of the 10th Annual Global Lambda Grid Workshop, where research lab engineers gathered to discuss the latest advancements in high-speed networking.

Extreme lists pricing for the 40 GigE ports on the Summit X650 at $1,000, while BLADE lists theirs at $1,350.  However, these are for short-reach links.   Pricing on longer-range 40GBASE-LR4 ports, which will transmit up to 10km without a push from any optical transport devices, will likely cost well into the five figures.

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