Terabit Ethernet

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Terabit Ethernet or TbE is used to describe future speeds of Ethernet above 100 Gbit/s. As of 2015, 400 Gigabit Ethernet is under development, using broadly similar technology to 100 Gigabit Ethernet, but 1 Terabit Ethernet is not.[1]


Facebook and Google, among other companies, have expressed a need for TbE.[2] However, TbE would require different technology, while a speed of 400 Gbit/s is achievable with existing technology, unlike 1 Tbit/s (1000 Gbit/s).[3][1] Accordingly, at the IEEE Industry Connections Higher Speed Ethernet Consensus group meeting in 2012 September, 400 GbE was chosen as the next generation goal.[1]

The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) attracted help from Agilent Technologies, Google, Intel, Rockwell Collins, and Verizon Communications to help with research into next generation ethernet.[4]


The IEEE formed the "IEEE 802.3 Industry Connections Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment Ad Hoc", to investigate the business needs for short and long term bandwidth requirements.[5][6][7]

IEEE 802.3's "400 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group" started working on the 400 Gbit/s generation standard in March 2013.[8] Results from the study group were published and approved on March 27th, 2014. Subsequently, the IEEE 802.3bs Task Force[9] started working to provide physical layer specifications for several link distances.[10] Standards are expected in December 2017.[11]

Project objectives[edit]

Like all speeds since 10 Gigabit Ethernet, the standard will support only full-duplex operation. Other objectives include:[10]

  1. Support MAC data rate of 400 Gbit/s
  2. Preserve the Ethernet frame format utilizing the Ethernet MAC
  3. Preserve minimum and maximum frame size of current Ethernet standard
  4. Define physical layer specifications that support link distances of:
  5. Support a bit error ratio (BER) of 10-13, which is an improvement over the 10-12 BER that was specified for 10GbE, 40GbE, and 100GbE.
  6. Support for OTN (transport of Ethernet across optical transport networks), and optional support for Energy-Efficient Ethernet (EEE).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Network boffins say Terabit Ethernet is TOO FAST: Sticking to 400Gb for now". 
  2. ^ Feldman, Michael (February 3, 2010). "Facebook Dreams of Terabit Ethernet". HPCwire. Tabor Communications, Inc. 
  3. ^ Matsumoto, Craig (March 5, 2010). "Dare We Aim for Terabit Ethernet?". Light Reading. UBM TechWeb,. 
  4. ^ Craig Matsumoto (October 26, 2010). "The Terabit Ethernet Chase Begins". Light Reading. Retrieved December 15, 2011. 
  5. ^ Stephen Lawson (May 9, 2011). "IEEE Seeks Data on Ethernet Bandwidth Needs". PC World. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  6. ^ "IEEE Industry Connections Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment" (PDF). IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group. July 19, 2012. Retrieved 2015-03-01. 
  7. ^ Max Burkhalter Brafton (May 12, 2011). "Terabit Ethernet could be on its way". Perle. Retrieved December 15, 2011. 
  8. ^ "400 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group". Group web site. IEEE 802.3. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  9. ^ IEEE 802.3bs Task Force
  10. ^ a b "Objectives" (PDF). IEEE 802.3bs Task Force. Mar 2014. Retrieved 2015-03-01. 
  11. ^ "Adopted Timeline" (PDF). IEEE 802.3bs Task Force. Retrieved 2015-09-22. 
  12. ^ 100m MMF draft proposal
  13. ^ a b c IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group Liaison letter to ITU-T Questions 6/15 and 11/15
  14. ^ 400G-PSM4: A Proposal for the 500m Objective using 100 Gbps per Lane Signaling
  15. ^ Proposal for 400GE Optical PMD for 2km SMF Objective based on 4 x 100G PAM4
  16. ^ Baseline Proposal for 8 x 50G NRZ for 400GbE 2km and 10km PMD
  17. ^ Baseline Proposal for 8 x 50G NRZ for 400GbE 2km and 10km PMD

Further reading[edit]