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Ethernet Alliance resumes live High Speed Networking Plugfests

Date: 2022-05-26
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Ethernet Alliance resumes live High Speed Networking Plugfests

The Ethernet Alliance's High Speed Plugfest series is back up and running after a COVID-induced break.

After a COVID-induced hiatus, the Ethernet Alliance has resumed its series of High Speed Networking Plugfests at the University of New Hampshire’s InterOperability Labs (UNH-IOL; see, for example, 'Latest Ethernet Alliance High-Speed Networking Plugfest has 97% pass rate'). The most recent edition, held April 24-29, 2022, brought together 18 member companies to evaluate the state of 100-Gbps and electrical lane support within the context of IEEE 802.3ck and 50-Gbps within IEEE 802.3bs.

The Ethernet Alliance originally planned to host this event last October, but postponed it due to the pandemic, said EXFO’s David J. Rodgers, Ethernet Alliance events chair. The organization offered a virtual participation option for this event, but Rodgers said that all the participants opted to come in-person to the lab. The event was open to Ethernet Alliance members; those who made the trip to Durham, NH, included:

  • Amphenol

  • Anritsu

  • Arista Networks

  • Credo

  • EXFO

  • Intel

  • Keysight Technologies (including IXIA)

  • Marvell

  • NVIDIA (Mellanox division)

  • Panduit

  • Rohde & Schwarz

  • Siemon

  • TE Connectivity

  • Tektronix

  • Teledyne LeCroy

  • VIAVI Solutions

  • Wilder

  • Xena

Rodgers said the participants brought just over 20 products and/or test instruments to participate in the interoperability exercises, which included more than 200 tests within the structured portion of the proceedings as well as several sidebar link ups. Products under evaluation included modules; cable assemblies that comprised direct-attach cables, active electrical cables, and active optical cables; network interface cards; switches; routers; and ICs. Higher Speed Networking Subcommittee Co-Chairs Kent Lusted of Intel and Pavel Zivny of Tektronix played active roles in organizing the event and overseeing its operation.

Ethernet Alliance resumes live High Speed Networking Plugfests

As is always the case, the April 2022 plugfest had several goals.

While official results are still being tabulated, the products appear to have shown a strong level of protocol interoperability and physical layer (PHY) specification compliance; Rodgers rated the overall performance of the test subjects an 8 out of 10. He commented that link initialization remains a focus, elements such as auto-negotiation and link training key parameters.

The interop was timely, Rodgers and Zivny pointed out within a blog posted on the Ethernet Alliance website, in that the IEEE802.3ck working group is preparing its final drafts for ratification. Results of the interop will be sent to the working group to aid in this effort. Meanwhile, the interop should give those who plan to use 100G lanes as building blocks for 400G product designs confidence as they move forward.

The Ethernet Alliance already has its sights set on the next interop, which will take place this October. Rodgers said the event likely will address any problems encountered in April as well as other parameters of interest.

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