40G Ethernet component and product update

September 2009 was great month for the advancement of 40GEthernet as it saw several significant product releases, both at the Intel Developer forum and at ECOC, Europes premier show for optical communications. Here’s an overview of what we thought were the key product highlights :-

World first 40G Ethernet NIC card
It was no surprise that Mellanox, the leader (and for a long time sole supplier) of 10/40G Infiniband solutions announced the availability of the worlds first 40G Ethernet NIC card, the ConnectX EN 40G.


What is surpsing is how compact the ConnectX EN 40G really is, as shown in the picture at the link below :-


The ConnextX EN 40G is based on its ConnectX 2 silicon and supports a single 40Gbps interface provided by a pluggable QSFP module for network connection and a PCIe2.0 system interface.

The card supports all the standard Ethernet features as well as priority based flow control which should be usefull in the data center and to help TCP/IP applications use all that bandwidth the ConnectX EN 40G suppoprts TCP/UDP/IP stateless offoad, like checksum calculation/check. The adapator is not just for the standard TCP/IP world and Mellanox have added support for both FCoE and RDMA (which is a bit like IBoE).

40G CFP modules from Finisar and SEI
At ECOC 09, Vienna, both Finisar and SEI (Sumitomo Electric Inc) introduced 40GBase-LR4 modules using the CFP MSA format. The CFP MSA can be used for both 40G Ethernet and 100G Ethernet (that’s the C in the CFP) and both companies were founder members of the CFP MSA organisation along with Opnext and Avago.

We could try to write a few words about the features of the 40GBase-LR4 CFP modules but why bore you when you can watch the excellent video, made by Finisar at ECOC, showing their 40GBase-LR4 module being used with an EXFO 40G Ethernet tester to run error free over 10km :-


In addition, Finisar have anounced new small form factor 40G VSR module based on the 300pin MSA which has the capabilty to operate at any rate from 39Gbps (SONET) upto 44Gbps (OTU3e) and also the 41.25Gbps rate required by serial 40G Ethernet!!

100G CFP modules by Opnext and Reflexphotonics
Whilst the blog is mainly about 40G Ethernet we can’t help but mention that Opnext showed a 100GBase-LR4 CFP and module and Reflexphotonics showed their 100GBase-SR10 CFP module.

QSFP and CXP modules from Merge Optics
MergeOptics have on offer a new range of 40G QSFP and 120G CXP modules. The 40G QSFP modules came in both the active cable variant and the MPO connector variant making them (we think) the first vendor to offer both. On the 120G CXP side the offered a 1:1 CXP active cable as well as unique 3x40G to 1x120G hydra active cable.

CFP Host Connector solution
Tyco Electronics announced their complete solution for a CFP host connector (i.e. the stuff that goues on the line card to allow you to plug in a CFP module). The solution covers the 148pin Z axis connector, receptacle cover, guide rails, external bracket assembly, backer plate and heat sink.

Although still preliminary all parts come with the necessary drawings and 2/3D CAD files.


Best of luck to all the companies above and we hope your investement in 40G Ethernet pays off.

40G Ethernet Resource Center

One Response to “40G Ethernet component and product update”

  1. Hilton Kilogan Says:

    Hi, I suppose your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Safari, it looks very good but when opening in Safari, it has some overlapping. I just want to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, fantastic blog!

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