Keysight teams for first full line rate 1.6 T Ethernet test

Keysight teams for first full line rate 1.6 T Ethernet test

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Keysight Technologies and Credo Semiconductor have demonstrated the industry’s first full line speed testing of 1.6Tbit/s Ethernet over active copper cable.

The IEEE P802.3dj draft compliant 1.6T Ethernet media access control engine developed by Keysight can generate, receive, and measure 1.6 Tbit/s (1600GE) of full line rate layer 2 traffic.

The tests on a real world hardware development platform provide proof that 1.6T Ethernet speed is possible and that its performance can be measured, says Keysight. Running at full line rate, the testbed developed with Credo Semiconductor  can transmit and process more than a billion packets per second over a 2m active electrical cable.

The demand for network bandwidth is driven in large part by the need for today’s large-scale networks to support data intensive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), video streaming, cloud networking, and high-performance computing. To keep pace, network equipment manufacturers, silicon chip manufacturers, and data centre operators will have to build and operate next generation 1.6T Ethernet networks as the successor to 400G and 800G interconnect.

This higher speed and data throughput has to be delivered without increasing data centre power and cooling requirements with faster electrical lane speeds for the communication chips embedded in optical transceivers, switches, routers, servers, and test systems without compromising reliability or quality.

As 1.6T Ethernet adoption gains momentum, establishing a testing framework early in the product development life cycle is critical to help speed time to market and enable confident deployment.

The 1.6T Layer 2 uses an interface of 16 electrical lanes running at 106.25 gigabits per second (Gbps) per lane with Pulse Amplitude Modulation 4 (PAM4) signalling and Forward Error Correction (FEC). This is also called 16 x 100G SERDES.

The Keysight hardware development test platform has OSFP-XD front panel ports that can send and receive full line rate 1.6T layer 2 bi-directional traffic over a Credo provided 2-meter HiWire Active Electrical Cable (AEC). The 1.6T measurement system measures the performance of the link and the AEC.

The Layer 2 engine running at full 1.6T line rate provides packet and forward error correction (FEC) measurements, plus counters, and other related statistics. FEC enhances data reliability by detecting and correcting errors that occur during data transmission.

Manufacturers use these metrics during development and quality assurance testing to identify areas for improvement in device error correction performance and Ethernet link stability over time. End users can use the FEC measurements to assess the resilience of network equipment under different stress conditions, so they can confidently deploy devices, interconnects, and networking equipment into their production networks.

“Credo launched the 1.6T HiWire AEC in support of our key customers’ product roadmaps in 2023 and it’s generated a great deal of industry interest. We’re excited to work with Keysight to support the buildout of a robust test and measurement ecosystem for this developing networking standard,” said Bill Brennan, CEO of Credo.

Ram Periakaruppan, Vice President and General Manager, Network Test & Security Solutions, Keysight, said: “1.6T Ethernet is the next generation of Ethernet that addresses the demand for more network bandwidth and data throughput, driven in part, by ever-increasing AI workloads within the network infrastructure. The 1.6T Ethernet Layer 2 traffic generation and analysis demonstration moves the needle forward to enable development of 1.6T devices and the entire networking equipment ecosystem. Keysight’s Layer 2 and FEC test and measurement systems are also vital to the success of the eventual deployment of 1.6T capable networking devices and equipment.”

1.6 Terabit Ethernet will Drive Next-Generation AI/ML Wave and Accelerate Growth through 2030



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