Ethernet consortium releases 800GbE spec

The specification for 800GbE doubles the maximum speed of the current Ethernet standard, but also tweaks other aspects including latency.

Network Networking Ethernet
Martyn Williams/IDGNS

The industry-backed Ethernet Technology Consortium has announced the completion of a specification for 800 Gigabit Ethernet technology.

Based on many of the technologies used in the current top-end 400 Gigabit Ethernet protocol, the new spec is formally known as 800GBASE-R. The consortium that designed it (then known as the 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium) was also instrumental in developing the 25, 50, and 100 Gigabit Ethernet protocols and includes Broadcom, Cisco, Google, and Microsoft among its members.

The 800GbE spec adds new media access control (MAC) and physical coding sublayer (PCS) methods, which tweaks these functions to distribute data across eight physical lanes running at a native 106.25Gbps. (A lane can be a copper twisted pair or in optical cables, a strand of fiber or a wavelength.)  The 800GBASE-R specification is built on two 400 GbE 2xClause PCSs to create a single MAC which operates at a combined 800Gbps.

And while the focus is on eight 106.25G lanes, it's not locked in. It is possible to run 16 lanes at half the speed, or 53.125Gbps.

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