Ethernet interoperability test attracts diverse array of solutions and participants

In BICSI Bytes, Newsby info@bicsi.com.au

The Ethernet Alliance recently published results of its High Speed Networking (HSN) Plugfest held last December at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL).

The multi-vendor interoperability event drew 22 participating companies with solutions spanning the whole of the Ethernet ecosystem. Beyond the high aggregated success rate for all testing, the plugfest achieved greater than 95% success in testing of solutions ranging from 50 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) to 400 GbE, highlighting the growing maturity of PAM4 signalling, while still meeting the industry’s multi-vendor interoperability demand.

“This latest HSN Plugfest saw [many] diverse products and technologies tested against both IEEE standards and 100G Lambda Multisource Agreement (MSA) Group specifications,” said Dave Chalupsky, plugfest chair and Board member of Ethernet Alliance; and principal engineer, Intel. “Events like this that reinforce Ethernet’s core value proposition: multi-vendor interoperability. The exceptional volume of both industry attendance and successful tests shows that our members are committed to Ethernet’s continued growth and evolution, while delivering the best experience for end users.”

The Plugfest facilitated testing of a broad variety of equipment and technologies, with speeds of 25 GbE to 400 GbE tested in form factors including OSFP, QSFP, QSFP-DD and SFP. Items tested included Ethernet switches and NICs, electrical and optical interconnect products, test and measurement equipment, along with electrical and optical testing methodologies.

Throughout the event, more than 320 Frame Error Rate (FER) tests were performed, as well as physical layer parametric testing on both electrical and optical interfaces. Of particular interest to the community was completing optical transmitter dispersion eye closure (TDECQ) tests on multiple products using test equipment from different manufacturers, building confidence in this new methodology for PAM4 optical specifications. FER tests on 50G PAM4 and 100G PAM4 optics showed a pass rate of 96% in more than 79 trials. 50G PAM4 electrical signalling showed a FER pass rate of 99% in 160 trials on cables up to 3m in length. These results mark a major step forward in the transition from NRZ to PAM4 signalling for high-speed serial interfaces.