Addressing 100-GbE Line-Card Design Challenges on 28nm FPGAs (REVISED)
As various standard bodies finalize their 100G standards for transport, Ethernet, and optical interfaces, FPGAs play a vital role for early adopters of technology who want to design 100G production systems. Because of this increasing demand for more bandwidth, service providers are looking at emerging 40-GbE/100-GbE standards for their next-generation line card options. Altera’s Stratix V FPGAs solve the bandwidth problem by providing integrated 12.5-Gbps transceivers with hardened 100G PCS functions on the 28-nm technology node.
Two qualities are important in a network: speed and reliability. Not only must the network be up all the time, it must also be fast. However, the load on networks has increased tremendously. Data is a minor component of what the network carries; voice, sound, and multimedia now form the major components. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast, annual global IP traffic will reach two-thirds of a zettabyte (trillion gigabytes) by 2013. This number represents more than a fivefold increase over today’s IP traffic. As Figure 1 shows, video will account for 90 percent of the traffic growth in 2013.
Figure 1. Total Traffic Bandwidth Increase, 2008–2013
Source: Cisco VNI, June 2009
Driven by video, Internet traffic is growing at a phenomenal rate. The Beijing Olympics broadcast, which was viewed by over 3 million people, was estimated to generate 128 terabytes (Tbytes) of video traffic on the NBC network. On a typical day, YouTube generates over 1100 Tbytes of traffic to serve over 5 billion streams to over 91 million viewers.
Satisfying the Demand for High Bandwidth
Current service providers are continuously looking for technology advancements to keep up with demand, and seeking ways to optimize their network infrastructure. These service providers must continue to make a profit by reducing the cost per bit while simultaneously extending their service offerings. High-speed Ethernet, especially 100G Ethernet (100 GbE), offers the key solution. Today, many carriers already provide 10GbE links between their routers, and the adoption is at aggregation points at the transport level. As the demand for more bandwidth becomes increasingly prevalent, service providers are looking at emerging 40-GbE/100-GbE standards for their next-generation line card options. Many are contemplating a direct switch to 100-GbE, while others are evaluating the market dynamics by accessing the availability and economics of both 40-GbE and 100-GbE solutions to meet customer demands.
High-speed 100-GbE links are critical at the edge-router level as they enable operators to simultaneously achieve the least-cost bit transport and service for high-value, revenue-generating traffic, such as high-definition video, mobile LTE, and VPN content. The biggest challenge for such a line card is to deliver speed and quality of service (QoS) at the same time. Unfortunately, the existing infrastructure and routers are not yet geared up to efficiently support this type of traffic.
40-GbE and 100-GbE IEEE 802.3ba Standards
The IEEE 802.3ba High Speed Study Group (HSSG) was formed in late 2006 to study market needs and the definition of standards for the 100-GbE interface protocol.
Author: Frank Yazbeck, Senior Product Marketing Engineer, Altera Corporation
Frank Yazbeck is a senior product marketing engineer at Altera responsible for technology solutions and technical product analysis for Altera’s high-end FPGAs. Mr. Yazbeck joined Altera in 1996 and has held various product engineering positions where he was responsible for the rollout management, functional verification, and characterization of Altera's high-end FPGAs. Prior to Altera, he worked as a research assistant at KLA Instruments. Mr. Yazbeck holds an MSEE from Stanford University and a BSEE from the University of Texas at Austin.
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