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OIF forms FlexEthernet project to support incremental bandwidth increases
Announced Date: 2/12/2015 Published Date: 2/13/2015

At its first quarterly meeting, the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) announced the launch of a new project designed to enable flexible Ethernet connectivity through providing a toolkit that expands the utility of existing and future Ethernet interfaces.

The new project, named FlexEthernet, is designed to enable Ethernet equipment to more efficiently utilise optical link bandwidth. The FlexEthernet toolkit provides channelisation, bonding and sub-rate functionality that allows one or more Ethernet MACs to be connected using standard Ethernet PMDs between equipment, either directly or over transport links.

Building on the OIF's multi-link gearbox (MLG) project that addresses multilane configuration, FlexEthernet provides support for speeds between and beyond the fixed data rates currently defined, and is intended to enable support for the wider set of applications required by both data centre operators and carriers.

Also during the quarterly meeting, OIF members prepared to approve the SDN Framework, a technical white paper identifying components and interfaces that require standardisation to establish a cohesive SDN app development framework designed around Web 2.0 technologies. Progress was also made on developing implementation agreements (IAs) for SDN APIs addressing topology, service request, connection request and path computation features.

The project to develop IAs for the APIs utilised between applications and network controller was launched last November following the joint OIF and Open Networking Foundation (ONF) global transport SDN demonstration. The initiative was established to extend the service request and topology APIs, based on REST and JSON, that were prototyped in the demonstration and create IAs for use by carriers and equipment vendors.

In addition, the Physical and Link Layer working group met to discuss PAM4 and NRZ specifications in relation to the multiple CEI-56G (Common Electrical Interface 56 Gbit/s) projects. The CEI-56G development work will increase the data rate by a factor of two compared with CEI-28G, while also defining new application spaces.