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How 400 GbE Simplifies Cabling

Data centers are experiencing exponential demand for bandwidth driven by massive growth in data. Next-generation 400GbE optical transceivers help ensure that networks have the scalability to support that continued growth.

Hyperscale data centers are well on the path toward implementing 400GbE. According to Crehan Research, 400GbE deployments began in 2018 and became routine by the end of 2020. Growing adoption of 400GbE in the hyperscale environment is starting to drive down prices, making the technology attractive to a broader range of companies. 

Organizations are implementing 400GbE to support artificial intelligence, virtual reality and other data-intensive technologies as well as increased server densities. The need for remote working, remote learning and video streaming brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is also driving network upgrades.

Most customers currently have a mix of 40Gbps and 100Gbps equipment deployed in their data centers. As 400Gbps becomes more prevalent, and with 800GbE right around the corner, organizations need a roadmap for upgrading their network infrastructure and ensuring that it continues to meet business needs.

Is Your Network Ready for 400GbE?

As a first step, organizations should assess their existing environment in the context of business and technology drivers. Rahi engineers look at current workloads and operational demand for data, and project future bandwidth requirements based upon rates of data growth. Our team will also consider any planned initiatives that may impact the network infrastructure. 

A thorough assessment is important because 400GbE touches on many aspects of the data center. Organizations may need to replace backbone cabling, interconnects and networking devices with the latest fiber-optic technology. An upgrade to 400GbE can also increase power and cooling demands due to more advanced compute and storage technologies. All of these factors should be considered in the upgrade plan.

Organizations don’t necessarily need to “rip and replace” their existing network backbones, particularly if they’re based on 100GbE. Instead, 400GbE can be used to relieve congestion in their aggregation networks today, and gradually phased into other parts of the environment. However, moving to a single-mode network based on 400GbE offers greater scalability and lower total cost of ownership.

Fiber-Optic Cabling Components

The most important element of the 400GbE ecosystem is fiber-optic technology. There are four primary components:

  • Optical transceivers enable connectivity over longer distances.
  • Fiber-optic cabling connects various devices on the network.
  • Spine switches serve as junctions on the fiber-optic “highway.”
  • Top-of-rack switches connect individual devices to the network.

Typically, 40GbE is divided into four “lanes” (fibers) of 10Gbps each, and 100GbE has four lanes of 25Gbps each. 400GbE can be aggregated in multiple ways, such as eight lanes of 50Gbps, to support mixed-mode environments. However, the latest solutions support single lane-rate connectivity of 100Gbps, allowing 400GbE to be delivered over four lanes to reduce costs and power requirements.

How 400 GbE Simplifies Cabling

In addition to providing greater bandwidth, 400GbE requires fewer connections to the spine, which reduces port density, simplifies cabling and allows more room for expansion. Although 400GbE switches are more expensive than older technologies, fewer are needed to support devices. Multiplexers can be used to subdivide bandwidth — a 32-port 400GbE switch can be broken down into 128 100Gbps ports in high-density server environments.

How Rahi Can Solve Your Need for More Bandwidth

Rahi can assist with every aspect of the network upgrade, from the physical infrastructure to compute, storage and networking equipment. Our consultants, solutions architects, engineers and cabling experts work together to develop a solution that will precisely meet the customer’s requirements. Our expertise spans multiple vendor technologies in real-world data centers around the globe.

Many organizations are looking to implement 400GbE to meet increasing bandwidth needs. Let Rahi help you develop a network upgrade strategy that provides the best path forward.

About Randall Caparida

Randall has been in the technology industry for more than 25 years, with a background in the manufacturing of optical components and products. He has been involved in sales and sales engineering for 15 years, working with data centers, co-location providers and telecom companies on the physical infrastructure side of the business.

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