100 Gigabit Ethernet (100GbE)

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Get in the know about data center Ethernet

100 Gigabit Ethernet (100GbE) is a standard in development that will enable the transfer of Ethernet frames at 100 gigabits per second (gp/s). The 100GbE standard is for core switching; a 40GbE standard in development at the same time is optimized for server connectivity. Both standards are expected to be ratified in 2010.

The IEEE's Higher Speed Study Group started work toward the 100 GbE standard in November 2007 in response to a perceived need in core networking applications for bandwidth beyond existing capabilities. IEEE P802.3ba Ethernet Task Force is developing the standard. 100GbE was designed to provide a significant increase in bandwidth while maintaining compatibility with the installed base of 802.3 interfaces, investment in R&D, and network operation and management principles.

According to the task force, 100GbE is necessary for:

  • Switching, routing and aggregation in data centers.
  • Internet exchange points.
  • Service provider peering points.
  • High bandwidth applications like video on demand and high performance computing (HPC).

See also: Gigabit Ethernet, 10-Gigabit Ethernet

This was last updated in May 2010

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