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14 March 2012
The Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) has started work on the next-generation of interconnects that will follow 100Gbps.

The industry group has started what it calls a framework document. "The framework document is more or less the idea of what are the applications that the industry needs to be looking at for potential interoperability and standardisation as we look beyond 100 Gigabit," said Rod Smith, OIF marketing awareness & education co-chair (MA&E).

The OIF says the timing is right to start post-100Gbps work as previous 10 and 100Gbps work spanned several years. "From initial concept to first hero experiments typically takes between five to seven years," said Smith. 
Classifying the applications requiring interfaces beyond 100 Gigabit is the first step in defining the types of interconnect technology needed. These will include ultra-short reach, chip-to-chip, chip-to-module and backplane links. "For the next-generation interconnect, we are not saying whether it is going to be electrical or optical," said Smith. "We want to have that option open for discussion."
Once completed, the framework document will be used to generate other, more technical documents. The defined applications will lead to reaches and bandwidth requirements which in turn will generate data rates and channel counts. "This additional work will ultimately drive to our implementation agreements," he said.  
The OIF has already published implementation agreements for its common electrical interface (CEI) 25G short-reach and long-reach electrical interfaces used at 100Gbps. 
It also has a very short reach (VSR) CEI 28G interface draft implementation agreement that defines chip-to-module electrical interfaces. At the recent OFC/NFOEC show, the OIF had a CEI-28G-VSR interoperability demonstration involving such companies as Altera, Amphenol, Fujitsu Optical Components, Gennum, IBM, Inphi, Luxtera, Molex, TE Connectivity and Xilinx. 
By Roy Rubenstein