The Ethernet Alliance, a global consortium dedicated to the continued success and advancement of Ethernet technologies, revealed details of its multivendor demonstration at the 2023 Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exhibition (OFC). The world’s premier telecom and data center optics event, the OFC 2023 expo was held March 7 to March 9, 2023, at the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, California.

Featuring 18 different participating member companies, the Ethernet Alliance interoperability demo spanned diverse Ethernet technologies ranging from 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) to 800 GbE. The interoperability display featured a live network between the Ethernet Alliance and the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF), EXFO Inc., Spirent Communications, and Viavi Solutions Inc. booths. The network leverages single-mode optical fibers with high-speed traffic originating from an array of switches, routers, interconnects, including copper and optical cables. It also showcases various interconnects using multiple pluggable form factors such as OSFP, QSFP-DD, QSFP, and SFP, and multiple interface types including OIF 400ZR, OpenZR+ MSA 400ZR+, and 800G-ETC-CR8. Finally, there was a live demonstrations from BERT and AN/LT test equipment. The display uniquely captured Ethernet’s 50-year track record of success, illustrating the need for a “living lab” of next-generation technologies, and setting the stage for its next evolutionary phase.

“We’re now at the half-century mark, and Ethernet’s star continues to rise. As a profoundly resilient technology that’s getting progressively faster,  it is an innovation engine that drives market diversification and fuels business growth,” said Peter Jones, chairman, Ethernet Alliance. “As the volume and variety of applications expand, bridging between legacy systems and emerging technologies is increasingly critical. The Ethernet Alliance OFC 2023 demo underscores the importance of interoperability and perfectly frames Ethernet’s ability to operate seamlessly across disparate industries and environments.”

The industry’s leading voice of Ethernet, the Ethernet Alliance’s demo incorporated technologies from every corner of the Ethernet ecosystem. Its 18 participating member companies were AMD/Xilinx, Amphenol Corporation, Anritsu Corporation, Arista Networks Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., CommScope, Inc., EXFO Inc., Intel Corporation, Juniper Networks, Inc., Keysight Technologies Inc., Marvell Technology Inc., Panduit Corp., Spirent Communications plc, TE Connectivity Ltd., Teledyne LeCroy Inc., Viavi Solutions Inc., Wilder Technologies, and Xena Networks Inc.

According to Ethernet Alliance OFC 2023 technical leads Jean-Marie Vilain of EXFO, Bob Wagner of Panduit, and David Estes of Spirent, “Our 2023 interoperability demo is formidable, given the manifold technologies, interconnects, and speeds on display, and mirrors the challenges facing the industry. Highly representative of real-world deployments, it interweaves the newest generation of switches, servers, and test equipment at speeds of up to 800G, proving the Ethernet ecosystem is ready for 800G’s broad adoption.”

A pioneer of live booth-to-booth connectivity, the Ethernet Alliance also joined nearly two dozen other companies and organizations in OFCnet, a high-speed fiber research and education network spanning the OFC 2023 expo floor. The live OFCnet network highlighted quantum networking, network element interoperability, and SDN, among other technologies.

At OFC 2023, the Ethernet Alliance also showcased the 2023 edition of its Ethernet roadmap. Stretching from the current landscape to its far horizon, the industry’s only Ethernet roadmap reflects the latest advancements, speeds, and milestones, such as Ethernet’s 50th anniversary, time-sensitive networking, synchronous ethernet, and ongoing standardization efforts. 

Additionally, the Ethernet Alliance hosted the Ethernet in Telecom: The Rise of ZR and ZR+ for Metro (and Beyond?) panel. Exploring the potential use of ZR and ZR+ pluggables in traditional telecom deployments, panelists discussed coherent optical design and deployment considerations, and the need for interoperable products addressing simultaneous datacom and telecom applications.