Networks and Speeds

Data Centre technology trends and the evolution of standards

DCStep1Staying up to date on technology trends and emerging standards is the key to knowing which way to turn, and when. 
Which standards to follow?
Choosing which standards to follow has become more complicated. In the past, IEEE high speed protocols were developed well in advance of general use, ahead of market needs.  Deciding which speed to work towards was simple: follow the IEC/ISO and TIA standards. 

Today, there’s a complex landscape of solutions to choose from, including many that operate outside IEEE and other trusted standards bodies. Switch vendors have introduced solutions for 40 Gigabit and 100 Gigabit that are not part of IEEE standards. And some industry alliances have formed multisource agreements, or MSAs, such as the MSA for Short Wavelength Division Multiplexing for 100 Gigabit.

The server to switch technology evolution

Server to Switch

The evolution and forecast of server to switch technology shows different waves of technology kicking in and declining. Some interesting trends:

  • 25 Gigabit and 50 Gigabit are much less important for optical transceivers with the arrival of advanced copper patch cords - DACs.
  • 10 Gigabit saw its first decline in 2017 while 25 Gigabit is coming soon to server ports.
  • Unexpectedly, every trend has 25 Gigabit technology overtaking 40 Gigabit technology, but in reality that 40 Gigabit is really 4 x 10 Gigabit. 25 Gigabit is now available, and the next to come is 4x25 (100 Gigabit), making it the first time in history that a lower speed overtakes the market share of a faster speed. 


Migration Scenarios

Migration Scenarios



Three migration scenarios have emerged as the technology evolves: 

1. Early adopters using parallel optics in the core, and LC Duplex in the access networks
In the first wave in early 2010, parallel optics allowed 40 Gigabit linespeeds in the core network using 10 Gigabit over 4 pairs, and 100 Gigabit over 10 pairs. The introduction of 25 Gigabit technology in 2015 allowed 100 Gigabit over 4 pairs. More recently 50 Gigabit and 100 Gigabit fibre allowed higher frequencies over fewer pairs. 400 Gigabit is expected to arrive in 2020, with linespeeds of 100 Gigabit over 4 or 8 pairs.

2. Fast followers using LC Duplex in both core and access networks
In 2013 , a second scenario became available for adopting new technology to meet higher speeds in the core, using 40 Gigabit over Duplex LC, moving to 100 Gigabit in 2018. 

3. The mainstream scenario, using LC Duplex in the core and copper cabling in the access network
A third scenario - applied in most data centres -  was to use Cat 6A copper technology for 10 Gigabit linespeeds in the access networks. Cat 7A will be introduced soon, to support 25G in the future. 


Today, a data centre might be running 40 Gigabit in the core and 10 Gigabit in the access network. So what are the migration options? Nexans can support you in migrating to higher speeds:

  • 100G Parallel optics in core networks
  • 100G Duplex LC in core networks
  • 25G Duplex LC in access networks
  • 25G copper in access networks

Learn more...


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