Cost-effective solutions for 400G network upgrades: the benefits of breakouts

In this Vitex Talks segment, we’re exploring the 400G upgrade in our racks and servers using 400G optical transceivers. The constant increase in fiber optic speeds means we need to be prepared for upgrades in the future. But what are our options when we need to move from a 100G solution to a 400G solution?


(0:00-0:24) Intro
(0:25-1:10) What do we do when we want to move to a higher speed?
(1:11-2:05) How do we reuse existing materials?
(2:06-2:41) What are some of the benefits?
(2:42-4:09) Some “gotchas” to consider
(4:10-4:58) Conclusion

Complete Transcript


Hey everybody, this is Craig from Vitex, and if you work in a data center or do something with network planning, then this is a good episode to watch. Today we’re going to talk about upgrades, specifically 400G, in our racks and servers.

What do we do when we want to move to a higher speed?

What do we do when we want to move to a higher speed? There’s only a couple things that are certain in life, right? We’ve got death, taxes, and optics are going to get faster and faster.

What are some of our options if we have a 100G solution and we need to go to a 400G? What we can do is we can just do a massive change over, right? Pull all of the 100G stuff out, put in 400G. Well, this is not going to really work.

If you’re a 400G switch company, they probably want you to do this because they have this one size fits all solution and if you’re a fan of cheeseburgers, you want a cheeseburger, he wants a cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger, but that doesn’t really work in this area.

How do we reuse existing materials?

What we want to do is we want to implement some type of reuse of our 100G that we already had in our data center. What are some of the options that we have?

We can use a traditional MUX, DEMUX, we have to bring in other equipment to do that, but that’s not really optimal. What are some of our other things that we can try out? What we’re going to talk about is we’re going to talk about how we can fully utilize our 400G port and save some money while we do it.

Here’s an example of a 400G DR4 and we’re going to pair this with either a single lambda DR1 or FR1. We’re going to be able to use all of the existing connections, right, that we have, and we’re going to only upgrade this one area.

What are some of the benefits?

What’s the benefit of doing this? First one is flexibility, right? We can upgrade when we want to upgrade on our own time schedule. We don’t have to worry about major down times because we’re swapping everything out in our racks for a 400G solution, okay. It’s also super cost effective, right? If you want to spend lots of money, you can go ahead and just buy 400G everything and spend the time to swap it all out. But if you’re looking for something that’s more of a cost effective solution, you may want to consider breakouts, right?

Some “gotchas” to consider

But what are some “gotchas” that you’ve got to consider? Something just to remember is that these lanes are going to be all asynchronous, right? They’re going to be independent from each other. One lane going down doesn’t mean that the other ones are going to go down. We have to consider that in our solution. We also have to remember that we have to code these correctly, we have to have breakout support in them, and we have to have with that our compliance codes that are properly supporting a breakout solution. And one of the most important things to remember is we’ve really got to have REC off when we do this, okay? Right here, we’re just showing what are some of the codes that are needed in our EPROM coding depending if we’re using a DR1, FR1, or an LR1 solution, right?

And so you may ask, “Oh, does this only work in a 100 and a 400G solution? Why are they the only ones invited to the dance?” And they’re not.

We have solutions here at Vitex where we can do 200G, 100G, 25, 40, 10G, they all get into the mix. As we move into the future, everyone knows 400G is going to go away, so we’re going to have this same problem again when 800G comes out. What do you guys think about some of the solutions and some of the breakout applications that are going to emerge as we move to 800?


Reply in the comments, let us know some of your thoughts, and if you want to learn about your solutions, you want to talk through them, give us a call, drop us an email here in our New Jersey office. We’re more than willing to help and ready to support you. That’s it for now. Until next time, I’ll see you then.

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