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800 Gigabit Ethernet Launched With Double the Bandwidth

(Image credit: David Jancik/Shutterstock)

Consumers have gotten increasingly obsessed with streaming shows, movies and even games. And with Netflix, Amazon, Disney, Google and everyone else jumping on board it's clear the trend isn't going to stop. But on the server side of things, Ethernet connectivity is getting increasingly strained. Thankfully, the Ethernet Technology Consortium (ETC) is here to save the day with the new 800 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) specification [PDF].

Don't get too excited though. The specification announced Monday will be used by enterprises way before you're able to use it with your best desktop PC. In fact, 10 GbE is still a notable cost undertaking for consumers. Instead, 800 GbE will target high-performance computing (HPC) and mainstream applications, such as remote AI processing, that will benefit from lower latency. 

Formally called 800GBASE-R, the standard is primarily based on the existing 400 GbE logic, as this would ensure fewer changes are necessary to get the new standard up and running. But it also brings a new media access control (MAC) and Physical Coding Sublayer (PCS).

"It essentially re-purposes two sets of the existing 400GbE logic from the IEEE 802.3bs standard with a few modifications in order to distribute the data across eight 106 Gbps physical lanes," the ETC's announcement said. "As the PCS is reused, the standard RS(544, 514) forward error correction is retained, for simple compatibility with existing physical layer specifications."

Technically, it's even a little faster than 800 Gbps, as the data is distributed over eight individual 106 Gbps lanes. 

“The intent with this work was to repurpose the standard 400 GbE logic as much as possible to create an 800 GbE MAC and PCS specification with minimal overhead cost to users implementing multi-rate Ethernet ports.” said Rob Stone, technical working group chair of the Ethernet Technology Consortium.

The new standard offers half the latency of the 400 GbE specification, which comes as a natural consequence of doubling the bandwidth. A

As a consumer, you shouldn't expect to notice much of an instant change thanks to the new standard, nor can you expect to see 800 Gigabit Ethernet in your home anytime in the foreseeable future. 

The standard will roll out to new enterprise hardware over the coming years, and slowly but surely, we'll start to see further improvements in the services we consume.

Outgrowing the Old Name

The Ethernet Technology Consortium is a new brand name for the organization, which also made the name chance on Monday. The group was previously known as the 25 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium -- a name that the group has clearly outgrown.

It said that after being made to create 25, 50 and 100 Gbps Ethernet specifications, it will now "focus on higher-speed Ethernet technologies."

  • bit_user
    The specification announced Monday will be used by enterprises way before you're able to use it with your best desktop PC.
    Desktop PCs will never use it. I wouldn't even call it an enterprise standard. This is truly just for datacenters.

    Just try to wrap your mind around 800 Gigabits/sec - that's literally 100 GB/sec. PCIe 3.0 x16 is only about 16 GB/sec, per direction. So, just too feed that link, you'd have to go to PCIe 5.0 x32 or PCIe 6.0 x16. And I'll go out on a limb and say that you're not going to find PCIe 6.0 slots in a desktop PC, ever.
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    bit_user said:
    Desktop PCs will never use it. I wouldn't even call it an enterprise standard. This is truly just for datacenters.

    Just try to wrap your mind around 800 Gigabits/sec - that's literally 100 GB/sec. PCIe 3.0 x16 is only about 16 GB/sec, per direction. So, just too feed that link, you'd have to go to PCIe 5.0 x32 or PCIe 6.0 x16. And I'll go out on a limb and say that you're not going to find PCIe 6.0 slots in a desktop PC, ever.
    iirc they stated pcie 4 will be a short lived standard and 5 should come much faster than 4 did.
    Reply
  • drtweak
    bit_user said:
    Desktop PCs will never use it. I wouldn't even call it an enterprise standard. This is truly just for datacenters.

    Just try to wrap your mind around 800 Gigabits/sec - that's literally 100 GB/sec. PCIe 3.0 x16 is only about 16 GB/sec, per direction. So, just too feed that link, you'd have to go to PCIe 5.0 x32 or PCIe 6.0 x16. And I'll go out on a limb and say that you're not going to find PCIe 6.0 slots in a desktop PC, ever.


    That is what some guy said in a A+ book that i read back in the 2000s (Was made in 96) during the time of the 133Mhz Pentium, just only in the terms from the mid 90s. Things like not needing any faster CPU's or more than 32MB of ram, etc. and look at us now lol. I remember the time of people saying HT is all you need. Don't need multiple cores. That is data center stuff. Now look. You can get the more powerful CPU in your home Rig.

    Well at least on the PCIe part. Yea I don't see 800Gbps connections coming to the home PC for many decades if it ever does. I might see it in my life time. Maybe. XD
    Reply
  • mattkiss
    drtweak said:
    That is what some guy said in a A+ book that i read back in the 2000s (Was made in 96) during the time of the 133Mhz Pentium, just only in the terms from the mid 90s. Things like not needing any faster CPU's or more than 32MB of ram, etc. and look at us now lol. I remember the time of people saying HT is all you need. Don't need multiple cores. That is data center stuff. Now look. You can get the more powerful CPU in your home Rig.

    Well at least on the PCIe part. Yea I don't see 800Gbps connections coming to the home PC for many decades if it ever does. I might see it in my life time. Maybe. XD

    Just curious, which book?
    Reply
  • kanewolf
    bit_user said:
    Desktop PCs will never use it. I wouldn't even call it an enterprise standard. This is truly just for datacenters.

    Just try to wrap your mind around 800 Gigabits/sec - that's literally 100 GB/sec. PCIe 3.0 x16 is only about 16 GB/sec, per direction. So, just too feed that link, you'd have to go to PCIe 5.0 x32 or PCIe 6.0 x16. And I'll go out on a limb and say that you're not going to find PCIe 6.0 slots in a desktop PC, ever.
    800gb will be for inter-switch links with 100gb nics in large hosts.
    Reply
  • willro
    bit_user said:
    Desktop PCs will never use it. I wouldn't even call it an enterprise standard. This is truly just for datacenters.

    Just try to wrap your mind around 800 Gigabits/sec - that's literally 100 GB/sec. PCIe 3.0 x16 is only about 16 GB/sec, per direction. So, just too feed that link, you'd have to go to PCIe 5.0 x32 or PCIe 6.0 x16. And I'll go out on a limb and say that you're not going to find PCIe 6.0 slots in a desktop PC, ever.
    What a lack of imagination.

    PCIe 6.0 will be here in a few years and I'm sure 7.0 after that or some other standard.

    I'm sure by end the decade we will see 1tbps standard and then 2tbps 5tbps, 10, 20, 40, etc. Will never end.

    Will continue to get faster and faster. And before long, it will be petabits a second, but even that won't be fast enough one day, I better sooner than most can even imagine. Space my friends opens a whole new realm of possibilities and demands. We will see private space travel soon. Can you imagine a "zoom" call to mars. hello! One day it will be a group video chat between planets. Sick around and see. For all you know, light speed has already been broken, don't bet against it.

    Seems so many people lack the imagination. I was born in 1984, the start of the "Internet". Little before that, around Jan 1 1983 TCP/IP came online, but not much there. Not real Internet. Didn't have web till 1990. Crazy how far it's come already.
    Reply
  • kaalus
    "640kB should be enough for everyone"?

    bit_user said:
    Desktop PCs will never use it. I wouldn't even call it an enterprise standard. This is truly just for datacenters.

    Just try to wrap your mind around 800 Gigabits/sec - that's literally 100 GB/sec. PCIe 3.0 x16 is only about 16 GB/sec, per direction. So, just too feed that link, you'd have to go to PCIe 5.0 x32 or PCIe 6.0 x16. And I'll go out on a limb and say that you're not going to find PCIe 6.0 slots in a desktop PC, ever.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    hotaru251 said:
    iirc they stated pcie 4 will be a short lived standard and 5 should come much faster than 4 did.
    Exactly who stated this?

    I do not expect to see PCIe 5.0 slots in desktop PCs. Not in the foreseeable future, if ever. It adds significant cost and increases power consumption, yet the need for it is not there.

    The motivation behind PCIe 5.0 is for use in servers.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    drtweak said:
    That is what some guy said in a A+ book that i read back in the 2000s (Was made in 96) during the time of the 133Mhz Pentium, just only in the terms from the mid 90s. Things like not needing any faster CPU's or more than 32MB of ram, etc. and look at us now lol. I remember the time of people saying HT is all you need. Don't need multiple cores. That is data center stuff. Now look. You can get the more powerful CPU in your home Rig.
    The arguments are completely different. The argument you cite is that home users had no need for it. While I think that's also true of 800 Gigabit Ethernet, my point was that there would be technical hurdles in rolling it out for home users.

    Back in the mid-90's, CPUs were made on a 600 nm process node. Now, we're at (arguably) 7 nm. Because that's a linear distance and CPUs are (roughly) 2D, the density improvement is a factor somewhere on the order of 7000.

    The situation we're in, today, is that Semiconductor process nodes are already nearing their limits. Also, there's only so fast you can send a signal over a network cable-length piece of copper. So, that pushes networking > 10 Gbps exclusively into the optical domain, which further increases costs.

    Put another way, every trend stops at some point. If you go back and extrapolate CPU clock speeds from the 1990's, you'd probably expect us to be in the realm of 100 GHz, by now. But that didn't happen... because physics.

    So, you can't just blindly extrapolate trends into the indefinite future. Not if you care about being right, at least. You have to look at what's underlying those trends and figure out if it has room to continue. Even then, sometimes you're blind-sided by an effect you didn't appreciate, like how Intel got burned by leakage current, with the Netburst architecture of their Pentium 4.

    Finally, addressing the "need" side of the equation, just look at 10 Gigabit Ethernet. It's been around for > 15 years, yet there's never been strong enough demand for faster networking among consumers to drive adoption and achieve mass-market pricing. Yet, at least. That's one development I think we could actually see. Eventually.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    willro said:
    What a lack of imagination.
    It's not lacking imagination, it's looking at what the technology involves and being realistic about the potential for it ever to trickle down.

    willro said:
    PCIe 6.0 will be here in a few years
    This is a little closer to the realm of the plausible, but I also think you won't ever see desktop boards with PCIe 6.0 slots.

    willro said:
    I'm sure by end the decade we will see 1tbps standard and then 2tbps 5tbps, 10, 20, 40, etc. Will never end.
    See my point about trends, in the post above. If you want to be truly successful in business or investing, you will have to learn that every trend ends at some point. The real skill isn't simply extrapolating trends like a trained monkey, but rather predicting when they'll break down.

    willro said:
    Space my friends opens a whole new realm of possibilities and demands. We will see private space travel soon. Can you imagine a "zoom" call to mars. hello! One day it will be a group video chat between planets. Sick around and see. For all you know, light speed has already been broken, don't bet against it.
    And exactly does space travel have to do with networking speeds? You can't just break the laws of physics, because there's a market demand.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faster-than-light_communication
    willro said:
    Seems so many people lack the imagination.
    Oh, believe me, I've watched and read more than enough "sci fi" created by people whose imagination exceeded their grasp of physics. Anymore, it just seems infantile.

    willro said:
    around Jan 1 1983 TCP/IP came online, but not much there. Not real Internet. Didn't have web till 1990. Crazy how far it's come already.
    If you're going to give history lessons, at least try to be accurate.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transmission_Control_Protocol
    There's actually an interesting segue, here, which I think could be informative. If you go back and look at some of the 1950's era sci fi, a lot of what they predict is based on the idea of limitless, low-cost energy. Things like flying cars and such. Also, a lot about space stations, bases on the Moon and Mars. If you think about the reasons why, it's that the technological trends they were living through were nuclear power driving down electricity costs and space suddenly becoming accessible.

    However, those trends didn't continue. Or, at least, not at the pace they predicted. And yet, they barely conceived of things like smart phones or video games. The history of technology is one where a new technology is created and goes through a period of rapid improvement, until it plateaus. Sometimes, other technologies can enable new improvements, like how cheap microcontrollers enabled more efficient gasoline engines. But any trend in technological development doesn't and can't go on forever. And it's a really tricky business to look decades into the future and predict what will be the new technologies and trends of that era.
    Reply