Broadband internet connection is the backbone of modern society. So much of the world relies on the internet for day-to-day activities and business that we always need faster connections. The most current iteration in the development of Ethernet technology is 100G or the 100 Gigabit Ethernet.
100G is not just a speed limit but also a standard for port types with various optical and electrical interfaces to support such a large bandwidth, including the number of optical fibre strands per port. Fibre optic cables supporting 100G can be up to 80 km long.
100G has been slow to evolve since the analog design problems of moving from the current standards to 100G are significant. 10-gigabit Ethernet has existed since the mid-1990s, whereas announcements for the first generation of 100 gigabit systems only happened in 2011. Companies like Huawei, Ciena, and Alcatel have deployed 100G systems with varying degrees of success and scale.
100G is primarily targeted at heavy-duty data centers. With smart home devices and smartphones becoming ubiquitous, the rate of data creation in the world has skyrocketed over the past decade. 100G is the most future-ready technology that provides enough bandwidth for even the busiest data centers to perform effortlessly, thus proving to be highly scalable.
Furthermore, a move from today’s 25G or 40G standards to 100G has significant advantages for businesses that already have fully provisioned data centers. The capital and operational expenditures of upgrading to 100-gigabit are low because of backward compatibility with slower standards. Most existing cabling infrastructure can be retooled to support 100G bandwidth.
Moving from 25G to 100G also has significant power-saving benefits. As the same technology can be reworked, system performance increases manifold, but power and cooling requirements remain the same. This reduces the overall cost per gigabyte for data center operators.
While it is quite impossible your home internet connection will need to be upgraded to a 100-gigabit plan anytime soon, it doesn’t mean that this change won’t affect you. Data centers are scrambling to equip themselves with faster internet because data consumption by end-users has gone up significantly.
One minute of uncompressed 4K video, playing at a bitrate of 60 Mb/s can be up to 450 MB in size. With the rise of streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV, and Amazon Prime offering 4K streaming on-demand, media providers need to process these requests with near-zero latency. Add to that the permeation of online gaming, cloud computing, and smart-home devices into the lives of average consumers, and you soon begin to see why higher bandwidth is the need of the hour.
100G’s future readiness cannot be understated. As the world becomes increasingly automated and AI systems take over mundane tasks, there is an increasing need for data to train these systems. On the other hand, blockchain technology is carving an important niche for itself in its journey to form an internet-based economy and facilitate true decentralization.
As these two forces combine to shift the paradigm of the world wide web, 100G will be the backbone technology to facilitate them.