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Facebook Developing 100 Gigabit Ethernet Switch

Facebook announced it is working on a 100 Gbit/second top-of-rack Ethernet switch for its next-generation data centers. The news is another example of how big Internet companies are designing their own systems, chomping at the heels of leading-edge computing and semiconductor technology.

The Wedge 100 is a 32 x 100G switch said to use Broadcom’s latest Tomahawk switch chip with a 3.2 Tbit/s aggregate maximum throughput. As with all its designs, Facebook will make the hardware open source for others to make and use. It is expected to run a variant of open source Linux-based software called FBOSS Facebook currently uses on a 40G switch.

In August, a Facebook optics expert described plans to drive 100G costs to $1/Gbyte using an 100G transceiver with single-mode fiber. The design relaxed distance requirements to 500 meters down from 2km and eased specs on operating temperature and product lifetime. It is based on a QSFP28 pluggable form factor which uses four 25Gbit/second lanes.

Facebook did not provide details on when it expects to deploy the Wedge 100 or how it will handle aggregating data from the 100G TOR switches.

Less than 18 months ago, the Web giant announced its work on a 40Gbit/s TOR Ethernet switch, the first generation Wedge. The design emerged after meetings with switch chip makers in late 2013.

Facebook re-purposed that design into an aggregation switch called 6-Pack. The systems are key components of a new data center fabric it announced a year ago.

Read the rest of this story on EE Times.