The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) isn't working on a variable-speed Ethernet standard yet, but Google is pushing for one. It was a point of focus for Bikash Koley, Google's principal architect and manager of network architecture, during a panel session on the last day of OFC/NFOEC last week. What he wants is variable-speed Ethernet. So, instead of running a connection at 100 Gbit/s or 400 Gbit/s, which are the two standard choices, he'd like to pick arbitrary speeds. The technology on the optical side is actually ready for what he's asking. Variable-speed transceivers and flexible-grid ROADMs exist. What's missing is on the packet side: a media access control (MAC) layer that's capable of dealing with a variable-bit-rate physical (PHY) layer.
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