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Where's Our Terabit Ethernet?

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the i-already-made-a-bandwidth-pr0n-joke-today dept.

Networking 218

carusoj writes "Five years ago, we were talking about using Terabit Ethernet in 2008. Those plans have been pushed back a bit, but Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe this week is starting to throw around a new date for Terabit Ethernet: 2015. He's also suggesting that this be done in a non-standard way, at least at first, saying it's an opportunity to "break loose from the stranglehold of standards and move into some fun new technologies.""

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2015 (1)

DarkTitan_X (905442) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589550)

Yes, and I suppose we'll have flying cars by then too?

Re:2015 (5, Funny)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589768)

Yes, and I suppose we'll have flying cars by then too?
And Windows will be smaller, faster and more stable!

Re:2015 (1)

framauro13 (1148721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590186)

I don't know about that, but I'm looking forward to the retro '80's cafes. Plus we'll no longer be dependent on oil after Mr. Fusion is invented.

I doubt (read: hope) the Cubs will be World Series Champions though.

Stranglehold? (4, Insightful)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589558)

I'd like to see the internet held together by his fun new technologies. See how well machines communicate without basic protocols.

Re:Stranglehold? (4, Insightful)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589620)

I see it as an opportunity for a new standard to evolve in a more natural fashion. Consider HD-DVD v. Blu-Ray--you have two competing formats come out, neither of which is compatible with the other's standard, but after a while it becomes apparent which one is going to be used.

Besides, it's not like this is going to affect TCP or IP or whatnot--this is way down at the bottom of the OSI model at level 1.

Re:Stranglehold? (3, Insightful)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589692)

Right, because corporate competitions in which two big companies do their best to ensure that their format wins the battle, with the individuals being frightened that their purchases will become obsolete is soo much fun.

Standards should be decided on BEFORE the material comes out. In this case it's not such a big deal, as the only people who are going to want terabit ethernet are huge enough geeks (or companies) to support whatever standard they choose but for the most part a lack of standards hurts everyone (just look at IE/Office, those are 'competing' standards...would you call them a good thing?)

Re:Stranglehold? (2, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589920)

In this case it's not such a big deal, as the only people who are going to want [HD players] are huge enough geeks (or companies) to support whatever standard they choose
Your quote applies equally well to his example as to what you were saying.

just look at IE/Office, those are 'competing' standards...would you call them a good thing?
They're not standards at all, that's the problem. IE's supposed to be compatible with the standard and it's not, so your example seems moot. Office has no standard at all, which would seem to be compatible with the discussion, but the big difference is that it's gone well beyond the point where there should have been a standard.

However, I don't think any products should make it to the market before there's a standard developed. Computer equipment has a way of going outdated very quickly when there's no standard attached, and I sure as hell wouldn't want to buy $1000 worth of equipment only to have everyone standardize to a different technology and leave me in the cold. At least your HD-DVD's will still play, if everyone switches to one type when you bought into the other type, your equipment becomes worthless.

Re:Stranglehold? (5, Interesting)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590038)

Not entirely.

There are still a few token rings and other such mesozoic cruft wandering around in the wild out there, but they still work--because some clever folks invented a way to get from one kind of network to another.

Keep in mind, also, that it's really only the early adopters--those who are willing to buy 1st-generation equipment--who would get 'screwed over', and they have, by definition (as the first generation of a given kind of thing is always several times more expensive than the 'production' generations), the money to waste on this sort of thing.

Re:Stranglehold? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589722)

Yes, but waiting for competing standards to shake out can be a huge waste of time and money.

Doesn't anyone remember the bad old days before TCP/IP over Ethernet became standard?

How many organizations are still laboring to expunge the last remaining vestiges of Token Ring, IPX, Netware, etc.?

Re:Stranglehold? (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590296)

Besides, it's not like this is going to affect TCP or IP or whatnot--this is way down at the bottom of the OSI model at level 1.

Therein lies the rub, I think.

In spite of the OSI model (which TCP/IP doesn't map to very neatly BTW) - if one layer sneezes, they all catch a cold (with severity decreasing by distance). You screw with one layer, odds are good that you're gonna screw with its neighbors.

A good parallel of standards and what happens to them when folks try to create new paradigms? It can be found as close as your nearest fiber-based SAN installation (in its early days, anyhow)... "doesn't play well with others" is the most polite description I can find for it.

/P

Re:Stranglehold? (1)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590484)

X2 vs Flex56.

Re:Stranglehold? (2, Informative)

waterlogged (210759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590680)

"Besides, it's not like this is going to affect TCP or IP or whatnot--this is way down at the bottom of the OSI model at level 1"

Media Access Control and Logical Link are Layer 2
IP is Layer 3
TCP is Layer 4

Geek card....give it here.

Re:Stranglehold? (2, Informative)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590738)

Physical layer is level 1. This covers the hardware--the cables and interface cards that would need to be modified to operate at the Terabit rates, and which is the primary concern in this case.

Layer 2 will be involved, of course, but the primary difficulties in this endeavor is going to be layer 1.

Re:Stranglehold? (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589870)

I think you don't understand where he is coming from.

You would need to use the existing protocols on some level, but the protaocols to hit terabyte might need to be different. So he is saying Think about how to get reach the goal firsts, then delve into the protocol arena. If it is superior then eventually we would discard the older protocols and only use the new one.

Re:Stranglehold? (2, Funny)

Scootin159 (557129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590334)

that should be an quick & easy transition, just like IPv6, right?

Re:Stranglehold? (2, Funny)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589886)

I agree. After all, this worked so well for the American cell phone network.

Wednesday? (1)

suso (153703) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589562)

Um, they just made an announcement that they reached 16Tbits/sec on Wednesday, sheesh. Use the bandwidth you have for something useful.

Re:Wednesday? (4, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589644)

Um, they just made an announcement that they reached 16Tbits/sec on Wednesday, sheesh. Use the bandwidth you have for something useful.

Like porn?

Re:Wednesday? (3, Funny)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589814)

Like porn?
Pfff, 16Tbits/s of porn? Hardly. Only LOLcat [icanhascheezburger.com] pictures need that kind of bandwidth.

but but but (3, Informative)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589570)

we LOVE our standards. Without standards, where would we be?

K, just RTFA, and let me save the rest of you folks the suspense: There isn't one. It's a blurb about breaking standards and terabit ethernet. The slashdot summary just about nailed it.

Re:but but but (0)

alen (225700) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589628)

slashdot's precious standards are like trekkie's and star wars fans precious canon

Re:but but but (5, Funny)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589816)

The slashdot summary just about nailed it.

So, are we at the start of the end times now?

Re:but but but (3, Informative)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589902)

Metcalfe says that the current approach being taken in the standards bodies won't get us to terabit rates. So, without going into too much detail, he said he expects a technology revolution, during which proprietary and innovative approaches to Terabit Ethernet will rule, at least at first. He said he sees it as an opportunity to "break loose from the stranglehold of standards and move into some fun new technologies."
Ahhh, the struggle to stay relevant I suppose. Especially considering this guy has one awards from IEEE [wikipedia.org] , a standards body. It almost feels he has an axe to grind from that short statement, at least in regards to the process perhaps. But then again he is a venture capitalist [wikipedia.org] , perhaps he is laying down some good press for some startups he might have dumped some cash into? Also he has had some incorrect predictions [wikipedia.org] before, my favorite being Windows 2000 would crush Linux.

Four stories down, you whiner. (1)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589582)

Tag this story with "Scrolldownyouwhiner" ...

Long Time (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589586)

7 years is a long time. Wouldn't it make more sense to work towards a new ethernet technology that has larger capacity? Think of the amount of data we currently send over the web etc. That's only going to increase. Those using ethernet on their networks I'm sure would prefer something that could deal with their daughter watching You Tube while their son is playing his friends on Duke Nukem Forever (haha!) on the LAN. Petabit Ethernet sounds more useful.
Meh, it's a shitload of data either way...

Re:Long Time (3, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589728)

7 years is a long time.

Seven years is the blink of an eye, kid.

Re:Long Time (1)

Durinthal (791855) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590192)

Seven years is the blink of an eye, kid.
You might want to get that checked out.

Re:Long Time (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590532)

Seven years is the blink of an eye, kid.
You might want to get that checked out.
I did. [slashdot.org] I go back to see Dr. Odin about my eye on the fifth [slashdot.org] .

Thanks for asking.

That's it, I'm going in! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589590)

I'm going for a shit. I'll post the results when I get back.

Re:That's it, I'm going in! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589690)

Well?

Just got back (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589956)

I just realized that slashdot doesn't have a way to post pictures in the forums. I'm surprised by this since it's a common feature at many other sites. Is there a suggestion box or I just email Cmdrtaco about it?

Who needs it? (5, Informative)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589604)

One terrabit per second is roughly:

6 x as fast as 32-bit 2.8GHz HyperTransport
16 x as fast as x16 PCIe 2.0
60 x as fast as 20GFC fibre channel
400 x as fast as SATA-300
700 uncompressed 1080p HDTV streams (24bpp, 30fps)
15 million telephone calls

Other than the LHC, who the hells needs that kind of bandwidth?

Re:Who needs it? (1)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589656)

Do you have any idea the volume of pr0n you could serve on that pipe?

Porn measurement unit: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589704)

Hotties per nanosecond

Re:Who needs it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22590108)

Do you have any idea the volume of pr0n you could serve on that pipe?

That's exactly what we want. Volume-metric porn. No more of this 2D stuff. Truly 3D porn would take a huge amount of bandwidth.

Re:Who needs it? (5, Insightful)

Alioth (221270) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589670)

640k is roughly:

10 Commodore 64s
20 BBC Micros
640 ZX-81s
6 times a SDSS floppy disc

Who needs that kind of memory?

We might not need terabit ethernet *now*, but in 25 years time, it may be the basic expectation of your LAN's speed.

Re:Who needs it? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589848)


640k is roughly:


You miss the point.

There is nothing you can do with a big-ass pipe except move bits.

Plugging your firehose into the neighborhood drip irrigation system isn't going to get your lawn watered any faster. In situations where insane bandwidth can be installed end to end and there are insane amounts of data to move, this would be a great thing. However, the GP's point was that this really isn't the most common situation.

Most LANs have TONS of bandwidth to spare today. Work on an Internet (both pipes and servers) that can keep up with my cheap commodity HW LAN. Now, THAT would be useful.

This is not to say that there is no one on earth that needs to move insane amount of data in a LAN. Good on them. However just that increasing LAN speed won't help most folks while they wait for "the network"

Re:Who needs it? (4, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589962)

Maybe. One of the things that I've noticed is that as the bandwidth increases it becomes harder and harder to fill it up. Back in the Commodore 64 days it was not hard at all to run your machine out of memory by just typing a paper that was too long, and that's without graphics/charts/etc... These days there is no way a person would be able to type enough text to even make a noticeable dent in the main memory of any commodity machine. When everybody used 56k modems and serial lines it was trivially easy to fill up the link. However, when they moved to 10Mb Ethernet it got harder, but not impossible. Suddenly compressed music files were not a problem, although compressed video (DivX) still was. Then we went to 100Mb Ethernet and compressed video is no longer much of a bottleneck. Even now most modern machines come with Gigabit Ethernet ports that your average person can't fill with anything. Without new and bandwith intensive applications people won't be inclined to improve their bandwidth.

That's not to say someone won't come up with some application that requires a ton of bandwidth (distributed neural nets?), but none of our current applications would even really scale up to requiring 10GbE. The only realistic thing that comes to mind is some sort of Super HD video format, but anything like that is at least a decade away.

Re:Who needs it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22590154)

Its getting harder and harder to reach capacity because designers of said items are realizing the need to scale.

Which is exactly what we're doing here. Design it knowing that you'll reach a limit, and have a plan to move to the next scale.

Re:Who needs it? (1)

cheesethegreat (132893) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590264)

If bandwidth speed (along with encode/decode time on your local machine) were trivial, we could be doing things like centralized video processing. Instead of buying video cards for each computer, we buy a central video processor, and have everything routed through that. 100 computers on a LAN running graphic design programs rendering at full-tilt could chew up that bandwidth really quickly. And would save the company money on having to buy good graphics processors for each system.

Re:Who needs it? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590004)

In 25 years we better have 10 terabit wired speeds. I would be surprised if 100 terabit wasn't becoming common.

Re:Who needs it? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590014)

In 25 years will be fine. But 2015 is well within that deadline.

I think the grandparent meant "who needs it *now* or in the near future"?

It is an issue of balance. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590126)

It is not state that we will never need Terabit eathernet. It is an issue that we don't need it now... And our computers will need to run a full performace just to handle the data. Sure we could probably use Terabit Eathernet for such things like distributed computing or Speedy downloads. However for most tasks Gigabit is fast enough and still isn't being fully utilised.

Re:Who needs it? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589682)

I suppose you also think 640k of RAM is enough for anyone?

Re:Who needs it? (2, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589702)

Every ISP in the world, to meet the bandwidth allocations they've sold fraudulently.

Re:Who needs it? (2, Insightful)

archen (447353) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589706)

Switches and machines that aggregate multiple saturated gigabit connections?

Re:Who needs it? (1)

marzipanic (1147531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589742)

I was informed by a gamer that they do!

Other than that people who need everything yesterday I guess, well them and Virgin

Re:Who needs it? (2, Insightful)

EriDay (679359) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589750)

Regional ISPs. This is not a consumer product. Running ethernet on the backbone allows a homogeneous stack on all hosts from end to end.

Re:Who needs it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589756)

Other than the LHC, who the hells needs that kind of bandwidth?
You just set yourself up for "640K should be enough for anyone" comparisons. Unless you are aware of all the innovations that will take place over the next decade, I think your response is short-sighted.

Better to have it an not need it, than to need it and not have it.

Re:Who needs it? (2, Funny)

kvezach (1199717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589760)

Other than the LHC, who the hells needs that kind of bandwidth?

Evil overlords who want to build their own Borg collective? If 10^10 bits per second bandwidth is required (comparable to the bandwidth of the bundle connecting the brain hemispheres), then you get 100 drones per wire. (On the other hand, wired Borg would be really limited -- for obvious reasons.)

Re:Who needs it? (2, Funny)

Shados (741919) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589780)

Yeah yeah, who cares about all that abstract stuff. How many LIBRAIRIES OF CONGRESS is it?!

Re:Who needs it? (4, Funny)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589852)

One terrabit per second is roughly:

81 lunabits per second.

Re:Who needs it? (1)

altoz (653655) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589878)

Other than the LHC, who the hells needs that kind of bandwidth?
640k ought to be enough for everybody, too, right?

if it's there, it'll get used, probably for a purpose that's just the twinkle in some person's eye right now. think innovation, man!

Re:Who needs it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22590018)

must leach more porn!

Re:Who needs it? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590092)

Haven't got a clue, but *my* Internet isn't fast enough so faster equipment all around means it'll trickle down. Do I need 4GB RAM in my box? No, but it's very nice to have when it's cheap. If they can get terabit connections for cheap, I'll happily settle for a GigE connection...

Re:Who needs it? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22590230)

Jakob Nielsen once famously stated that the "perfect user interface" will require 1Tbps [useit.com] .

Of course I live in America so if I got 2Mbps through my broadband connection I'd be happy.

Re:Who needs it? (1)

MortenMW (968289) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590354)

Well, you have a (unintentional) point there. Currently the bottleneck is the hardware used in our computers. It will not help to have a 100 Tbps network if our hdd's can not store that much data at the same speed (or faster). Theres no real point in terrabit ethernet until we have clients with fast enough hardware.

For those of you playing at home, a TB is (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589626)



For those of you playing at home, a TB is a lot more than you can ever use in a million years...unless you link off the pirate bay, then it's not quite enough.

That's what they said about a GB/s back in the say (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589836)

25 years ago we were using 300 and 1200 bps modems. Now it's like 1.5-6mbps for most people. That's 5000x faster to the outside world.

That's roughly a 5.5x increase every 5 years.

Within our homes it's gone from 100K-or-so serial cables to 100-1000Mbps Ethernet, and that's not even counting specialty protocols like SATA. That's a factor of 4-6.3 every 5 years.

So, by 2013 we should be in the 8-33 Mb/s for typical home users, and in the home we should be between somewhere near 63Gb/sec to network the gaming boxes together.

Re:For those of you playing at home, a TB is (3, Insightful)

Macrat (638047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590052)

1Gbs is a bit slow when backup up a 1TB hard drive to the network server at home. ;-)

Amateurs... (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590394)

Should have thought of that when you were buying your tape libraries...

 

Re:For those of you playing at home, a TB is (1)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590416)

And I'd be willing to bet you're IO bound, not bound by the speed of your network. It is hard to saturate a gigabit link at this point, at least with consumer equipment.

Re:For those of you playing at home, a TB is (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590430)

really? i have a Gigabit network with a NAS and it seems to be just as fast as local drives (both are 7200 SATA 2). they both max out around 50MB/s. unless you have faster hard drives, I think the bottleneck on a gigabit NAS would be the hard drives and not the network.

Re:For those of you playing at home, a TB is (1)

Dan Posluns (794424) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590580)

Not if your drive is still 7,200 rpm...

Re:For those of you playing at home, a TB is (2, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590720)

1Gbs is a bit slow when backup up a 1TB hard drive to the network server at home. ;-)
1 Gb is 128 MBs. According to Storagereview.com [storagereview.com] the Seagate Barracuda ES.2 is the only terabyte drive that has a transfer rate (104 MB/s) which maxes out high enough to even come near filling a gigabit pipe.

The bottleneck is your hard drive.

ethernet and collisions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589650)

The original idea behind ethernet was to enable shared media through collion detection. Other than low performance SOHO hub use, isn't collion detection obsolete? Hasn't the need for collion detection been largely eliminated through switching technology?

What do the netork gurus have to say? With switching technology couldn't we chose another more efficient standard than ethernet?

Re:ethernet and collisions (2, Informative)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590032)

Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] says: "10 Gigabit Ethernet abandons half duplex links and repeaters (and the CSMA/CD that goes with them) in favor of a system of purely full duplex links connected by switches as was already the normal practice with gigabit Ethernet."

I'm SHOCKED, shocked I tells 'ya (1)

SengirV (203400) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589676)

Really, you mean one of these nebulous 5, 10, 20 years from now predictions actually hasn't come true? Amazing.

By now, I'd have thought that that with all the blown predictions like this, that it would only be a story if one actually came true.

I'd sooner have... (4, Insightful)

Channard (693317) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589680)

.. a technology that lets homes receive fast internet no matter where they are. My area's not cabled up, and thanks to me being too far from the exchange.. I just live in a normal street .. I can't reliably get more than 512KB a second. Fix that, and you'd be laughing. Powerline networking, maybe?

Misleading name, "Ethernet". (4, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589712)

"He's also suggesting that this be done in a non-standard way"

No, he suggested that five years ago

We don't yet have the technology described (wave division multiplexing) in our homes because very, very few of us want to bother with fiber in our homes at all.

You can push an amazing amount of data over glass, no one would claim otherwise. You can't, however, drape it across the floor and up the stairs to your switch for a quick LAN connection... Not only does terminating a fiber suck, the first time the dog steps on that little yellow wire, end of connection. By contrast, I've used Cat5 as a structural material (tied a PC to a hook on the ceiling with it) WHILE USING IT for data.

So no, we won't see terabit ethernet anytime soon, unless someone figures out a way to push it over copper.

Re:Misleading name, "Ethernet". (0)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589856)

Sorry, why would you leave any cables out where people can step on them?

Re:Misleading name, "Ethernet". (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589980)

Are you serious? Haven't you ever, say, had a guest come over with their computer up into the guest bedroom when OOPS! you realize you don't have any cable run to the room... just get a really long cable, drag it around the corner, up the stairs and into the room. You don't always have the time, patience, or foresight to run cable through the walls to every room in the house.

Re:Misleading name, "Ethernet". (2, Informative)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590024)

A dog stepping on a cable sounds like a more "permanent" run. I wouldnt worry about the dog for the occasional guest. Besides guests are what 802.11 is for...

Re:Misleading name, "Ethernet". (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590074)

just get a really long cable, drag it around the corner, up the stairs and into the room. You don't always have the time, patience, or foresight to run cable through the walls to every room in the house.

Yes... but I stopped doing that years ago when wireless became cheap, convenient and ubiquitous. Surely I'm not the only guy who'll remote desktop from the kitchen to the living room?

Re:Misleading name, "Ethernet". (1)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590060)

Sorry, why would you leave any cables out where people can step on them?

Because very few of us have the luxury of hardwired data jacks in every room of the house. Personally, I have exactly three hardwired drops in my house, with a switch at all three, but that still requires running a cable (at least) down the hall if I want a connection anywhere other than my office, library, or living room.

And even if you do have God's Own LAN, you probably still don't want to run a new wire or three through your walls just so a few friends can come over for a LAN tournament of your favorite FPS.

Re:Misleading name, "Ethernet". (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590030)

If you can lay fibre across the bottom of an ocean and drag it through conduits you can sure has hell run it up your stairs. You're just using shitty fibre leads. I work in a telephone exchange and trust me, it take more than a dog stepping on it to kill one of the fibre patch leads used there. Terminating it does suck, but most people don't terminate their own CAT-5 either.

Re:Misleading name, "Ethernet". (1)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590236)

If you can lay fibre across the bottom of an ocean

You mean to compare 7+ layer armored "sharkbite" cable with the sort of single nearly-naked fiber you'd use as a patch cable? You have waaaaay more money than I do!

I work in a telephone exchange and trust me, it take more than a dog stepping on it to kill one of the fibre patch leads used there

You probably have much higher quality fiber (or more accurately, fiber with much stronger jacketing) than the than what average Joes would use. But that example about the dog came from real life... A 50ft run (which at the time cost some ungodly amount - well over a dollar per foot), destroyed with one misplaced paw.

Re:Misleading name, "Ethernet". (2, Interesting)

ChrisA90278 (905188) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590096)

I disagree. I bought a spool of fiber for some users who needed to deploy a temporary network and then roll it back up and use it again later. We bought a one kilometer roll on a wooden spool and they would just as you say pull it down stairwells through doors and toss it up in trees. Once they hung it over a freeway in Germany from some utility poles (had to hire local linemen for that one) and then after a few day rolled it back.

I told the fiber cable sales guy I was going to test their sample by placing it in the parking lot and letting cars drive over it for a while. The cable was tough basically it was a bundle of kevlar around a thin fiber strand. The kevlar absorbed all of the abuse. After all they lay fiber cable in the ocean. If it can take being dumped off a ship into the ocean it can take a dogs stepping on it. The trick is to specify the correct cable and don't just buy whatever is cheapest.

Re:Misleading name, "Ethernet". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22590404)

There are different types of fiber cables (well, the actualy fiber doesn't really change much.) The really thing stuff that's basically just some kevlar and plastic is NOT what is used in more hostile environments. I used to use tactical fiber in my last unit (USAF) which had several strands within a pretty covering. Supposedly it could handle being run over by our trucks and whatnot but we never really torture tested it. The stuff they lay in the ocean is definately nowhere near what you see in homes and on spools that fit in/on your vehicle.

Re:Misleading name, "Ethernet". (1)

djp928 (516044) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590178)

Fiber is actually surprisingly tough. Yeah, it's glass, but as long as the light gets through, you've got a good signal. Where I work we once accidentally rolled a 700 pound cabinet over a fiber run. The fiber rolled up under the caster and got crunched a second time (once from the wheel going over it, once from it curling over the wheel and getting jammed in the housing) and we had to slowly back the cabinet off the fiber while gently tugging on the free end to get it out of the wheel housing. It came out all mangled looking, and we thought there was no way they would still work. But we got the cabinet in place, plugged the fiber in, and what do you know? It worked fine. We used those mangled cables for four years, and they were still working when we retired those boxes this year.

So yeah, in general fiber is less sturdy than standard copper cables. But they're not as brittle as all that.

Proprietary protocols (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589752)

So, without going into too much detail, he said he expects a technology revolution, during which proprietary and innovative approaches to Terabit Ethernet will rule, at least at first.
At first? With the way patent trolling is going right now, I wonder if anyone will see it all, but I commend him for trying to break out of the strangle hold that corps have on the standards in favor of innovation rather than profit and stifling competition.

Interrupts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22589784)

If each incoming packet results in a CPU interrupt, and the OS has to process these, wouldn't terabit ethernet make the CPU a considerable bottleneck? I know that for gigabit ethernet it's already something of a problem, now picture that situation being 1000 times worse.

Front-end handler (2, Informative)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589940)

Who says the CPU has to handle all the load.

You can design your hardware so the CPU only gets interrupted when it needs to.

If you have a smart front-end processor, you can have the front-end processor bundle up IP- or insert-your-own-protocol packets and send them to the CPU as needed. Heck, if it's really smart it can even handle entire TCP streams on its own. Imagine only interrupting the CPU when it had the results of an entire HTTP GET request in hand. Or imagine downloading your favorite movie and having the front-end processor do all the work, shoving the data to RAM directly and alerting the CPU every MB or so.

Hmm, come to think of it, didn't the Internet begin with front-end processors or dedicated devices the size of a large refrigerator?

Re:Front-end handler (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22590260)

If you have a smart front-end processor, you can have the front-end processor bundle up IP- or insert-your-own-protocol packets and send them to the CPU as needed. Heck, if it's really smart it can even handle entire TCP streams on its own. Imagine only interrupting the CPU when it had the results of an entire HTTP GET request in hand. Or imagine downloading your favorite movie and having the front-end processor do all the work, shoving the data to RAM directly and alerting the CPU every MB or so.
That's really ridiculous. Under that scheme, every time a new killer app comes out, everyone has to buy lots of dedicated hardware.

It's easier to just interrupt the CPU only once when short bursts of packets come in.

rediculous or not depends on the applications (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590534)

It's easier to just interrupt the CPU only once when short bursts of packets come in.
How short is short? 1 bit? 1 packet? 10 packets? 1M packets? 1 "transaction" at a higher-level of the protocol? The ideal answer depends on your environment. The realistic answer will be "close enough" to the ideal often enough to be a market success.

If I recall, the C64 handled serial port interrupts on the CPU. One bit equaled one interrupt. It kind of maxed out at 1200 or 2400 bps. Someone came up with the bright idea of a UART. Woo-hoo, a front-end processor for a serial port, so you only have to interrupt the processor every byte and you get parity checking and byte-border checking for free.

Come to think of it, Ethernet cards have their own front-end processors to handle the Ethernet-packet decoding and encoding, sparing the CPU.

If and when the need arises, you will see higher-level front-end processing on the network interface devices. If the need never arises, you won't see it.

Bob Metcalfe, hater of open source (3, Interesting)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589788)

Has this guy done anything relevant in the past couple of decades? Here's a choice quote [infoworld.com] of his:

Unix and the Internet turn 30 this summer. Both are senile, according to journalist Peter Salus, who like me is old enough, but not too old, to remember. The Open Sores Movement asks us to ignore three decades of innovation. It's just a notch above Luddism. At least they're not bombing Redmond. Not yet anyway.

The hard part of being down on Linux and the Open Sores Movement is worrying about that menace hanging over us at year's end. No, not Y2K, but Linux's nemesis, W2K, Windows 2000, the operating system formerly known as Windows NT 5.0.

W2K is software also from the distant past -- VAX/VMS for Windows. But it will overpower Linux. NT, now approaching 23x6 availability, is already overpowering Linux. NT and NetWare constitute 60 percent of server software shipments. All Unixes make up 17 percent, and Linux is a small fraction of that. When W2K gets here, goodbye Linux.

Re:Bob Metcalfe, hater of open source (1)

adam.dorsey (957024) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590248)

Wow, that was fantastic. I needed a laugh.

I can't take anyone seriously who uses terms like "Open-Sores," "Micro$oft/M$," "Windoze," "Linuzzz," etc. It makes a person sound like a 13-year old script kiddie.

Re:Bob Metcalfe, hater of open source (2, Interesting)

anticypher (48312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590566)

I had the pleasure to work on projects associated with Metcalfe at the beginning of my career, notably the migration of Ethernet I to Ethernet II standard. He was an autistic, anti-social, self-centered, egotistical curmudgeon from the start, and despite those charming qualities he nevertheless adopted an ivory-tower academic approach in his later life of hating anything created since his 15 minutes of brilliance.

He can always point to DJB as a worse curmudgeon, so there is that solace in knowing he isn't the most disrespected hasbeen still seeking the limelight.

the AC

I don't think a smattering of emoticons in this post will stave off the imminent hater responses, and there isn't really anything I'd put a smiley to.

stranglehold of standards (1)

thinktanked (1247980) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589800)

Stupid sexy standards.

Wait... you believe Metcalfe WHY? (5, Interesting)

1336 (898588) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589820)

As in the Robert Metcalfe whose Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] has an "Incorrect predictions" section listing where he wrongly thought that "the internet would suffer a catastrophic collapse" in 1996 and this gem:

Metcalfe is also known for his harsh criticism of open source software, and Linux in particular, predicting that the latter would be obliterated after Microsoft released Windows 2000:

The Open Source Movement's ideology is utopian balderdash [... that] reminds me of communism. [...] Linux [is like] organic software grown in utopia by spiritualists [...] When they bring organic fruit to market, you pay extra for small apples with open sores - the Open Sores Movement. When [Windows 2000] gets here, goodbye Linux.
Just because he did something really cool 35 years ago doesn't make him an expert on related matters now.

It's about Shannon's law too. (5, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589840)

For everyone that has been working with communication since the early datacom ages Shannon's law [wikipedia.org] has been important. It's still important, and it means that you can't just push everything through, you have to consider the media used.

In a way it can be tweaked a bit, and that has caused a confusion among those that aren't well into the technological difference between Baud (modulation changes per second) and BPS (bits per second).

Anyway - The classical phone modems can have a speed up to 56kbps, but effectively they stay at 28 to 33kbps. And that on a line that actually only provides 3kHz bandwidth. The trick is that in the 3KHz bandwidth you can have a carrier with less than 3000 modulation changes per second, often 2400. In each modulation change you not only have one bit transferred, but multiple bits. This is achieved by having a variation in both phase and amplitude of the signal.

So to utilize the cabling at the extreme speeds that a terabit Ethernet is you may have to resort to the same technique.

There have also been other techniques in use like using multiple carrier frequencies, like what the Telebit Trailblazer modems did. That technology was very resilient to interference compared to the CCITT standards, but it had other disadvantages instead.

Where's My Elephant? (-1, Offtopic)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589934)

Where's my elephant?
Where's my elephant?
Where's my elephant?
Where's my elephant?

Ah, I love that song... reminds me of elephants.

Progress! (4, Funny)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22589946)

Five years ago, we were talking about using Terabit Ethernet in 2008. Those plans have been pushed back a bit, but Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe this week is starting to throw around a new date for Terabit Ethernet: 2015.


So, 5 years ago, Tb-E was 5 years away, and now its 7 years away. So by 2015, it should be about 10 years away, and by 2025 it should be about 14 years away, etc.

Hmm... (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590042)

Let's see, 10 Gb Ethernet came out about 5 years ago. It started out only being able to do about 2 Gb/s with tweaks to PCI-X. PCI-X, at best, I have only seen capable of doing around 6Gb/s with a NIC. PCI-e x8 does much better and you can get very close to ~10 Gb/s. Theoretically, 8x can do 16 Gb/s...and there is a 16 lane version as well. Current standards that are being developed are for 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s. 40 isn't too bad since backplanes can already do that speed, of course, if you have multiple ports you would have to be doing blocking. I'd still say that was a few years off from any real products and then a few years of it sucking before it gets good.

Quite frankly, 2015 is a joke. I see a lot of these people in high places make these incredibly wild predictions. I am not sure if they are just off in their own little land or if they make aggressive predictions to try to drive the industry. So maybe they can put out some strange switch that could go this fast by that time but nothing that would be practical. 100G isn't even out, or at least nothing I can touch. I'd say it would be at LEAST 2020 before any networking equipment will be capable of this, much less used.

I will Settle For 1Mbps (2, Interesting)

s31523 (926314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590158)

Forget terabit ethernet. I will settle for full, actual 1Mbps (10,100, 1000, etc.) speed for both transmit and receive. Even on my home network, I rarely get full %100 utilization on my LAN. Some PC's are linux, some are Windows. Neither machine ever really reaches its full potential. I looked at other networks as well, even my work LAN, and they have similar issues. I am not a network guru and don't want to spend the time tweaking and configuring. The damn Gbps NIC and network drive I bought should just plug and go and I expect to see speeds reasonably close to 1Gbps, but nope. I see like 1% utilization. Seriously, lets make current technology work as advertised before we start claiming super-fast speeds on other vapor-ware technology. Please?

Re:I will Settle For 1Mbps (3, Informative)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590360)

Spend 5 minutes troubleshooting.

Consumer grade copper gigabit in crappy low-end PCs (made in the last 4 years) should be able to give you at least 300mbit of transferred data over TCP given 10 minutes of tuning, and using the correct cables.

Don't use a USB NIC. Don't transfer your data to/from a 4000rpm laptop hard drive... Etc..

You're not going to get 1Gbps though, 'cause your hard drive probably can't go that fast. The average low-end desktop drive isn't going to give you more than 30MB/sec. Depending on your system, the bus you have the NIC plugged into can't do 1000mbps. Your network can handle the advertised speed just fine though. If you've got high end gear (motherboard, disk array) you can peg a gigabit ethernet link in a point to point transfer... Right now it's not the ethernet holding consumer grade equipment back.

Put off in favor of wireless. (5, Insightful)

scaryjohn (120394) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590182)

I humbly submit that the R&D money that could have increased the upper boundary of Ethernet speeds was spent to bring wireless to the masses. Five years ago, if you'd told me WiFi would now be a year away from nominal speeds of 250Mb/s I might have thought you were talking about prototypes. The dorms where I was a tech had just finished upgrading from 10Mb/s to 100Mb/s Ethernet. The few laptops that were sold with external wireless cards had nominal speeds of 10Mb/s. But now we have 802.11g and next year we should have 802.11n on the store shelves.

I think we've gained much more by pushing out the median speed of wireless than we could have gained from pushing out the marginal speed of twisted pair.

Where's Our Terabit Ethernet? (1)

nebulus4 (799015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590200)

Here [slashdot.org]

Everyone's gay for wireless nowadays (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22590472)

Unfortunately wireless is taking the spotlight. Too bad most people can't recognize it for the pile of fail and AIDS that it is.

Oh well, once they realize it's shit then maybe we can resume work on TerE.

I think it's funny how we have a story on the front page about a breakthrough for 100GigE, and this story about TerE not being here soon enough.

Fucking Slow Down Cowboy.

Um, I have an idea... (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 6 years ago | (#22590568)

Any chance Bob's patents on Ethernet are expiring? Don't need no steenking standards, mon. Need new ways, we do! My ways! My Money! MY MONEY!

ps- all you hotshot engineers; rotsa ruck beating the real thing.
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