400 gigabit ethernet is quite self-explanatory in the fact that it is an ethernet connection which operates four times faster than 100G. The name ‘400GbE’ stands for the next capacity rate in Ethernet interfaces. 400 GbE is advancing the optical network landscape, pushing network providers to adopt the new addition in order to stay ahead. Gigabit Ethernet is where an ethernet connection can transfer traffic at the rate of 1 gigabit per second. 


Although 400GbE was approved by the IEEE in December 2017, the deployment rate is starting to heat up due to networks attaining new levels of data traffic. Therefore, making it essential for network providers to integrate the newly advanced technology into their systems to allow for higher scalability. In comparison to the 100G or 200G versions, 400GbE is equipped to carry double the amount of traffic whilst reducing transport and operational costs. Furthermore, 400GbE is a much more sustainable version as it utilises a lower energy consumption, thereby creating a reduction in its carbon footprint.


Ethernet analyst, Pete Anslow, believes that “in the early stages of 400GbE deployment, the higher capacities will be used as interfaces from routers to transport networks and as the technology matures, volumes will increase, meaning that the costs will decrease.”


Cignal Ai demonstrated the rate at which 400G will be introduced into the market within the graph below, replacing 100G and 200G in the future.

With the implementation of 400GbE, network operators will be able to increase their demand for bandwidth, satisfying all business stakeholders, as the faster internet speeds will assist in creating an overall positive experience when using the internet. Especially in a world where the internet is present in nearly all aspects of life, 400 GbE will allow networks to stay ahead with the expectations of having fast and seamless internet performance. With the current commercial deployment of 5G and the growing rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as the growing trend of video streaming and virtual gaming, 400GbE will be readily accepted, with networks eagerly ready. 


The speeds which 400GbE will provide is revolutionary for ethernet capability and will change the way organisations and networks perform immensely. Along with increased speed and bandwidth, 400GbE will be able to deliver optimal bandwidth at the correct density. Furthermore, 400 GbE has driven the adoption and growth of new pluggable optical modules and switches. 


400GbE will provide an array of benefits for all industries, including those involved in test equipment, service industries (including telecommunication providers and cloud service providers), internet mega-corporations (those with several distributed businesses) as well as any business which relies on high-bandwidth applications. 


Cloud service providers will be able to use 400GbE to meet the density needs that their data centres require, considering that most are experiencing rapid growth due to the needs from society regarding internet requirements. Similarly with telecommunication providers, with data suggesting that the average person will have 3.4 connected mobile devices in 2020, it is vital for telecom companies to keep up with such demand. Telecommunication providers are the main industry driving towards the deployment of 400GbE due to its ever-growing server speed requirements. For both the cloud and telecom industries, 400GbE will eliminate all previous ‘bottleneck’ issues which may have arisen prior. 


VIAVI is a leader behind powering the performance for such networks by providing industry-leading test, assurance and monitoring solutions for all stages within the cycle. With that said, VIAVI works alongside standards bodies, chip developers and module vendors to develop 800G, whilst maintaining and ensuring networks are meeting the 400G standards. VIAVI’s T-BERD/MTS-400G Network Tester, enables field technicians to install and maintain high-capacity networks and is ideal for metro-core, data center interconnect as well as business services. 


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Regional Business Development Manager, Enterprise & Data Centers

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