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800G Solutions for Data Centers: Creating and Testing New Industry Standards

Modern data center server racks. Computer racks with flying numbers. Technology related 3D illustration renderWhen vehicles are constantly in gridlock, we must add more lanes to busy highways to improve traffic flow. The same scenario is true for data center management. Under pressure from rapidly increasing traffic, data center operators and hyperscalers are building 800G solutions.

A Powerful Problem for Data Centers

Power consumption is a growing challenge in data center management. Across society, both consumers and businesses are demanding massive amounts of data at rapid speeds. Several popular technology trends are contributing to the data surge toward 800G capacity:

  • 5G, the fifth generation of cellular networks
  • IoT, the internet of things
  • Cloud computing

These prevalent technologies create a perfect storm of increased data flow that creates bandwidth demand for data storage and transfer. According to the United States Department of Energy (DOE), data centers consume 10 to 50 times the energy per floor space of a typical office building. They consume 2% of the country's electricity use, and DOE experts expect this number to grow as demand escalates in the digital age.

Furthermore, the growing racks of servers must be cooled, or they will crash. Cooling, requiring billions of gallons of water each year as reported by Time, creates a large business and community resource demand requiring careful planning and community relations.  Today’s common data center infrastructure is not designed to handle the high demand for bandwidth that 5G, IoT, and cloud computing generate. We need more efficient solutions to accommodate the increased traffic flow. Data center innovators must develop future tools and solutions with this in mind.

800G: An Efficient Solution for Data Center Connectivity

It is time to expand the highway. The next generation of ethernet infrastructure addresses power consumption issues while increasing connectivity and reducing latency. Today, 100G infrastructure is widespread, and 400G infrastructure is rolling out at some data centers. Meanwhile, 800G, the next generation of data center connectivity, is emerging, and researchers are even beginning to explore 1.6T solutions simultaneously.

Evolving Testing Standards for 800G Solutions

Developing and testing new technology go hand in hand. As technology pioneers start to build the next generation of data centers, standards bodies are hard at work on the next set of industry requirements.

At Keysight, we partner with industry leaders to determine how to test this emerging technology and develop new technology standards. We are helping innovators and early adopters prepare for the future by creating testing solutions to validate and debug 800G solutions.

In February 2021, Keysight introduced 800G test solutions that support multimode interfaces, enabling the optical transceiver ecosystem to improve the power efficiency of components and modules used in data center equipment. Then, in March 2022, we announced the industry's first compliance test solution for validating 112 gigabit per second (Gbps) serial data center interface to the latest industry standards. This new test solution leverages Keysight's M8040A 64 GBaud high-performance bit error ratio tester (BERT) with a N1060A Digital Communication Analyzer (DCA) for receiver testing and Keysight's Infiniium UXR-Series real-time oscilloscope for transmitter testing.

Adoption of this new technology depends on standardization and rigorous testing. We are here to support industry trailblazers as they create 800G solutions (and beyond) for power-efficient data centers in the future.

Are you part of the data center solution? Get support for 800G here.

About the Author

Hadrien has a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and is a manager for optical test and measurement solutions for networks and data centers at Keysight. Isabella is an expert in data center optimization and supports Keysight’s CSG Wireline network and data center activities.

Profile Photo of Hadrien Louchet and Isabella Heider