The 54th North American Network Operators' Group (NANOG) technical service provider conference took place last week on February 5-8, 2012 in San Diego, CA. We had packed agenda with many excellent tutorials, panels, talks and BoFs that covered a variety of technical topics. I especially liked the keynote panel on the IPv4 secondary market. This is an interesting developing market with many different and even opposing views. NANOG54 also had 604 registered attendees, making it one of the larger conferences we’ve had recently. I want to share a summary of the 100 Gigabit demonstration that we put together in the NOGLab, because it was really pretty cool – and everything just worked!
The demo was designed to show that 100 Gigabit technology is ready for production deployment, and that there are a variety of different shipping solutions on the market today. In fact, the 802.3ba standard is now over 1½ years old already, and 100 Gigabit interfaces have been on the market for almost as long. At the demo we:
• Showcased the interoperability and maturity of shipping 100 Gbps routing, optical transport and test solutions • Highlighted the various MMF and SMF CFP media options that are available today for short and long reach distance requirements • Demonstrated carrier-grade emulation of an IP/MPLS network that delivers VPN services with measured SLA quality over a multivendor core
Five equipment vendors participated in the demo, and brought together an impressive list of gear and CFP media.
Putting it all together was surprisingly… well, uneventful. Guided by our project leader, Henk Steenman – AMS-IX CTO, we showed up on Saturday morning to start unpacking and setting up. After lunch we already had 100 Gbps traffic going between several devices. I wish I could write more about challenges that we overcame, but it was really just as simple as plugging everything together and configuring all the devices. The most exciting problem we had was packet loss on a link, which turned out to be caused by a dirty fiber connector. After cleaning the fiber the packet loss problem was solved, and we had no other technical issues.
On Sunday morning we had the whole demo running and were sending 100 Gbps over the Ethernet and optical transport network. The days of boring bit blasting are long gone, and we wanted to show real services running over the network. Ixia and Spirent test gear provided the eye candy for visualizing the demo by emulating CE devices and VPN services. We were able to verify correct packet ordering and sequencing, while monitoring SLA components such as latency and jitter that we could see on real-time graphs.
We had a very successful demo that was interesting to conference attendees, and also accomplished what we set out to show – that building 100 Gbps networks is easy, and it just works.
For more information on Brocade’s high-density 100 GbE solutions, please visit the Brocade MLX Series product page.