Breaking Barriers: Harnessing the Full Potential of 400G Networks

August 24, 2023

written by Asterfuison

Currently, some established network companies offer mature 400G solutions, but they tend to be pricey. So, is there a more budget-friendly choice? Perhaps from white box switch manufacturers? Some of the noteworthy 400G white box switch manufacturers include : Asterfusion, Accton, UfiSpace, Edgecore Networks, Delta Networks, and Celestica


In the wake of COVID-19, network carriers constantly face the challenge of keeping up with bandwidth demands. Over the past three years, there has been a surprising surge in network traffic. Top Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) and networking forecast reports show that, since 2020, 400G Ethernet is becoming the dominant technology. This explosive growth in traffic can be attributed to factors like video streaming, cloud computing, data centers, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and the growing number of IoT devices.

To sum it up, 400G Ethernet is set to swiftly replace 100G and 200G deployments, much faster than the transition from previous Ethernet standards to 100G.

So, what exactly is 400G Ethernet?

Also known as 400 Gigabit, 400GbE, 400Gb/s, or Terabit Ethernet, 400G (400 Gigabit Ethernet) is the newest cloud infrastructure generation and offers four times the speed of its predecessor, the 100G standard. Terabit Ethernet refers to Ethernet transmission at a staggering one trillion bits per second (1 Tbps). Although true Terabit Ethernet is a future concept, for now, it implies speeds exceeding 100 Gbps.

Initially labeled as IEEE 802.3bs, 400G technology was officially approved in December 2017. It introduced new standards such as Forward Error Correction (FEC) for enhanced error performance. Adhering to these guidelines, early trials and initial deployments of 400G network elements have been successful.

So, what exactly is 400G Ethernet?

Typical scenarios for 400G Ethernet network:

The various applications for 400G Ethernet networks can differ based on specific industries, but here are some popular situations where they prove advantageous:

  1. Data Centers: As the need for greater bandwidth and quicker data transfers grows, 400G Ethernet finds its place in data centers. This technology allows for efficient connections between servers, switches, and storage devices while supporting large-scale data processing and storage.
  2. Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs): For high-speed connectivity across urban areas, 400G Ethernet works wonders in MANs. With this technology, massive amounts of data can be transferred efficiently, facilitating applications such as video streaming, cloud computing, and real-time analytics.
  3. Internet Service Providers (ISPs): To fulfill the rising demand for high-speed internet connectivity, ISPs turn to 400G Ethernet networks. This allows them to offer faster and more dependable internet services to their customers while handling bandwidth-heavy applications and services.
  4. Telecommunication Networks: In telecom networks, 400G Ethernet is utilized for high-speed connections between network elements like routers, switches, and optical transport systems. This technology ensures efficient transmission of voice, data, and video traffic while catering to the growing demand for multimedia services.
  5. Enterprise Networks: For large enterprises in need of rapid data transfers, 400G Ethernet networks come in handy to improve internal communication and data exchange. This results in quicker and more efficient data transfers across departments, offices, or data centers within an organization.

How 400G Ethernet work?

Did you know that a 400G Ethernet link actually has a line rate of 425 Gbps? It’s all thanks to the IEEE 802.3bs standard, which was developed for 400G networks. like metioned before; adding to its awesomeness, it incorporates a forward error connection (FEC) process that detects and fixes transmission errors with an extra 25 bits.

So, what makes 400G transmission possible? Say hello to 4-level pulse amplitude modulation (PAM4)! With PAM4, operators can use either 8 lanes of 50G or 4 lanes of 100G for various form factors like OSFP and QSFP-DD. This innovative optical transceiver design allows up to 400 Gbit/s Ethernet data transmission over multiwavelength or parallel fibers.

However, multilevel modulation leads to greater analysis complexity. No worries though – advanced tools such as PAM4 eye diagram histograms and pre-emphasis and equalization capabilities come to the rescue!

Here’s a handy chart breaking down distance, fiber mode, designation, and number of fibers requirements for both 200G and 400G.

Here's a handy chart breaking down distance, fiber mode, designation, and number of fibers requirements for both 200G and 400G.

The Benefits of 400G network:

  1. Increased Bandwidth: 400G Ethernet boosts data transfer rates like never before, allowing for quicker data transmission and paving the way for more efficient network operations.
  2. Mighty Scalability: With 400G Ethernet, organizations can handle larger amounts of data traffic and accommodate the growing demands of bandwidth-intensive applications. It provides scalability for future network growth and supports the increasing data requirements of modern businesses.
  3. Cost-Smart: Investing in 400G Ethernet infrastructure might cost more upfront, but it pays off in the long run. Merge multiple lower-speed connections into a single 400G link, cutting down cable, port, and power expenses for a wallet-friendly operation.
  4. Maxed-Out Single Fiber Capacity: 400G Ethernet solutions pump up single fiber capacity using advanced modulation techniques like PAM4 (Pulse Amplitude Modulation 4). Transmit more data over a single fiber and kiss goodbye to additional physical infrastructure!
  5. Lean Power Consumption: Go green with energy-saving features in 400G Ethernet solutions that cut power consumption compared to older Ethernet standards. Save money and support sustainability at the same time.

Who are the vendors make 400G switches?

The traditional manufacturers of 400G switches include: Cisco, Arista Networks, Juniper Networks, Aruba, Nvidia……

Currently, numerous established companies offer mature 400G solutions, but they tend to be pricey. So, is there a more budget-friendly choice? Perhaps from white box switch manufacturers?

So,Who are the vendors make 400G white box switches?

Some of the noteworthy 400G white box switch manufacturers include : Asterfusion, Accton, UfiSpace, Edgecore Networks, Delta Networks, and Celestica.

Asterfusion CX732Q-N: the most power efficient 400G network switch on gloabal market

Asterfusion’s 400G network switch stands out in the market with its sleek design concept, unique heat dissipation mechanism, minimal redundant fans, and on-board BMC. This combination makes it the most energy-efficient 400G network switch available.

32×400Gb QSFP-DD Spine Low latency Switch
Asterfusion 32×400Gb QSFP-DD Spine Low latency Switch

For more Asterfusion 32*400G switch teardown: https://cloudswit.ch/blogs/asterfusion-sonic-based-32-x-400g-qsfp-dd-data-center-switch-overview-%ef%bf%bc/

Asterfusion 32 port 400G switch: the most cost-effective 400G Solution On market

Pre-installed with enterprise SONiC distribution, it boasts an enhanced feature set that outperforms the community version. Also, thanks to Marvell Teralynx 7 integration, this switch provides unmatched low latency functions. As an emerging sensation among white switch manufacturers, Asterfusion offers genuinely competitive prices. As mentioned earlier, their 32*400G switch options are some of the most cost-effective on the market!

Are You Prepared for the 400G Ethernet Revolution?

The rise of 400G Ethernet is an unstoppable force in today’s networking landscape. Accelerated by diverse market needs and cutting-edge technologies, its arrival has been swifter than any predecessors. Undoubtedly, 400G technology will continue to evolve, propelling the growth of both 400G Ethernet and its applications into the future. Get ready to embrace this exciting transformation!

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Asterfusion Networks is the leading provider of open networking infrastructure solutions. We provide an open, disaggregated, and highly programmable network fabric for next generation data centers and campus with white-box switching. 

For more information on Asterfusion’s products and solutions, please visit https://cloudswit.ch/. For sales inquiries, please send an email to [email protected]

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