40 Gigabit Ethernet

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What Does 40 Gigabit Ethernet Mean?

40 Gigabit Ethernet (40GbE) is an Ethernet standard which allows for frame transfers at a speed of 40 gigabits per second (Gbps). This standard is usually intended for connecting local servers only, rather than being used for the Internet backbone which requires the more robust 100 Gigabit Ethernet (100GbE) standard.

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It uses Quad Small Form Factor Pluggable (QSFFP) cabling, which uses a high-density fiber connector that has 12 strands of fiber. 40GbE, together with 100GbE, were the works of the IEE Higher Speed Study.

Techopedia Explains 40 Gigabit Ethernet

The 40 Gigabit Ethernet standard was developed with the 100GbE standard in 2007 for the purpose of increasing available bandwidth, while ensuring compatibility with the current interfaces and network management principles. It was also a solution for the increased working distance requirements of applications. The standards were approved in 2010.

According to the IEEE Higher Speed Study Group, both standards are meant to fulfill the following objectives:

  • Preserving the existing 802.3 frame format either in minimum or maximum size

  • Supporting applications which requires more bandwidth

  • Supporting high-speed switching, routing and application functions for data centers

  • Exhibiting bit error rates of 10-12 or better

  • Providing support for optical transport networks

  • Providing the specifics for operations over specific fibers, cables and backplanes

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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.