A 40G switch generally refers to the data speeds of the ports feeding into the switch. Hence, a 40 Gb/s has 40 Gb/s ports. The overall switching capacity of the 40 Gb/s switch will be much higher depending on the total number of ports and the power of the switching fabric itself.
Data networking technology has increased regulary with technological gains in electronics, chips, and cabling. 40 Gb/s switches are now hitting their most rapid growth, achieving wide adoption in data center markets with performance, sandwiched between 10 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s switches.
Why Is An 40Gb Switch Important
These days, labeling a switch as 10Gb/s, 40Gb/s, or 100Gb/s offers common reference point. Typically, networking switches are using standard Ethernet technology. Ethernet emerged as the dominant networking standard in the mid 1990s and since then, the progression in data rates has been predictable and comforting to the industry, because entire product lines in the supply chains, including cables, port interfaces, and chips can be built on a development cycle. This development cycle has generally followed the cadence of Moore’s Law – an engineering term that refers to the power of computing chips doubling approximately every two years for the same economic price.
Since the mid-1990s, Ethernet and switching technology has proceeded with predictably with regularly bandwidth of the port interfaces. 10Base-T, or 10 Mb/s Ethernet, was popular in the mid-1990s, followed by 100 Mb/s Ethernet, 1 Gb/s Ethernet, 10 Gb/s Ethernet, etc. The chart below shows the development of Ethernet speeds is largely driven by computing power and total server capacity, as networking bandwidth is needed to connect computing devices.
There are other technologies operating at 40 Gb/s speeds, such as passive optical networking (PON) or storage technologies such as Fibre Channel. These technologies may use different protocols than Ethernet, but they are often used for specific applications. Ethernet still makes up the bulk of the 40G
The 40G Switch in the Sweetspot
In 2015, 40G switch hit the sweet-spot of market demand and growth. They were favored for data center applications, which is the fastest growing segment of the market. In addition, the market has moved from 10G to 40G and 40G now represents the fastest growing segment.
According to Infonetics Research in early 2015, 40G has been popular in the data-center market while 100G is more popular with service providers. Infonetics said in a press release that “40G is taking over from 10G as the new high-growth market segment.” It said that 40GE port shipments more than doubled year-over-year in 3Q14, with growth especially strong in the white box market.