Skip to content Skip to footer

Reaping the benefits of 800GE

Image: Adobe Stock /

800GE (800 Gigabit Ethernet) is a new network benchmark for sustainability, performance and automation, says Julius Francis, Senior Director, Product Strategy, Wide Area Networking at Juniper Networks.

With internet traffic predicted to grow at a compound rate of 26% between 2021 and 2026, operators are evolving their network to cope with increasing volumes. In this context, the complexity of operating expanded network infrastructures is also rising, underscoring the need for simplified automation that can streamline operations and reduce human error. However, increased power consumption, and its associated costs and carbon emissions, can quickly spiral out of control. It’s essential to find operational savings wherever possible.

800GE routing solutions are emerging in the market, offering not only sustainability for environmentally conscious networking but also unparalleled performance and automation capabilities, ensuring superior experience. These aspects – performance, automation and sustainability – are critical for organisations aiming to meet the demands of modern network infrastructures efficiently. But what exactly is this technology, and how can organisations unlock its full potential?

800GE: An overview

800GE networking represents the next evolution in high-speed data transmission, offering double the bandwidth of 400GE solutions. It enables more efficient data flow, catering to the growing demands of data centres, AI workloads, metro aggregation, peering and core backbone networks. The technology inflection point includes significantly increased capacity, allowing network operators to manage more data with fewer nodes, thus optimising space and power usage.

Compared to 400G technology, 800GE provides a significant leap in network throughput and efficiency, addressing the bandwidth explosion in cloud data centres and WAN routing. While 400GE laid the groundwork for high-speed networking, versatile solutions that can handle both 400G and 800G take it a step further, focusing on sustainability by reducing the power and space per bit.

800GE networking will revolutionise the industry with three key tenets: sustainability, performance and automation.

Reaping the benefits

To fully enjoy the benefits of 800GE, outdated operational models must be left behind. 800GE solutions offer experience-first automation to transform the operational and end-user experience. These solutions support automation, whether from a vendor, homegrown tools or any standards-based automation. This provides model-driven automation as well as ease of planning for network changes to increase uptime and reduce maintenance costs.

In addition, the technology offers automated security features, including hardware and software attestation validation, as well as data security through line-rate encryption. For an additional layer of defence, operators can also integrate advanced security services.

With cutting-edge silicon technology, these platforms set the industry benchmark for port density and efficiencies, meeting increasing capacity and scaling demands. Whether supporting new or traditional use cases, in scale-up or scale-out architectures, 800GE solutions can meet operator needs.

With more efficiency and flexibility, customers can extend 400GE and 800GE capacity anywhere, not just in core and peering locations, but throughout the WAN and data centre. This can be used to address high capacity networking needs, providing maximum scale and performance to the network locations where throughput efficiency matters most.

Sustainability despite traffic volumes

800GE solutions must be designed for sustainability, echoing the growing need for environmentally conscious networking. However, emerging 800GE solutions must deliver sustainability efficiencies without compromising performance, ensuring unparalleled efficiency at scale. To ensure this technology has a minimal environmental impact, it should leverage silicon, system and software innovations to offer improved power efficiency for energy efficient networking. To boost sustainability through the whole system, the platform needs to leverage fewer and more efficient silicon chips. Another requirement is energy-efficient chassis design and power management to ensure that engines are powered down when not in use.

Underpinning sustainability in 800GE systems is automation, used for sustainable operations to improve system efficiencies and reduce total cost of ownership. Through 800GE networks, operators are not just adapting to the demands of capacity, but also redefining the future of networking. 800GE solutions remain at the vanguard of sustainability, performance and automation.

800GE in action

The technology is designed to support a range of use cases including service provider network operations, hyper-scaler cloud provider network operations and large enterprise data centre network operations.

For service providers, 800GE is used to enhance metro aggregation, peering and core backbone networks. This supports increasing demand for broadband, enterprise, video streaming and mobile data services. When used by service providers, 800GE can improve end-user experiences and even offer new services such as 5G, while optimising network efficiencies and assuring service quality.

When implemented by cloud provider network operators, 800GE can be used in data centres to interconnect server farms and storage systems and for Data Centre Interconnect (DCI). This setup supports cloud computing, storage services and large-scale online cloud services. These operators require ultra-high-speed networking to meet the explosive growth in cloud computing and storage demands.

In the case of large enterprises, 800GE can be used to support internal IT demands, cloud computing services and data-intensive workloads. These applications require robust, high-speed connections to efficiently transfer vast amounts of data within and across data centres, as well as campus and branch locations.

Networking for AI workloads

The relationship between 800GE and AI fundamentally revolves around meeting the networking requirements of AI training environments. These environments necessitate the interconnection of high-performance GPU clusters for processing large volumes of data for training workloads. A characteristic challenge in these environments is managing ‘elephant flows’, which are substantial, sustained data transfers, and reducing completion times. Efficiently handling these flows requires networking solutions that provide high throughput to move vast amounts of data effectively and securely.

With AI training environments in mind, emerging networking platforms are not just equipped with ports that can handle a large amount of data but also feature what’s called ‘high radix’ and ‘deep buffers’ to efficiently manage traffic across GPU clusters for training AI workloads.

‘High radix’ refers to the number of pathways in the network that data can take, allowing for more connections and thus helping to avoid traffic jams when data is sent across the network. ‘Deep buffers’ are like having a larger waiting room in a train station, providing space to hold data when the network is busy, preventing data from being dropped or delayed.

These features ensure that GPU clusters, which require fast, reliable networking to share and transfer huge volumes of data and complex instructions, consistently operate smoothly. The goal of these solutions is to achieve high throughput efficiencies, which means minimising delays (latency) and maximising the speed at which data is transferred, thereby reducing the time it takes to train AI models.

The next step

The growing capacity needs of video traffic, AI workload traffic and other burgeoning data demands are significant driving forces behind the current adoption of 400GE and the early interest in transitioning to 800GE technologies. With the digital landscape experiencing unprecedented growth in video content consumption, cloud-based services and AI-driven applications, networks are under immense pressure to support higher volumes of data at faster speeds. These demands are not just about handling current workloads but also preparing for future requirements as workload demands continue to evolve.

Picture of Julius Francis
Julius Francis
Julius Francis, Senior Director, Product Strategy, Wide Area Networking at Juniper Networks

You may also like

Stay In The Know

Get the Data Centre Review Newsletter direct to your inbox.