The Roles of IEEE/ITU/OIF in Defining 100G Transceiver Standards

May 12, 2016

Due to the ever-increasing demands for bandwidth and capacity, 100 Gigabit Ethernet with high speed and high capacity has been introduced in the optical transmission network. 100G transceiver, as one of the key components, should be standardized to meet the 100G ports. Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) are the main organizations that take charge of defining the 100G transceiver standards. So, how do they work well with others? The roles of IEEE, OIF and ITU standards in defining 100G transceiver will be introduced in this blog

IEEE, OIF and ITU Standards About 100G Transceiver

Before entering into the topic of this post, it is necessary to have a brief view of IEEE, ITU and OIF respectively.


As shown in the following figure, IEEE is formed by AIEE and IRE and has about 430,000 members in about 160 countries to advance technological innovation and excellence.

IEEE in 100G transceiver

In addition, IEEE performs its standards making and maintaining functions through the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA).



ITU, originally the International Telegraph Union, is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies. As shown in the following figure, the ITU comprises three sectors (ITU-R, ITU-T and ITU-D) and each sector manages a different aspect of the matters handled by the Union.

itu standards


ITU-R: ITU Telecommunication Radiocommunication Sector

ITU-T: ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector

ITU-D: ITU Telecommunication Development Sector

WTSA: World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly

WCIT: World Conference on International Telecommunications


As a non-profit organization founded in 1998, the OIF is responsible for promoting the development and deployment of interoperable computer networking products and services through implementation agreements for optical networking products, network processing elements, and component technologies.

OIF in 100G transceiver

The Roles of IEEE/ITU/OIF in Defining 100G Transceiver Standards

The following picture shows the most popular solution of 100G transceiver network, which is manly divided into 100G client-side, 100G frame mapping and 100G line-side. This is the basis of what roles IEEE, ITU and OIF play in 100G transmission.

100G transceiver network


ADC: analog-digital conversion

DSP: digital signal processing

As mentioned above, IEEE, ITU and OIF are responsible for 100G client-side, 100G frame mapping and 100G line-side respectively. To be specific, IEEE defines standards for client-side modules, ITU defines standards for frame mapping and OIF defines standard for line-side modules.


Why the modules used in the client-side and line-side should be defined separately? In fact, the performances of client-side modules and line-side modules are quite different due to the applications. For example, the client-side modules are usually hot-pluggable, cheap and with short transmission distance, while the line-side modules are not hot-pluggable, expensive and with long transmission distance. The following picture shows more details about client-side modules and line-side modules.



100G transceiver is an ideal way to provide greater bandwidth at a lower cost per bit. Thus, IEEE, ITU and OIF are all striving to formulate standards for 100G network. They play important roles in the fast and steady development of modern optical network, especially for optical transceivers.

Related Article: Understand 100G Transceivers Transmission Principles

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