What Makes A 100G Transceiver Standardized?

Updated on December 11, 2021

100G transceiver

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 Electronics Engineers (IEEE), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) are the main organizations that take charge of defining the 100G transceiver standards. The roles of IEEE, OIF, and ITU standards in defining 100G transceivers will be introduced in this blog.

Standards About 100G Transceiver: IEEE, OIF, and ITU

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

IEEE(Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

IEEE was formed by AIEE(American Institute of Electrical Engineers) and IRE(American Institute of Radio Engineer) in 1963 and has about 430,000 members in about 160 countries to advance technological innovation and excellence. In addition, IEEE performs its standards-making and maintaining functions through the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA).

ITU (International Telecommunication Union)

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 was formed in 1865 and was one of the 15 specialized agencies of the United Nations. Its membership includes 193 member states and around 700 public and private sectors.

OIF (Optical Internet Forum)

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 established the 100G Working Group in 2004 and the 400G Working Group in 2014.

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

The following picture shows the most popular solution of the 100G transceiver network, which is mainly 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.

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 standards 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.

Client-side modules are usually hot-swappable and are used for the external ports of optical transport networks (OTN). Although the transmission distance is short. But it can be used with G652 fiber optic cable or multimode fiber optic cable and is cheap.

While the line-side module is not hot-swappable. Among them, WDM, polarization multiplexing, coherent modulation, and other technologies are widely used. Although it has a large capacity and long transmission distance, it is expensive.


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 networks. They play important roles in the fast and steady development of modern optical networks, especially for optical transceivers.

Related Article: Understand 100G Transceivers Transmission Principles


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


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