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Efficient and flexible use of bandwidth is the key to optimizing traffic flow for any communication channel, and so for Ethernet. FlexE (Flex Ethernet) is a standard developed by the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF) that allows for efficient and flexible use of Ethernet bandwidth. It enables the aggregation of multiple different bandwidths, such as 100G, 50G, and 25G, into a single logical channel known as a FlexE channel. This allows for more efficient use of network resources and easier management of bandwidth.
FlexE allows the creation of customized bandwidth profiles to meet the specific needs of different applications. For example, a service provider may use FlexE to offer different bandwidth options to its customers, such as a 100G channel for a data center and a 50G channel for a financial services company.
Another vital application of FlexE is in the area of transport network segmentation. This divides a transport network into smaller, more manageable segments to improve network efficiency and scalability. FlexE allows for creating multiple virtual networks over a single physical infrastructure, making it possible to segment a transport network into different virtual networks for various applications or customers.
FlexE allows optimum use of Ethernet bandwidth by enabling the aggregation of different bandwidths, such as 100G, 50G, and 25G, into a single logical channel, a FlexE channel. This is accomplished using techniques called:
FlexE dissociates the client from the actual interface or server to perform the above capabilities and introduces a new Shim between the IEEE-defined MAC (Media Access Controller) and PCS (Physical Coding Sublayer) layer. It adds a new TDM (Time Division Multiplexing) frame structure using existing ethernet building blocks such as 66B encoding and O code order set.
FlexE is often implemented in software on top of existing transport equipment, such as optical transport network (OTN) switches or packet-optical transport systems (POTS). It can also be implemented in hardware in the form of FlexE-enabled network interface cards (NICs) or FlexE-enabled routers and switches.
“With Great Flexibility to the user comes great complexity for Engineers.”
OIF FlexE features Channelization/Bonding/Sub-Rating/Hybrid comes with,
It makes the design very complex and challenging for functional verification.
Cadence® Verification IP (VIP) for Flexible Ethernet (FlexE) provides a mature, competent compliance verification solution for the FlexE protocol stack incorporating bus functional model (BFM) and integrated protocol checkers and coverage. The VIP for FlexE is designed for easy integration in test benches at IP, system-on-chip (SoC), and system levels, helping reduce time to test, accelerate verification closure, and ensure end-product quality. The VIP for Ethernet FlexE is compatible with the industry-standard Universal Verification Methodology (UVM) and runs on all leading simulators. More details are available in the Ethernet Verification IP portfolio.