Home Internet Facebook Building 100-Gigabit Ethernet Switch To Handle Video, Virtual Reality

Facebook Building 100-Gigabit Ethernet Switch To Handle Video, Virtual Reality

by onkar

Facebook's Wedge network switch

There are over one billion monthly active users on Facebook today. Among all those people are gigabytes and gigabytes worth of data being spread and shared exponentially all over the world.

Naturally, of course, those “information superhighways” between users could get clogged up and things would slow down. Not so, however, on Facebook’s latest networking innovations. Currently, Facebook is using 40-gigabit switches and is primed to trade those in for a new line of 100-gigabit networking switches soon.

The Silicon Valley-based company is going to need that upgrade, too. Besides Facebook hosting billions of its users’ photos, the social media company also hosts videos which are also set to autoplay, live feeds and now even 360-degree video. Multiply all of that by the number of users actively on the social media site at any given second, and a snowball of slowdown could ensue.

The company’s future 100-gigabit switches can process 3.2 terabits per second. From another perspective, that’s a gargantuan 3.2 million bits per second of data racing around the servers in Facebook’s data centers around the world. At that capacity, Facebook would barely hiccup handling all that data and we’d never notice.

A worthy observation, overall, is that Facebook isn’t just bragging about its technology but it’s also sharing it with the rest of the world. The hardware designs the company invented for the new switches will be available on the Open Compute Project, and the software running the switches called “FBOSS” will also be shared freely by Facebook.

The difference between Facebook and other networking hardware vendors such as Cisco is that Facebook loves to share its designs for free with the broader community. At the same time, its more advanced software is also developed to be compatible with those of competitors. In the end, open and free hardware and software, such as that made available by Facebook, could spell the end of traditional network vendors.

 Nonetheless, as long as Facebook can help lead the push for faster and more open networks, data should flow even more seamlessly around the world — the data would just have to go through Facebook first.

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