It's that time of year again when the Christmas music plays endlessly from every speaker within earshot, people start to heading home for the holidays, and a team at Siemens sets a record for (and I quote) "electrical processing of data through a fiber-optic cable."
According the article I read at CNET News.com, the cats at Siemens (in cooperation with a few German and one Dutch centers of learning) were able to process 107 gigabits per second.
That's pretty darn fast.
I'm mean...really fast.
<cough> This technology's application in real-world networks is likely years away (that is of course if Siemens can deliver on the proto-type they mention they'll have in a few years time), but the good news is we've built a ton of new functionality into the networking functionality of Windows Vista and Windows Server "Longhorn".
A few that will help make the use of such high-speed networks possible, include the hardware offload functionality (TCP Chimney Offload, et al) and the new auto-scaling algorithms.
Why are these things important to take advantage of high/warp speed networking? Well, it's about removing potential bottlenecks in the communication path. For example, having the ability to provide full protocol, stateful offload of say, TCP communications, will relieve the host's CPUs of the stress of processing packets instead of driving an application. At multiple gigabit speeds, just the simple NIC interrupts could cause the CPU to run hot and slow down overall system performance.
Next, having the ability to tune, dynamically, such TCP parameters as the Receive Windows size helps increase throughput on long, but fat network pipes.
Of course, we'll now need to pass the blocknecking buck off to the file system and those spinning arrays of disks. Hopefully higher speed (or solid state) storage will also launch around the same time to ensure those "roughly two full DVDs per second" potential throughput doesn't sit starved for data to send through these fast network pipes.