Ethernet Alliance

Ethernet Alliance Blog

It’s Always an Exciting Time for Ethernet

By John D'Ambrosia

Technologies developed over the past several years are finding their way into the market.  10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE) is the next big step in server interconnect technology, as products based on optical and copper SFP+ implementations to blade servers to 10GBASE-T are being continuously introduced. Such deployments are enabled by and will drive the need for 40 Gigabit Ethernet (40 GbE) and 100 Gigabit Ethernet (100 GbE) aggregation and core solutions. These interconnect products, enabled by Data Center Bridging, will drive network convergence in the data center. 10GEPON is being successfully deployed in access networks to support bandwidth intensive applications, like IPTV or video-on-demand. Energy Efficient Ethernet is being introduced to enable energy savings in networks. POE+ is enabling a whole new range of applications such as outdoor network cameras and thin clients. And let’s not forget all of the work going on to demonstrate the interoperability of various optical modules and cables.  

2011 has also seen the launch of new efforts. The first effort is the IEEE P802.3bj 100 Gb/s Backplane and Copper Cable Task Force. The Task Force, approved in September, will be specifying 100 GbE operation across backplanes and copper cables using a 4-lane architecture. In September, the Next Generation 100 Gb/s Optical Ethernet Study Group and the Extended EPON Study Group was formed. Also, coming up in November there will a meeting between the IEEE 802.1 and IEEE 802.3 Working Groups to discuss packet transmission pre-emption, which could be used in industrial and automotive applications, among others, as well as a  “Call for Interest” on using the EPON protocol over existing coaxial distribution networks. Finally, the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment Ad hoc has been working all year on doing an industry bandwidth assessment, in order to understand future industry bandwidth requirements.

It’s always an exciting time for Ethernet, and all of the activities described above are opportunities for the Ethernet Alliance. Some may ask, “Why does Ethernet need a marketing alliance?” I suggest that those individuals review the previous two paragraphs. Look at the diversity of the solutions described. Consider the range of applications.  The Ethernet Alliance plays a valuable role in the industry, as it helps raise industry awareness on the various Ethernet solutions and potential applications, but consider the true hallmark of Ethernet – multi-vendor interoperability. People expect Ethernet to just work when they plug it in. That is the confidence the industry has in Ethernet. This is a testament to the strength of the IEEE standards process. However, such confidence doesn’t just happen. The value that the Ethernet Alliance provides by organizing the various interoperability demonstrations for the various Ethernet technologies cannot be overstated. 

The Ethernet Alliance is also looking to support the continuing development of Ethernet. In January it will host the IEEE 802.3 Interim Meeting. For more details see http://grouper.ieee.org/groups/802/3/interims/index.html. Furthermore, in February 2012 it will host its next Technology Exploration Forum – “The End Users Speak!”  For more details see http://ethernetalliance.org/event/tef-2012-the-end-user-speaks-2/. This event will bring together Ethernet’s users to have an open discussion on what they see as their needs for Ethernet in their networks. Facilitating discussion and industry consensus is another key activity supported by the Ethernet Alliance.

All of these efforts require individuals – volunteers – to make them happen. With that said, I would like to thank our outgoing President, Jim Theodoras of ADVA Optical Networking, for his efforts on behalf of the organization. Jim has been tireless as the Ethernet Alliance President, and no words can adequately describe his contribution. I would also like to welcome our incoming President, Scott Kipp of Brocade. Scott steps into this position of President with a wealth of experience, ideas, and energy. 

In 2012, keep your eyes open. 

John D’Ambrosia, Dell
Chair, Ethernet Alliance Board of Directors

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely that of the individual(s) and should not be considered the views or positions of the Ethernet Alliance.

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely that of the individual(s) and should not be considered the views or positions of the Ethernet Alliance.

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Five Minutes With Scott G. Kipp

By Ethernet Alliance

In October 2011, the Ethernet Alliance named Scott G. Kipp, Senior Technologist at Brocade Communications Systems, as its new President, succeeding outgoing President, Jim Theodoras, of ADVA Optical Networking. With solid successes in the development of next-generation Ethernet technology development and an acclaimed author, Scott is ideally suited to the challenge of leading the industry’s premier Ethernet advocate.

Q: Who is Scott G. Kipp?

A: I’m pleased to be able to say that I’m the new president of the Ethernet Alliance, as well as a Senior Technologist at Brocade, where I specialize in high-speed fiber optic technology. My manager likes to call me the “Laser Guy”. I’m an active participant in a wide range of physical layer standards, such as IEEE, ANSI, OIF, MSAs, and the IETF. I am a published author of multiple books, standards, and manuscripts focusing on broadband and fiber optic technologies.

Q: So why Ethernet? What makes it such a critical technology in today’s modern communications web?

A: Ethernet is the networking technology for the ages – it’s everywhere. For more than thirty years, it has served as a foundational networking technology for over a billion computers around the world. It’s a ubiquitous, standard for local area networks, and as emerging applications push the innovation boundary, you’d be hard-pressed to find one that doesn’t leverage Ethernet somewhere along the line. It’s truly the network technology of choice.

Q: What do you feel are some of the most notable Ethernet achievements?

A: The Internet is probably Ethernet’s most obvious triumph – every server that delivers content to the Internet is networked via Ethernet. With Ethernet’s continued evolution, society is now moving into a new level of interconnectedness that’s built solidly upon the Ethernet ecosystem. Think about some of the most disruptive applications that have become a permanent part of today’s technology mosaic – Facebook, Twitter, Skype – those technologies are served up via Ethernet.

Q: What’s next, then? Where does the future of Ethernet lie?

A: It has such a huge future that it’s hard to express the full scope of where Ethernet will be in 20, 10, or even just five years. The Visual Networking Index predicts that in 2015, we’ll see about a Zettabyte of information running across the Internet – that’s about a billion terabytes.  The networking world is entering the ZB era – the storage world is already there according to the Digital Universe Study. 

I have trouble imagining networks and numbers of this scale, but consider if a million people are streaming high definition movies to televisions with over-the-top video services like Netflix at 5 Mbps, then that’s 5 Terabits/second right there. The insatiable bandwidth demands from consumers is what is driving the Internet’s growth today and will do so for at least a few more years. We’re going to need more links at higher speed and we’re expecting 400 Gigabit Ethernet or Terabit Ethernet to be the next speed or speeds. Parallel optics will be stepping stones to tomorrow’s generation of Ethernet speeds.

Q: Are you excited about your new position as Ethernet Alliance President?

A: Extremely. Jim Theodoras left me some very big shoes to fill, however, I’m thrilled that the Board of Directors asked me to take on the leadership of such a vibrant, dynamic organization. I’m looking forward to continuing the outstanding work already begun.

Q: What will your top priorities be in your new role?

A: I think one of the most important tasks set before us is to help educate the Ethernet industry about the diverse array of technologies that are in development, and the new applications – and in turn, new opportunities – they will enable. One of the first initiatives we’ll be undertaking is the launch of our new “University of Ethernet” webinar series. It’s a truly end-to-end program offering in-depth, practical learning opportunities, beginning with foundational Ethernet technologies and stretching out to next-generation applications, like parallel optics, terabit Ethernet, and beyond.

Q: So tell the truth: Ethernet is your life, right?

A: That makes me sound a little nerdy, don’t you think? But yes, I truly believe in the promise that Ethernet offers to business, industry, consumers, and the world at large. I do have a life outside of Ethernet though.  A couple of years ago, my wife and I sold our house, bought an RV and began traveling around the U.S. full time.  Most of the fellow RVers we met were retirees, but I was working full-time in the RV’s second bedroom. We wintered in New Orleans the year the Saints won the Super Bowl and I went to my first Mardi Gras; now we’re in sunny California.

What’s amazing is that I probably couldn’t have done this five years ago because the technology wasn’t there. Now, with cloud applications like my email, Skype, and webmeetings, I connect with my colleagues over the Internet. All of this is dependent on Ethernet; if I didn’t have Ethernet, I simply couldn’t live the life that I do.

 The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely that of the individual(s) and should not be considered the views or positions of the Ethernet Alliance.

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The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely that of the individual(s) and should not be considered the views or positions of the Ethernet Alliance.

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