Ethernet Alliance

Ethernet Alliance Blog

OFC/NFOEC – Real Technology, Real Deployment

By Ethernet Alliance

John D’Ambrosia, Ethernet Alliance Chairman, Chief Ethernet Evangelist, CTO Office, Dell

On June 13, 2002, IEEE Std 802.3ae-2002TM, otherwise known as the 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) standard, was ratified. Shortly after the ratification of this standard, the industry saw a new generation of networking and the explosion of the Gigabit Ethernet market.  These networking technologies helped fuel the likes of companies such as Google and Facebook, and the mass deployment of Gigabit Ethernet servers arguably set the bar for what the Ethernet industry identifies as a successful standard.

Since that time, multiple standards targeting various 10GbE physical layer specifications like 10GBASE-CX4, 10GBASE-KX4, 10GBASE-KR, 10GBASE-LRM, and 10GBASE-T, have been introduced. Then in June 2010 IEEE Std 802.3ba-2010TM introduced 40GbE and 100GbE to the industry. However, the next wave of networking fueled by wide scale deployment of 10GbE servers has not happened. 

This is about to change, as Intel’s Romley server platform with 10G LOM is set to drive wide-scale adoption of 10GbE. Yet, this expectation and the relative newness of 40GbE and 100GbE have the market asking whether 40GbE and 100GbE is set to go. Is the technology real? Is it interoperable?

Answering these questions is the part of the mission of the Ethernet Alliance, which has organized various interoperability plugfests and demonstrations since 2010. One such example is the interoperability plugfest held in June 2011, which successfully demonstrated the interoperability between various 40GbE and 100GbE systems and technologies. Other examples include the 10GbE and 40GbE Interoperability demonstrations at SuperComputing 2010 and 2011. All of these prove that 40GbE and 100GbE technologies are indeed viable.

The industry is anticipating that in 2012, the wide-scale deployment of servers based on 10GbE will start but ultimately, this deployment will be dependent upon 40GbE and 100GbE, which will be used to aggregate 10GbE-based servers. The Ethernet Alliance understands the importance of 40GbE and 100GbE as it approaches OFC/NFOEC.  The industry needs to understand that 40GbE and 100GbE are not just paper specifications, but are real technologies for real deployment today.  Visit the Ethernet Alliance in OFC/NFOEC booth 724 and see for yourself.

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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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TEF Q&A – Ramanujam Rao, Nationwide Insurance

By Ethernet Alliance

What points will you be discussing during your panel at the TEF?

My talk will be primarily focused on things that have progressed from R&D and are quite real in the things we are doing today in our data centers.

We are currently in the process of building a brand new data center that, to add to our currently functioning data centers, that will help us scale to serve our growing customer needs. While we will have a state-of-the art data center, we’d like to achieve three other major goals.

  1. Reduce our operating costs and the complexity of our infrastructure and  hardware footprint by actively adopting .  Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) as the core foundation of how we design our network architecture  blending network and data on the same physical media.
  2. Allow easy provisioning, seamless extensibility and scalability  across all of our data centers, to facilitate optimum usage of all available capacity using emerging technologies to extend our layer 2 networks between operating facilities.
  3. Improve our energy efficiency posture and green footprint by aspiring for LEED Gold standards, and adopting efficient cooling technologies and data center rack layouts.

What challenges do you face building your new data center?

Our Tier II data center, primarily used for DR and testing purposes, was built decades ago and as time passed the location is not ideal considering the expected growth and future reliability needs. The initial sense of urgency has given way to a feeling of opportunity to build a data center that is much more efficient, cost effective and scalable.

With our stated objective of ensuring that we utilize the capacity of all our data centers, and to realize better DR planning and utilization spikes, we plan to run our datacenters in a active-active configuration where applications run live in two of the data centers, with each facility having the necessary capacity to run 100% of the application workload However the configuration comes at the price of network latency, and will be a large factor in  driving decisions about location, network design etc.

Size and scale of data centers are also an overriding issue. Ideally, for both location and capacity, we would want to plan in such a way that there is enough room to grow and sustain for forseeable future without getting constrained by real-estate or utilities.

With the growing cost of energy, managing energy and real-estate costs are another set of overarching concern we have to consider.

What is Ethernet’s role in your planning?

The adoption of recent advances in ethernet-based technologies  form the backbone of planning and developing of our datacenters. The datacenter will support 10G, but can scale to 40G and beyond in future. Given we have the opportunity to build everything from scratch, we are more than eager to use ethernet standards and implementations, such as Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), virtual Port Channel, Next Gen Layer2 and OTV. We expect that the merger of network and storage protocols on a single fabric combined with the advances in virtual networks will provide capabilities that we can exploit today and in the future. Since new builds are generally less painful than in-place upgrades, our remaining challenge will be the upgrade of the infrastructure of our existing Tier IV facility to bring its capabilities in line with our new data center.  Organizationally, today’s world is very real-time and transactional in nature, which is why we are building an active/active data center.

We deliberate extensively on the impact of “Cloud” on the design and architecture of our data centers. While it will continue to evolve and drive some of our decisions, however, cloud implementations for us is less an infrastructure architecture issue and more of enterprise process issue. The challenges of implementation of private or hybrid clouds do impact from our network architecture choices, but the processes we adopt surrounding industry regulatory constraints, privacy issues and liability issues, are bigger catalysts to the posture take to architect anything different for Cloud.

How are you improving energy efficiency in the new data center?

We are hoping to build our new data center in a way that enables us to achieve the LEED Gold Standard. While we are environmentally conscious, we also want to recognize the economic benefits of adopting efficient data center technologies . We are incorporating air-side economizers as well as the use of hot-aisle containment to more efficiently cool our data center hall. Additionally, on-site backup diesel storage will allow us to operate for several days in the absence of grid power.

Adopting industry energy efficient standards also results in a gamut of improvements in all aspects of structural developments from insulation standards to material reuse   that will add up to substantial cost efficiency. Our data center is currently being built to a 10G Ethernet standard and it is scalable as new bandwidth standards emerge. All of the technologies involved in the data center offer some form of energy conservation, which provides us with functional value as well as energy savings.

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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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TODD ROTH TEF 2012 Q&A

By Ethernet Alliance

Todd Roth is Vice President of Technology for Harris Corporation, an international communications and information technology company serving government and commercial markets in more than 150 countries. As part of Harris’ Broadcast Communications group, he is responsible for incorporating and leveraging critical enabling technologies, including Ethernet.

Q: What is, in your opinion, the biggest connectivity challenge the broadcast communications industry faces today?

TR: There are a number of challenges that we face on a day-to-day basis, such as signal timing and deterministic performance of media, but it comes down to clearly communicating the advantages and benefits of a given technology choice to our customers.

Signal timing and deterministic performance of media are some of the most difficult things to address when moving from a non-buffered discrete coaxial cable to an IP media stream, particularly when you take into account QoS provisions. In transitioning to an IP-based environment, there needs to be a certain amount of provisioning at varying levels. Right now, we’re achieving this by bridging between the coax and IP environments, but the true challenge will be to eliminate the coax environment entirely, rather than having to rely on this bridging process.

This is not a new idea – conceptually, the idea of migrating broadcast signals from discrete coaxial to packetized IP has been around since Gigabit Ethernet was introduced. Adoption however has been slow, mostly due to inertia in the industry in terms of workflows, how people do things, and legacy issues, preserving existing infrastructure. It takes awhile to effect change. There’s a lot of education that needs to take place in order to alert customers that IP is a good thing. It’s a little bit of a catching-up thing for an industry that has been held back as much by its own legacy as technological issues.

Q: If educating others is critical to your business, then what is the one thing you want the people behind Ethernet to know or to hear about?

TR: It has to be compatibility and ease-of-use. There’s something intrinsically easy about having devices with dedicated “inputs” and “outputs”, installing a new piece of equipment is as simple and quick as connecting an output to an input to have it work correctly. It’s sort of like the plug-and-play model; when you’re setting up a TV at home, you just have to plug the cables in. But if you’ve ever configured anything with an Ethernet cord, it’s not the same experience. You need some form of console, or user interface, you have to know about IP addressing, you have to get your device to work with the router…there’s a certain amount of complexity that you have to deal with, and when things don’t work, it’s very difficult to troubleshoot.

Take for example, my Xbox. Microsoft wants the Xbox to be a media hub for the home, so one of the things it does is to allow you to access a home computer and play back media from that computer. It took me quite some time to get my Xbox to work because of a firewall issue. I wasn’t sure where the failure was occurring – I didn’t know if it was my router, my PC, Windows networking or the console itself. It was difficult to troubleshoot the situation, and I’m a highly skilled guy. Even the basic troubleshooting skill of isolating an issue to hardware, software or configuration is compounded when networking issues are added.

If a similar issue was to occur in a broadcast facility, where business and revenue are on the line, and it took them an abnormally long amount of time to solve, it would be a big problem. Broadcasting is a 24 by 7 on-air operation. Engineers and system architects love, and are willing to pay for, redundancy. However this doesn’t translate easily into a networked IP environment, where failures can cascade across even seemingly redundant systems. Everyone can see the benefits such as cost saving and increased flexibility of networked IP infrastructure, but they have to be able to realize those benefits without undue amounts of pain. The gap between what “theoretically” should work and what “practically” does work needs to be eliminated.

Q: What’s some of the biggest impacts of content on server connectivity?

TR: For broadcast media, there’s a lot of concern about how media is being protected, and whether it’s too easy to steal. There are media security and rights, as well as network and resource access aspects to this issue. We need to make our data more secure but not so much that it’s difficult to get to. A lot of this is being addressed of at consumer level and in-home implementations; less so inside the professional broadcast facility. Traditionally, there has not been lot of risk management principles being applied to the media itself. Security often means secured access to a given file or tape, however, if your content is being routed and delivered over a networked infrastructure, you have to have more built-in security features because digital theft becomes much easier. Someone from outside the country can now steal an asset that could before only been stolen by someone inside the building. Network configuration, VPN’s, provisioning, access and management are critical issues, and all have impact on workflow, accessibility and overall system reliability

Q: What is the one thing you have to say about Ethernet as a technology today?

TR: Right now, the industry tends to look at networking media and the management of networking as entirely separate applications. There are a lot of tools out there for managing and provisioning, but they need to be more tightly embedded into the overall solution. Having an engineer come out to set up the switch, then a security expert come out and set up the security…it’s inefficient. There are too many experts and specializations required to implement and manage networks today. We need to see more of a plug-and-play model.

Microsoft’s Windows 7 made big advances over previous versions in terms of networking – it’s way more intuitive than it was before. That type of intuitiveness needs to span any device that has an IP connection. You simply can’t have a situation where every manufacturer, device and application, does it a little bit differently. By the way, my XBOX – PC issue turned out to be a problem between Windows Media Center and the Windows 7 Firewall. Greater standardization would help alleviate this problem, but as this example shows, getting there is going to be difficult. In the long run though, interoperability is a primary barrier to Ethernet adoption.

Q: What other challenges would you like to see addressed across the Ethernet ecosystem?

TR: From the technical side QoS issues need to be addressed, either as dedicated “virtual” circuits or in some other manner where it is easy to see and manage how one device or application connects to another. I believe there should be a certain amount of self-discovery and self-awareness between devices that can connect together. Anything on a given segment or domain must be able to understand what else is on the network, what it can “connect” to and what the rules are for provisioning such a circuit. For example, if you have a network delivering video in real-time and somewhere else someone decides to run a browser while yet somewhere else a scheduled process begins a backup, it must not interfere with the video stream. We need to see greater coexistence. There also needs to be a better, more accurate way of knowing exactly what’s happening on a network, and not requiring someone with a master’s degree in order to do so.

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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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Here Come the End Users

By Ethernet Alliance

 

The Ethernet Alliance is proud to bring a cadre of end users together at the upcoming End Users Speak! Technology Exploration Forum (TEF).  While past TEFs were mainly deep dives into emerging technologies, this TEF – the 5th – has a different perspective as it seeks to gather input regarding the needs from the end-user community.  This TEF is a bridge to people who are deploying the technology today and planning for the future. 

Leveraging their years of contacts, Manoj Wadekar of QLogic and John D’Ambrosia of Dell brought together a variety of end users to talk about their Ethernet needs now and in the future.  From those individuals interested in the physical layers to those interested in protocols.  From carriers to data centers, these individuals represent a diverse array of applications and perspectives that are brought together in one event.

The end users will talk in three panels and four keynotes described below:

  1. Ethernet in Future Data Centers – Ramanujam Rao of Nationwide Insurance, Fred Hartley of Chevron and Matt Estes of Walt Disney – moderated by Robert Hays of Intel
  2. Ethernet and the Heart of the Internet – Martin Pels of AMS-IX, Shamim Akhtar of Comcast, Jay Behrens of Frontier Communications – hosted by Brad Smith of Lightcounting
  3. Keynote of Jeremy Stinson of My Yearbook
  4. The Role of Power in Networks – Bruce Nordman of Lawrence Berkely National Laboratories, Una Song of the Environmental Protection Agency and Bob Felderman of Google – moderated by Mike Bennet of LBNL
  5. Keynote by Parantap Lahiri of Microsoft
  6. Broadcast’s Bandwidth Demands by Todd Roth of Harris
  7. The IEEE and Ethernet’s Future – Paul Nikolich – YAS Broadband Ventures and Chair of IEEE 802

The importance of this event and the potential it offers goes beyond the speakers.  Some of the speakers have already written Q&A about their Ethernet needs and the results can be found here: http://ethernetalliance.org/blog/

In the Q&A, Paul Nikolich wrote:

Other opportunities include expanding Ethernet into automotive applications.  The global automotive industry has begun to deploy Ethernet into vehicles. Application examples include vehicle control (brakes, suspension, transmission, ECU, etc.) and infotainment. 

Also, consider moving beyond today’s RJ-45 connector common to networking.  Smaller Ethernet connections for handheld consumer devices, such as mobile telephones, could open up a new world of applications.  Imagine how these worlds could collide.  People could connect their mobile phones to their car’s network to gain access to all the automobiles resources, and at the same time be recharging their phone’s battery using Power-over-Ethernet.  The car could even become part of someone’s business network, too.

Michael Bennett wrote:

A conservative estimate that was made said that about $450 million a year in energy savings could be achieved once the market was completely saturated with 802.3az (Energy Efficient Ethernet) devices. We won’t know how close the forecast is for years to come.

From power consumption to new applications like Ethernet in automobiles, the End Users Speak! TEF will spend the day exploring the needs of Ethernet.  We hope that you can make the event and learn even more by talking to these end users.  Sign up for this rare and intimate opportunity at:

http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07e5fpnzr7fab7a9a2&llr=iejgf4bab

While supporting existing and developing Ethernet standards is an important part of the Ethernet Alliance’s mission, so is supporting consensus building within the industry.  Take advantage of this great opportunity to come and participate in the discussion regarding the future of Ethernet.  I hope to see you there!

Scott Kipp

President 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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TEF Q&A – Bruce Nordman, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

By Ethernet Alliance

What will end users want to hear about during your panel?

As an “energy person”, I am mindful that the biggest driver for people being concerned about energy is saving money. While other goals often get people’s attention, it’s the money savings that usually ultimately dominate how they make decisions. This is okay, because there is a huge amount you can do that saves money and energy at the same time.

In addition, one problem that persists when it comes to energy is the lack of good information, at the local and macro levels. I want to speak about both of those. At the macro level, we did a study, which I believe is the only national study of energy use of IP network equipment. I’ll show some of the results during the panel.

People often focus their interest on devices at the core of the network that are the largest physically and the most power intensive. There is actually much more energy used at the edge of the network because even though each device uses less energy, there are so many more of them. So, if we want to save energy, we really need to focus most of our attention at the edge. That said, those devices tend to be less exciting because they are more pedestrian.

How is the problem at the edge being addressed?

There are two parts to this.  First is energy used by the network itself, such as Ethernet.  Later I’ll get to energy use of entire devices on the network.

The Ethernet community developed the Energy Efficient Ethernet standard between 2006 and 2010. Today, both components and full products that use the technology are on the market. However, I want to ask people attending the forum about what visibility they have concerning how fast EEE is being rolled out, because I don’t have data on that.

Are people looking for EEE devices?

Some end users will look for them and buy them. But if the standard quickly penetrates the market, most people will get it without specifically looking for it. And that is where we want it to go — we want it to be the default. But it would be good to know how much EEE is being deployed in rough numbers. That would help us figure out how much energy savings are occurring from EEE. Coming up with some figures will help make sure that the savings don’t go unnoticed

Why do you want it to get attention?

People need to understand that we can turn the direction of technology in ways that save energy but do not compromise functionality and see that we can do the same thing in other contexts, not necessarily just Ethernet. I also want it to become something that people expect, not something they have to make a special effort to get.

How was it possible to come up with something that was ubiquitous enough to cover all of these devices? Was Energy Efficient Ethernet the key?

The EEE standard enabled the Ethernet components in devices to use less power. It doesn’t allow the rest of the devices to save power, but there are a lot of other things you can do to devices to make them more efficient that are independent of the Ethernet part. Lots of things are being done — power supplies and basic integrated circuit technology and more. Without the EEE standard, though, you couldn’t reduce Ethernet power very much — you can only do that through the standard. And once we get it fully deployed, my estimate is that the energy savings in the U.S. will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

What else will you discuss at the panel discussion?

At the very local level, anyone with a building, be it residential or commercial, typically does not know where the energy goes. Electronic devices offer the potential to track their own energy use and report it over the network. Ethernet is a prime carrier of that information.

On the theme of reporting and making visible energy usage information, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is working on a standard that enables a future in which every device can tell the network how much energy it is using. I will talk about that and two other topic areas.

Another topic is there growing use of Ethernet in audio/visual (AV) devices. I’d like to ask attendees where they see that going in the future with regard to televisions and other AV devices.

Any other topics?

The topic I might spend the most time on is power distribution over what I call a “nanogrid”. Power over Ethernet allows you to manage how power is distributed among devices as opposed to the traditional grid in which power distribution is usually uncontrolled.

Within buildings we are creating these small nanogrids of power distribution and we have the possibility to connect with each other, and with local sources of electricity or storage. This enables us to do things with power distribution that we could not previously do and it delivers value that Smart Grid cannot. The take away for end users is that in the coming five to 10 years, they will have new ways to power devices in buildings and enjoy a variety of advantages. The question for the audience will be where do they think the future of energy and power distribution is going, and what role Ethernet might play in that.

What do you think will happen?

Even though I’m an energy person, I think that energy is overrated as a reason why people adopt technologies. For example, mobile phones and notebook computers are vastly more energy efficient than things that do similar stuff that must be plugged into the wall. However, mobile phones and notebooks were developed for portability, not to save energy. There is a lot of energy efficiency in electronics inside those devices, but the energy savings was just a nice side benefit.

It is the same with power distribution. It is the convenience, reliability and savings on wiring costs and flexibility that will lead people to choose alternative ways of distributing power such as with nanogrids. They will enable some energy savings, but that will not be the primary reason why they are adopted. And I think one of the problems with Smart Grid is few people are interested in watching their electricity meters. It’s only interesting if you can bundle saving energy with things people value more, such as added security or more convenience. Then you can actually get their attention.

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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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TEF Q&A – Una Song, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

By Ethernet Alliance

What are you looking to accomplish at the Technology Exploration Forum?

When it comes to small network equipment (SNE), there are a lot of products that are deployed on an annual basis, and the great majority of these have Ethernet ports.  From an Energy Star program perspective, we see an opportunity to improve energy use in many of these devices.  I am speaking at the TEF to raise awareness of this opportunity for the Ethernet industry.

What kinds of devices offer the best opportunities?

Small network devices tend to be on all of the time – I’m talking about things like modems or optical networking terminals that are associated with fiber optic systems, routers, and wireless systems – but their power usually doesn’t scale up or down according to when they are being used.  While individually these products don’t use a lot of energy, the EPA is interested in developing specification for them because there are a large number deployed annually and there is an opportunity for them to be more energy efficient.

We have found that with connected devices such as these, there is an opportunity to save energy at every endpoint. However, the products need to work together to accomplish that end.  Energy Efficient Ethernet is a great example of this. If we encourage its presence in small network equipment, there’s the potential for savings in both the small network equipment and what is connected to it. SNE is uniquely positioned to enable this opportunity for energy savings in the networked home or small office.

How can the Ethernet Alliance be of help?

The Ethernet Alliance supports Ethernet’s growth and expansion into new areas. Understanding Ethernet’s potential for use outside the data center or home office can open up a lot of new opportunities and activities for energy savings.

We would very much appreciate being directed towards other areas and products that we can include in the the Energy Star program. The Ethernet Alliance and others at the TEF are very likely to help us identify other products that are a part of this ecosystem. 

In addition, EPA is always open to input and data on product energy use which helps us better understand the market and the opportunities for energy efficiency. 

What kinds of network equipment do you label currently?

The ENERGY STAR program today covers networked products (end point devices) – products like displays, imaging equipment, computers. Small network equipment is an opportunity for the program to cover network devices directly.

We realize that the number and types of products connected to networks is growing and we’re working to identify which types of products have the opportunity for increased energy efficiency. EPA welcomes feedback on other areas that could contribute additional savings.

What new areas are you targeting right now?

The next specification we will be launching is large network equipment.  We are still investigating the impact a specification for large network equipment can have but expect to begin the specification development process some time this year.  In addition, we are also evaluating whether to develop a specification for femtocells and interactive white boards.  We don’t yet have enough information to say whether the program will develop specifications for these products.

Ideas for new product categories come from a variety of sources.  We leverage our established relationships with manufacturers, the efficiency community, non-governmental organizations and other industry stakeholders to identify potential product categories to include in the program.  We reach out to individual partners or receive suggestions from others industry stakeholders in addition to doing research on our own.  

Could you describe the process of identifying the best opportunities?

When evaluating new products or revising specifications for existing products, EPA takes into account six guiding principles:

1.      Significant energy savings that can be realized on a national basis.  For example, there may not be a lot of a particular products sold, but there may be a large opportunity for energy savings on an individual product basis.  Or, there may be products that save a relatively small amount per product but they’re sold in large enough volumes that they have the potential to save a lot of energy nationwide.

2.      Product performance can be maintained or enhanced with increased energy efficiency.

3.      People who purchase a labeled product can recover their investment in reasonable period of time.

4.      Energy-efficiency can be achieved through one or more technologies such that qualifying products are broadly available and offered by more than one manufacturer.

5.      Product energy consumption and performance can be measured and verified with testing.

6.      Product labeling differentiates products and is visible to consumers.

These are not hard and fast rules, but guiding principles.

What about Ethernet energy savings?

To achieve savings through the use of Energy-Efficient Ethernet (IEEE802.3az), both network equipment and end points that are deployed will need to adhere to the same standards.  When fully deployed, savings for the U.S. are estimated to be in the hundreds of $million/year.  Energy Star can serve to help accelerate its deployment and so gain those savings earlier than otherwise.

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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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The Improved Ethernet Alliance – Scott Kipp, Ethernet Alliance President

By Ethernet Alliance

        

Welcome to the new Ethernet Alliance website.  We’re continually improving the website and the way that we operate. Here’s a list of what we’ve done or are going to do soon:

  1. We’ve added a Newsroom to the home page. Check out www.ethernetalliance.org and scroll down to see how we have a list of the most recent articles, press releases, videos and whitepapers.
  2. The End Users Speak! TEF – On February 16th, the latest Technology Exploration Forum (TEF) focuses on end users.  From entertainment industry executives to mega-data center builders, the end users will tell us about their needs in Santa Clara, CA.
  3. Created the University of Ethernet webinar series. This new series of webinars will begin with Ethernet 102: The Physical Layer of Ethernet on February 28th.  Frank Yang of Commscope and I will be presenting a primer on the physical layer of Ethernet from 10BASE-T to 100GBASE-LR4.  
  4. New Blogs – The Ethernet Alliance wants to communicate with the world about Ethernet and the latest developments in Ethernet standards.  Scott Kipp and John D’Ambrosia will write regular blogs with collectively about 1 post/week.
  5. Hosting the January IEEE 802.3 Interim Meeting – The Ethernet Alliance hosted the interim IEEE meeting last week in Newport Beach, CA!  Many people got breaks from the cold weather and got to bask in the sun on short breaks from the intense meetings.
  6. OFC demo of Higher Speed Ethernet: From the Cloud to the Data Center.  The Ethernet Alliance is going to demonstrate 10/40/100GbE connectivity between data centers and cloud service providers.

Besides these new initiatives, the Ethernet Alliance is supporting our traditional activities like promoting interoperability at conferences and hosting interoperability events with UNH Interoperability Labs.  The Ethernet Alliance is expanding beyond its base and providing more value to its members as well as the customers of our members – everyone who uses Ethernet. 

Focus the Ethernet Alliance on the users of Ethernet is not very limiting, so we’d like to hear from you about what you’re interested in seeing delivered.  Please tell us what type of content that you want the Ethernet Alliance to provide in the comments section of this blog. The Ethernet Alliance needs your input to guide us in the right direction.  Just tell us that you want to hear about and we’ll try and address the topic in blogs, webinars or a new forum. 

One part of new Ethernet Alliance is to keep you better informed about all of the work that we are doing.  We would love to keep you informed about these changes, so please do the following to get in the loop:

  1. Sign up for our monthly Ethernet Alliance newsletter
  2. Read our blogs
  3. Give feedback to our blogs
  4. Watch a webinar at the University of Ethernet
  5. Surf our website

You might ask, What’s your point?

My point is that the Ethernet Alliance is changing to support the Ethernet industry that is going through profound change.  Ethernet is changing and being deployed on a scale and depth that has never been seen.  The Ethernet Alliance wants to help you understand these changes, so we’re changing to do that better than ever before.

That’s my point!

Scott Kipp

President 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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TEF Q&A – Paul Nikolich, Chair IEEE 802; Chief Strategy Officer, YAS Broadband Ventures

By Ethernet Alliance

What most interests you about this Technology Exploration Forum?

TEF 2012 will provide the Ethernet industry ecosystem, and standards development organizations, with end-user input on their evolving requirements for Ethernet in their particular applications. I’d like to hear whether the end-user community feels like the vendors are supplying solutions to the particular problems they are experiencing and examine how standards activity can help facilitate solutions for them. 

Does IEEE 802 actively obtain end-user requirements and engage end users in its process?

One of the operating characteristics of 802 is that the standards development process is open to the entire Ethernet eco-system, including end users, system vendors, chip suppliers, and others. Participation by all stakeholders in the 802 process ensures that any given standard we produce will be relevant from an end-user perspective.

By including the traditional Ethernet end users in our activities, as well as telecommunications and Internet service providers, we’re better able to understand the end users’ requirements today, and develop an understanding of how their requirements are likely to develop over time.

What is the roadmap for IEEE 802?

Instead of asking what the roadmap is, a better question is what should the roadmap be? A forum like TEF 2012 provides myself and members of the IEEE 802 community with an opportunity to better determine what the roadmap should look like based on end-user input. However, it should be realized that the development activities for Ethernet are dynamic and adaptive—as needs and drivers change, so do the scope and purpose of projects flowing through 802.

What new opportunities for Ethernet do you see?

In Ethernet’s traditional 802.3 space, the Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment Ad Hoc is assessing the future bandwidth needs of Ethernet.  In addition to this, activities are underway to expand the EPON protocol onto existing coaxial distribution networks.  This is especially important to cable operators that want to provide Ethernet over coaxial cable rather than pull fiber all the way to the home.

Other opportunities include expanding Ethernet into automotivel applications.  The global automotive industry has begun to deploy Ethernet into vehicles. Application examples include vehicle control (brakes, suspension, transmission, ECU, etc.) and infotainment. 

Also, consider moving beyond today’s RJ-45 connector common to networking.  Smaller Ethernet connections for handheld consumer devices, such as mobile telephones, could open up a new world of applications.  Imagine how these worlds could collide.  People could connect their mobile phones to their car’s network to gain access to all the automobiles resources, and at the same time be  recharging their phone’s battery using Power-over-Ethernet.  The car could even become part of someone’s business network, too.

Ethernet may also have great potential for use in industrial applications and the energy industry. These applications will require 802 to work with other organizations to help create complete standards solutions for the issues they face, such as energy efficiency. Ethernet could be part of the ecosystem that provides better overall solutions.

In addition, there are various types of relationships with industry organizations, such as the Ethernet Alliance, WiFi Alliance, and the WiMax Forum. Each of these organizations collect input from their end user communities and may formulate their own technology roadmaps. These viewpoints can have an impact on industry consensus of what specific markets need from IEEE 802.  That in turn spawns our interest in specific areas, some of which become projects – 60 Ghz, TV White Space, Smart Grid, and IMT-Advanced, for example.

What role does 802.3 play in end-to-end networked applications?

There are certain verticals, such as those we just discussed, that have particular end-to-end requirements from which Ethernet requirements can be derived. We need to work with those verticals and the groups that develop the end-to-end specifications in order to better understand how they apply in each market.

Their number one question is going to be, “Is there an organization that has identified network requirements for our particular application?” Therefore, we need to identify the groups that are developing those requirements and make sure that the 802 community is aware of them. IEEE 802 is an open group and we welcome and encourage input from everyone who has an interest in finding out more about how Ethernet can best serve them.

 

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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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