Ethernet Alliance

Ethernet Alliance Blog

“Toward Standardized 25 Gigabit Ethernet” by Mark Nowell, Cisco Systems, in Network Computing

By Ethernet Alliance

Standardization of IEEE 25 Gigabit per second Ethernet (25 GbE) is underway on multiple fronts, and Mark Nowell, vice president of the Ethernet Alliance board of directors and senior director of engineering in Cisco Systems’ data center team, writes about the progress and its drivers in Network Computing.

Because development of many technological components enabling 25 GbE were developed, and because important efforts to explore its technical feasibility and future interoperability had already taken place, Mark writes, standardization in this space of innovation has been rapidly paced.

Mark details the synergistic roles of two recently ratified standards:IEEE 802.3by™, IEEE Standard for Ethernet Amendment: Media Access Control Parameters, Physical Layers and Management Parameters for 25 Gb/s Operation (http://standards.ieee.org/develop/project/802.3by.html), and IEEE 802.3bq™, IEEE Standard for Ethernet Amendment: Physical Layer and Management Parameters for 25 Gb/s and 40 Gb/s Operation, Types 25GBASE-T and 40GBASE-T (http://standards.ieee.org/develop/project/802.3bq.html). In addition, he notes, new development of additional IEEE standards for 25 GbE is underway, such as work around supporting additional single-mode fiber reaches for 25 GbE. Because no single cabling configuration would be suitable for every single potential 25 GbE deployment, so standards-development work around 25 GbE has been predicated on the need for flexibility.

“With the standards work around 25 GbE, the entire physical layer—from electrical to optics, from millimeter to kilometer and all media and distances in between—will be aligned in terms of lane counts,” he writes, anticipating adoption across diverse spaces including data centers, the campus/enterprise and wireless backhaul.

To help advance the industry as a whole, the Ethernet Alliance works to facilitate the open exchange of ideas and dialogue. Look to the Ethernet Alliance for more articles like Mark’s in Network Computing, which help illuminate the continued success and advancement of Ethernet technologies.

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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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2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps Ethernet Goes Mainstream

By Peter Jones

Peter Jones, NBASE-T Alliance Chairman

It always amazes me how new innovations keep propelling our industry forward.  Less than two years ago when the NBASE-T Alliance was founded, there was no easy way to take advantage of rapidly improving Wi-Fi bandwidth that we could see coming with IEEE 802.11ac™ Wave2 and yet today, that technology is within our reach.  In September, we expect IEEE will be ratifying the new IEEE P802.3bz™ standard for 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps Ethernet and, as you may have seen in this press release today, the Ethernet Alliance and the NBASE-T Alliance have partnered to help accelerate deployment of products by hosting a joint plugfest event for October 2016 to showcase multi-vendor interoperability.

On behalf of the NBASE-T Alliance, I am looking forward to seeing the great things we can accomplish working with the Ethernet Alliance. I believe it will enable us to drive mainstream deployment of 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps Ethernet technology.  With the technology maturing as fast as it has, this partnership is important for so many reasons. 

First, I believe this is the most significant Ethernet market transition since the 1000BASE-T standard was completed back in 1999.  1000BASE-T has become massively successful, to the point where it’s close to ubiquitous.  The Ethernet Alliance’s mission is to promote IEEE 802™ Ethernet technologies and, since we have many of the same members and share similar goals in this area, it makes perfect sense to work together. 

Secondly, the market opportunity is significant and our two Alliances can do a better job working cooperatively.  We are so fortunate to be able to leverage the massive infrastructure of installed base Category 5e and 6 already in place for NBASE-T technology.  The fact that the industry can get to 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps Ethernet speed without having to rebuild the network is huge.  The last we checked, we had 70 billion meters of cabling and 1.3 billion outlets already installed. This is an enormous asset that we can get more value from. Working with the Ethernet Alliance lets us tell this message to more people in more places.

Upcoming Joint Plugfest

As I mentioned above, plans are well underway for our first joint plugfest.  This is being organized by both the Ethernet Alliance and NBASE-T Alliance and will take place the week of October 10th at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) in Durham, NH.  We both want to accelerate deployment of 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps Ethernet products, and everyone knows that the best way to do that is to get multi-vendor interoperability rock solid. That means we need to get the industry together for events like the plugfest.  I want to personally thank Ethernet Alliance for their help in this event, which demonstrates a key part of their mission of establishing and proving multi-vendor interoperability for new Ethernet technologies.

The interoperability testing in this event will be another major milestone towards the broad commercialization of NBASE-T and IEEE P802.3bz products.  There is already strong support for the plugfest event so get in touch with morgan@ethernetalliance.org or admin@nbaset.org quickly if you want to be involved.

What’s Next?

As we complete the transition from standard definition to standards deployment, there is still much work in rolling this technology out to the broad community currently using 1000BASE-T.  The good news is that supporting 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps Ethernet will enable deployment of the higher-performing Wi-Fi capabilities rolling out from major vendors.  This enables new capabilities throughout the industry by providing the increased bandwidth that we so desperately need, and not just for Wi-Fi access points.   This technology is already available, and as usage spreads, the world can take advantage of it wherever and however they please.  Innovation never stops moving in our industry, and it’s exciting to work with you on this next big change.

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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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