Ethernet Alliance

Ethernet Alliance Blog

Reflections On Interop 2012

By Chauncey Schwartz

Well, we certainly had a great chance to discuss Ethernet and the Ethernet Alliance at Interop 2012. By the end of the expo, we had more than 500 people visit our booth – some even came back for more information or to discuss new questions that had come up in their minds. All in all, Interop proved to be a terrific opportunity for stimulating both new and ongoing discussions about the future of Ethernet.

One particular area of interest was the new cabling that was displayed at the exhibit. We heard many questions relating to length, as well as receiving lots of queries about when will the next generation of cable be available, what is 10GBASE-T, and how will the technology be used. Another popular discussion topic among visitors to the Ethernet Alliance booth was our demonstration of 10Gbps Ethernet aggregating to 40Gbps Ethernet before being transferred to the cloud. The idea that these capabilities are now available from multiple vendors who are able to provide solutions generated a lot of thought-provoking questions like, “When do I use 40Gbps?” and “Why is it a preferred speed for sending/receiving data to/from the cloud?” “Where will 10GBASE-T best fit into the data center?” was also a common question.

The Ethernet Alliance team spent a great deal of time explaining its role as a marketing communication organization that is working very hard to improve the knowledge of Ethernet and Ethernet improvements within the community at large.  Many visitors to the Ethernet Alliance booth were quite interested to hear about our ongoing webinars that are keeping everyone informed on the status of Ethernet and new standards as they evolve. It was very rewarding to be able to help educate Interop attendees, and have an open dialog that left them with some new ideas about how to more fully leverage Ethernet in their data centers.

Thank you to our participating Ethernet Alliance member companies, our on-site staff, and Interop 2012 show organizers, each of whom helped make this event a rousing success.

Chauncey Schwartz II

Chairman, Marketing Subcommittee, Ethernet Alliance


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.


10G Driving 40G and 100G to the Clouds at OFC

By Scott Kipp

The Ethernet Alliance has a huge booth (724) at OFC/NFOEC from March 6-8th and we’re filling it with some great technology and exhibits.  The theme of the booth is “High Speed Ethernet: From the Cloud to the Data Center” and we’re showing the latest 10 Gigabit Etherent (10GbE), 40GbE and 100GbE technologies.  Here’s a sample of what’s on display:

  • 100G to the Cloud – the demonstration shows how a data center connects to a cloud service provider over 100G connectivity with 100GBASE-LR4, 100GBASE-SR10 and 100G OTN.
  • 100G Optical Transport Network – The Ethernet Alliance is showcasing a 100G OTN connection that can span hundreds of kilometers between a data center and a cloud service provider.
  • Second Generation 100GBASE-LR4 modules – This is the only place at OFC that is demonstrating these lower cost 100GBASE-LR4 modules that use directly modulated lasers to 10km reaches.
  • 100G Traffic Generators – Two traffic generators are creating up to 100Gbps of traffic and sending it from data centers to the cloud.
  • 40GbE Switching – One data center has 40GbE connectivity between servers and switches.
  • 4x10GbE Uplinks to the Cloud – 40GbE QSFP ports are often broken out into 4x10GbE and we demonstrate this connectivity with octopus breakout cables.
  • Ethernet Fabrics – Top-of-rack switches overcome the limitations of the Spanning Tree Protocol to form a 10GbE fabric.
  • Past, Present and Future of Ethernet Optics – Posters highlights the evolution of Ethernet (and the optics that enabled it) over the decades and into the future.
  • Live painting demonstration –  Joyce Poisson will paint data centers connecting to clouds via rainbows of light on the afternoons of the Tuesday March 6th and Wednesday March 7th.
  • Panel on “Next-Gen 100GbE Optics  “ – Kapil Shikhande will host a panel of experts on Ethernet switching, optical transceivers and optical markets on March 7th at 1-2pm in the Expo Theater II (614)
  • Panel on “From Gigabit to Terabit Ethernet” – I will host a set of presentations from the largest selling optics vendor, switch vendor and Internet traffic provider on March 7th at 2-3pm in the Expo Theater II (614)
  • Static demonstration of Ethernet-base wireless antennas, 100GbE switching blades and optical cabling

The booth will also feature a café with plenty of tables and chairs for hanging out and talking about the latest lasers at OFC. We’ve really knocked ourselves out to create the largest demonstration that the Ethernet Alliance has ever put together.  Please stop by our booth that is located near the concession stands on the far left of the entrance. 

Kind regards,

Scott Kipp

President of the Ethernet Alliance


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.


Technology Exploration Forum Q&A With John D’Ambrosia

By John D'Ambrosia


What is the Technology Exploration Forum (TEF)?

The TEFs are an ongoing series of forums sponsored by the Ethernet Alliance to enable industry discussion and consensus building on various topics. The Ethernet Alliance organizes a TEF when we see the need for members of the Ethernet ecosystem to come together and communicate with each other about the continuing evolution of Ethernet and its potential impact on Ethernet standards and technology.

How will the upcoming TEF on Thursday, February 16, differ from past meetings?

This will be our sixth TEF. It is the first time that the agenda of the day is focusing solely on the end-user perspective. We are inviting CTO’s and other high-level end users to fully participate in the forum. The Ethernet industry has developed a great deal of technology over the last 10 years, and we want to get their perspective on how Ethernet can do a better job for them and their networks. This TEF will basically be a brainstorming session about what end users need and when they need it. Details about “The End Users Speak!” are available on the event page.

What key issues and concerns do you expect to discuss?

We are going into this TEF with no expectations other than focusing on the conversations taking place that day. There are always discussions going on between end users and their suppliers about various topics, such as increasing bandwidth, interoperability, and the need for low cost solutions. These conversations, however, need to happen at an industry level. This TEF will give everyone that has a vested interest in Ethernet’s evolution an opportunity to explore the exact nature of end users’ needs and discuss how to move forward, which might mean identifying needs for new standards and technologies.

What topics will be covered at the TEF?

We have 14 of the Ethernet industry’s best and brightest speakers that will offer up-to-the-minute information and their own Ethernet expertise and experience to attendees. The TEF will begin with a panel discussion on Ethernet in Future Data Centers. Speakers include Rao Ramanujam of Nationwide Insurance, Hartley Fred of Chevron and Matt Estes of Walt Disney.

The second panel will focus on Ethernet and the Heart of the Internet with Martin Pels of Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX), Shamim Akhtar of Comcast and Jay Behrens of Frontier Communications. We are very fortunate to have Andy Bach of the NYSE Euronext delivering the keynote address at lunch to discuss the future of Ethernet and its ability to address his network demands. His talk will be followed by a panel addressing The Role of Power in Networks with Mike Bennett of LBNL, Una Song of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Bob Feldman of Google.

The Forum will close with talks from two speakers. Todd Roth of Harris will discuss Ethernet’s role in entertainment. Paul Nikolich, of YAS Broadband Ventures and Chair of IEEE 802 LAN MAN Sponsor Committee, will present a talk on The IEEE and Ethernet’s Future.

This is going to be an exciting and informative TEF. The Ethernet Alliance has always received positive feedback on these events. Everyone who attends will be very pleased that they made time for this event in their busy schedules.

Why are TEFs important?

This is very simple – these events enable the industry as a whole to gather and have an open and frank discussion on Ethernet and its future. Such conversations improve the industry’s focus on technology and standards development efforts. It also is important that all of the stakeholders in the Ethernet ecosystem participate in these discussions in order to enable the best solutions.   


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.


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 Furthermore, in February 2012 it will host its next Technology Exploration Forum – “The End Users Speak!”  For more details see 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.


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.