My journey on the Ethernet Highway

By John D’Ambrosia

Technology Uncategorized


I have had many roles in the Ethernet community.  I was that green-kid who showed up for his first meeting, not really sure what he was getting himself into.  I have been a secretary.  I have been a study group chair.  I have been a task force chair.  I have been all of these, but first and foremost I have been a participant in the tale of Ethernet.

And what a tale it has been.  Almost five years ago, I got the opportunity to ask Bob Metcalfe, the father of Ethernet, if he had seen this all those years ago, when he had written that famous memo.  In all honesty, I don’t remember what Bob’s answer was, but the reality is that I don’t believe anyone could have seen where Ethernet has gone.

And where has Ethernet gone?  Quite simply – everywhere!

So, forgive me this moment of reflection.  What a long strange journey it has been.

What does this have to do with anything?  Well, the truth is – I’m not totally sure.  It is supposed to be a blog about the Ethernet roadmap.    And maybe I shouldn’t be surprised?  Ethernet has gone and is going everywhere.  Developing this incarnation of the Ethernet roadmap was the most challenging story I have ever participated in trying to tell.  Why?  Because, frankly, as I said, Ethernet is going everywhere.

In my role as Ethernet Alliance Chairman, I must worry about a very diverse membership.  Members who care about Power-over-Ethernet to rates of operation ranging from 10 Mb/s to 400 Gb/s.  Application spaces ranging from mm to those spanning tens of kilometers.  Ethernet has expanded beyond its enterprise roots – automation, automobile, hyper-scale data centers, service provider connections, wireless back-haul, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!

And that is the point of the2018 Ethernet Alliance Ethernet Roadmap – Ethernet is going everywhere.  Before we ask ourselves – where is Ethernet going – maybe we need to ask ourselves – what road are we on?  I have joked that when talking about the Ethernet Roadmap – we might as well have been talking about the Ethernet highway system!

And that is the point – the Ethernet roadmap is the never-ending journey.  Ethernet will evolve and continue to serve the need of every application space that calls upon it.

John D’Ambrosia

Senior Principal Engineer


John D’Ambrosia is known in the industry for his efforts as Ethernet’s advocate.  In his role as a Senior Principal Engineer at Huawei, he participates in industry standards efforts that are driving Ethernet’s on-going evolution and its move to higher speeds.  Currently, he chairs the IEEE P802.3bs 400GbE Task Force, is a member of the IEEE 802 Executive Committee, and chairs the IEEE 802.3 Industry  Connections Next  Generation Enterprise / Data  Center /  Campus (ECDC) Ad  Hoc, a forum for exploring  new  ideas for  Ethernet  standards.  Previously, he chaired the IEEE 802.3ba Task Force that developed 40GbE and 100GbE.   He is the Chairman of the Ethernet Alliance, an organization dedicated to the promotion of all Ethernet technologies, and a popular blogger on Ethernet matters.   In 2013  D’Ambrosia was awarded the IEEE-SA 2013 Standards Medallion and was inducted into the Light Reading Hall of Fame.  His previous experience includes Dell, Force10 Networks, and Tyco Electronics.

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