High-Speed Ethernet Interoperability Plugfest Update

By David Rodgers • 4 min read



David J. Rodgers

Bob Dylan was never so prescient as with his iconic 1964 song “The Times They are A- Changin.”  Yet, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr is equally clairvoyant with his 19th century observation “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

The Ethernet community is on the edge of producing the first 100GbE/lane solutions and reaching a long-awaited milestone.  To think on this for a moment, it was less than 10 years ago when we were touting speed and efficiency over 1G, celebrating the 10GbE adoption, and crafting the 25GbE speed solutions.

All along the way the Ethernet Alliance has hosted Interoperability events, commonly known as plugfests, to verify these new designs and validate the specifications used to create new products and solutions.  These plugfest are an invaluable tool for the Ethernet community and one of the only options for vendors to test interoperability with other products before going to market.

The Ethernet Alliance has scheduled and produced many of these plugfests over the years in conjunction with the University of New Hampshire’s InterOperability Lab (UNH-IOL).  The member companies are always eager to meet and test out their latest product offerings and confirm the interoperability of Ethernet.

Unfortunately, the essence of Dylan and Karr have combined to delay the latest of these events – the High-Speed Networking (HSN) plugfest originally scheduled for early October 2021.

The planning for the plugfest has been robust and enthusiastic, with many Test and Measurement teams poised to prove out switch, NIC and interconnect products targeting the 100GbE market.  Unfortunately, the pandemic has again impacted the industry in many ways: “more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Our host, the UNH-IOL, is reintroducing strict Covid 19 protocols with the return of students and staff.  Several member companies have updated travel restrictions to protect employees, and many are still experiencing supply chain issues which could impact their ability to get their latest devices to the plugfest.  Even our colleagues with the IEEE802.3 workgroups have again virtualized upcoming November meetings.

So, the perfect storm of events has occurred causing the Ethernet Alliance to postpone this planned HSN plugfest until early 2022.  As always, our goal is to produce a robust and valuable plugfest experience which is meaningful for our members and the ecosystem.

Keep on the lookout for more news about the rescheduled HSN event, and for other featured interoperability functions we host. Hope to see you in person soon!

For more information about interoperability plugfests, please contact the Ethernet Alliance at: info@ethernetalliance.org.

David Rodgers

Test and Measurement (T&M) professional


David J. Rodgers is a seasoned Test and Measurement (T&M) professional with wide-ranging experience in serial communications protocol and interconnect validation, and a focus on Ethernet network and Fibre Channel fabric solutions where he has been defining, designing, deploying and marketing a broad range of high-speed serial analysis T&M products for SANs and LANs. David has 35+ years industry experience in bringing new computer technologies to market with a wide-ranging background in business, program management and product development of serial protocol T&M solutions. He is an original member of the USB Implementers Forum and one of the pioneer marketers of USB protocol analyzers. David represents EXFO for high-speed interconnect test technologies including Ethernet and Fibre Channel in various protocol industry groups such as IEEE, T10/T11 standards bodies, the Ethernet Alliance and the Fibre Channel Industry Association.

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