IEEE group settles on faster Ethernet plans

A group has agreed to pursue an IEEE standard for both 40-gigabit and 100-gigabit Ethernet

A technical group working on the next generation of Ethernet has agreed to disagree and will now work on a single standard that covers both 40G bps (bit-per-second) and 100G bps speeds.

The Higher Speed Study Group (HSSG), part of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), made the decision last week at its meeting in San Francisco after months of debate between backers of the two speeds. If the IEEE approves the move late this year as expected, a standard may be completed by mid-2010, said John D'Ambrosia, chair of the HSSG.

Ethernet has sped up by a multiple of ten several times, from 10M bps to 100M bps and ultimately from 1G bps to 10G bps, the current fastest version. Some HSSG members backed a similar boost this time and that 100G bps plan appeared to have won out late last year. But others pushed for a 40G bps standard.

Different applications were at the heart of the disagreement, according to D'Ambrosia. The need for speed is growing everywhere, but at different rates. While the data output of servers doubles roughly every 24 months, the amount of traffic on carrier networks is doubling every 18 months, according to D'Ambrosia. Members more interested in faster server-to-switch applications pushed for a 40G bps goal, while those aiming at network aggregation and backbones favored 100G bps. The higher speed means more expensive and power-hungry equipment.

"I wouldn't say there was a fight. I would say there was an education going on and it got heated at times," D'Ambrosia said.

Now a single standard, to be called IEEE 802.3ba, will include specifications for both speeds. Each will offer a selection of physical interfaces: There will be specifications for 40G bps links up to 1 meter long for switch backplanes, 10 meters for copper cable and 100 meters for multimode fiber. For 100G bps, the group will standardize 10-meter copper links, 100-meter multimode fiber links and 10-kilometer and 40-kilometer distances on single-mode fiber.

It's the first time an Ethernet standards task group has pursued two speeds in one standard, according to D'Ambrosia. "One size doesn't fit all, in this case," he said.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?