IEEE-USA weighs in on Ethernet over fiber

March 7, 2003-- Federal, state, and local government policymakers in the United States should ensure that Ethernet networks over fiber infrastructures be given a fair marketplace opportunity to prove their value in accelerating advanced broadband deployment, according to an IEEE-USA position adopted by the organization's board of directors last month in Dallas.

Mar 7th, 2003

March 7, 2003-- Federal, state, and local government policymakers in the United States should ensure that Ethernet networks over fiber infrastructures be given a fair marketplace opportunity to prove their value in accelerating advanced broadband deployment, according to an IEEE-USA position adopted by the organization's board of directors last month in Dallas.

The IEEE-USA is concerned that scalable gigabit broadband networks, which can be changed in size or configuration to suit changing conditions, are not receiving serious consideration at policy levels in the United States, nor are they being rapidly deployed. This lack of scalability leaves the United States behind other countries, which recognize that rapidly deploying broadband communications networks offers the potential to enhance a nation's productivity, homeland security, and international competitiveness, according to the group.

The IEEE-USA believes a move toward optical Ethernet will help to realize the convergence of video, voice, and data services. The group points out that Gigabit Ethernet infrastructures offer over 1,000 times as much bandwidth as current DSL and cable broadband networks. A transfer of data taking 15.5 minutes on DSL (at 8.5 Mbits/sec) takes just eight seconds with Gigabit Ethernet over fiber networks. Speed like that will allow businesses to operate far more efficiently, according to IEEE-USA.

"Of the several technology options we studied, we judge this combination to be among the strongest candidates for immediate and rapid deployment of advanced broadband networks," IEEE-USA Vice President for Technology Policy Activities Ralph Wyndrum said. "We recommend that Ethernet networks over fiber infrastructures fill the gap among technologies that are already included in the national debate -- DSL, cable-modem, and wireless applications."

The organization's position grew out of an international broadband workshop held in June 2002, and subsequent discussion and analyses by technology, policy, and economics experts. These meetings established that technological and economic potential exists for accelerating broadband deployment through Ethernet networks capable of gigabit speeds, especially those complemented by compatible wireless technologies. For the entire position statement, go to www.ieeeusa.org/FORUM/POSITIONS/broadband.html.

IEEE-USA is an organizational unit of The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers created in 1973 to promote the careers and public-policy interests of the more than 235,000 electrical, electronics, computer, and software engineers who are U.S. members of the IEEE.

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