Ethernet in First Mile reaches milestone

More than 100 members of the IEEE 802.3ah EFM Task Force reached consensus on a complete set of baseline technical proposals during a July IEEE 802 meeting in Vancouver, Canada. This will provide the first draft of the Ethernet in the First Mile standard.

Adoption is the third major milestone in EFM IEEE standardisation. Past milestones include the formation of a Study Group in November 2000 and approval of a Project Authorisation Request in Q3/2001.

"This milestone marks significant consensus on critical issues and puts us on a path for the first draft of the specification to be completed in September 2002," said Bruce Tolley, VP of Technology for the Ethernet in the First Mile Alliance (EFMA) and manager of emerging technologies for Cisco's Gigabit Systems Business Unit. "A successful standard process will be the key driving factor in the development of low-cost, interoperable Ethernet broadband access equipment from multiple vendors, and will enable the deployment of Ethernet broadband services in public subscriber networks."

The EFM draft standard will encompass all technical elements necessary for broadband Ethernet, including: Physical Layer specifications for operation over copper, fibre point-to-point, fibre point-to-multi-point, and a common mechanism for operation administration and maintenance (OAM), enabling deployment of broadband services to both business and residential users. The Task Force also agreed to widen the EFM application space by introducing a long-reach objective for copper access in response to strong demand from major service providers. "We have now laid the foundation for a comprehensive EFM standard," said Task Force chairman Howard Frazier.

Since November 2000, more than 200 individuals from over 80 companies have participated in the IEEE study group, which in September 2001formally became the IEEE 802.3ah EFM Task Force, chartered with developing the IEEE EFM standard and a part of the IEEE 802.3 Working Group responsible for the development of all Ethernet standards.

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