IEEE ratifies 10-GbE standard

Sept. 1, 2002


The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) Standards Board approved the work of the 802.3ae Task Force by ratifying the 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10-GbE) standard in June. Representing more than three years of work, the IEEE planned publication of the standard for July. The standard documents the groundbreaking work forged by the combined efforts of many engineers from many companies.

The task force overcame significant hurdles to reach the milestone. The last major challenge was developing practical, yet sufficiently robust, test methods to ensure interoperability between different vendors' components. Final adjustments took an additional three months beyond the originally targeted completion date. But considering the complex nature of the issues, the standard represents a significant accomplishment.

Seven solutions
The 10-GbE standard specifies seven solutions on a variety of fiber types. 10GBase-S uses 850-nm serial optics to support 300 m on new 50-micron laser-optimized multimode fiber (MMF) adopted by IEEE and defined in TIA-492AAAC. 10GBase-LX4 uses four wavelengths near 1300 nm to support 300 m on FDDI-grade MMF with mode-conditioning patch cords or 10 km on sin glemode fiber (SMF). On SMF ex clusively, 10GBase-L at 1310 nm supports 10 km, while 10GBase-E at 1550 nm supports 40 km.

Dispersion-unshifted SMF (IEC type B1.1) and low water peak SMF (B1.3) support all singlemode solutions. Type B4 (nonzero dispersion-shifted) SMF with positive dispersion also supports 10GBase-E. LX4 supports only LAN data format, while serial solutions can support either LAN or WAN (OC-192-compatible) formats.

The standard's completion and multivendor interoperability demonstrations at recent industry events like NetWorld+Interop in Las Vegas in May and SuperComm in Atlanta in June were likely to bolster end-user confidence to plan and install 10-

Gigabit Ethernet in enterprise backbones, data centers, and server farms. And it is likely that public-network operators will now deploy the technology over SONET/SDH or dark fiber.

Paul Kolesar is a distinguished member of the technical staff and represents OFS (Holmdel, NJ) on several standards committees. He can be reached at tel: 732-888-7181, fax: 732-888-7074, or [email protected].