New IEEE 802.3 group seeks consensus for next-generation Ethernet

The IEEE says it has formed the IEEE 802.3 Industry Connections Higher Speed Ethernet Consensus group, which it hopes will create a consensus that will drive standardization efforts in the future. To get the conversation started, the IEEE has released a report that predicts future Ethernet networks capacity demands.

Aug 21st, 2012

The IEEE says it has formed the IEEE 802.3 Industry Connections Higher Speed Ethernet Consensus group, which it hopes will create a consensus that will drive standardization efforts in the future. To get the conversation started, the IEEE has released a report that predicts future Ethernet networks capacity demands.

Ethernet specifications currently top out at 100-Gigabit Ethernet. There has been significant discussion within user and technology developer circles whether the next step in capacity progression should be 400 Gbps or 1 Tbps.

The findings of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment report should add urgency to the discussion. The report suggest that, based on current trends, networks will need to support 1 Tbps by 2015 and 10 Tbps by 2020.

“The IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment report offers a simple but meaningful explanation of the underlying forces that are driving the never-ending, global bandwidth explosion,” said Brad Smith, senior vice president and industry analyst with market research firm LightCounting.com. “The data from smartphones, tablets, PCs, and another 16 billion devices forecasted to be on the Internet by 2020 all flow through the wireless, CATV, and wired access points; through the metro, long-haul, and undersea networks; to a data-center server anywhere in the world. Add to this the dramatic increase in the use of live and streaming video, and the data traffic calculations become simply astronomical.

“The only way all these different devices are going to communicate with each other is via industry standards set by groups such as the IEEE,” Smith continues. “The ability to support this exponential rise in traffic will continue to pressure the entire Ethernet eco-system to continue to drive cost per bit downward, so that manufacturers, service providers and users can be offered cost-effective, standards-based solutions, products and services.”

“We continue to seek to streamline the early stages of work of potential future IEEE 802.3 Ethernet wireline standards-development activities,” said John D’Ambrosia, chair of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment Ad Hoc and IEEE 802.3 Industry Connections Higher Speed Ethernet Consensus group and chief Ethernet evangelist, CTO office, Dell. “The information gathered by the Bandwidth Assessment Ad Hoc demonstrates the ongoing, exponential bandwidth growth that is happening in varying application spaces on a global nature. The launch of the IEEE 802.3 Industry Connections Higher Speed Ethernet Consensus group will facilitate an open forum to explore the start beyond 100-Gbps Ethernet.”

The IEEE 802.3 Industry Connections Higher Speed Ethernet Consensus group will meet at the IEEE 802.3 Interim Meeting, scheduled for September 24-28, 2012 in Geneva.

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