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Catching the NBASE-T Wave: Apple, HPE Aruba Unveil New NBASE-T Products in Same Week

With summer just a few short weeks away, surf’s up at the NBASE-T Alliance as a growing number of companies catch the NBASE-T wave. In fact, when Apple iMac users go pro later this year, they’ll not only be getting more powerful processing and graphics capabilities, but will also have access to more powerful networking with the first-ever NBASE-T enabled all-in-one workstation for digital content creation, virtual reality, heavy engineering workloads, etc. This platform advances on several different fronts, enabling users to drive far more bandwidth across their networking infrastructure with a 10Gbs Ethernet port, which also supports NBASE-T for 2.5Gbs and 5Gbs link speeds.

Of course, these machines will not reach their full potential without the network behind them. Just as we recently demonstrated at the Interop ITX conference in Las Vegas last month, the availability of NBASE-T solutions addressing various markets continues to expand. That was proven again this week with HPE Aruba’s announcement of the new Aruba 2930M Series Switch. These Layer 3 access switches help enable the creation of digital workplaces optimized for mobile users and NBASE-T is incorporated into their HPE Smart Rate multi-gigabit Ethernet technology.

As workplaces and power users demand a more dynamic environment, hardware and software manufacturers must deliver solutions that support higher bandwidth across both wired and wireless networks. On the wireless side, this means the transition to multigigabit wireless. But the wired side—until now—has been a bit more complicated. Whereas before, most network access layers topped out at 1Gbps. NBASE-T technology provides the ability to leverage existing Cat 5e and Cat 6 cables to deliver speeds of up to 5Gbps. The new Apple workstation and Aruba switch join the ecosystem taking advantage of the NBASE-T opportunity.

“We believe the Apple iMac Pro announcement is an early indicator of a significant shift away from 1 Gbps and towards higher speeds in how we connect devices to the network,” said Alan Weckel, founder and technology analyst at 650 Group. “NBASE-T technology plays a critical role in this migration, and we’re excited to see the ecosystem expand beyond enterprise networking and WiFi Access Point connections.”

NBASE-T members (including HPE Aruba) laid a solid foundation for this shift when they came together over two years ago to define the technical aspects of the technology and build consensus around what would ultimately become a new IEEE standard—IEEE 802.3bz. With optimizations above and beyond that standard, the NBASE-T specification—implemented in the new products —provides the ideal vehicle for moving networks beyond 1Gbps—and we have our NBASE-T members to thank for that.

Can’t wait for the next NBASE-T wave. Grab your board.