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Everything is Awesome at Interop

By Peter Jones, NBASE-T Alliance Chairman and Principal Engineer, Cisco

“It’s like Legoland for adults!”

It’s not often an interoperability demo gets compared to something like Legoland, but that was an actual quote from visitors to our NBASE-T Alliance booth at the recent Interop show in Las Vegas.  With the multitude of live demos we were showcasing, and the overwhelming positive feedback on the technology and its proven capabilities, I really liked the analogy.

We utilized every bit of our 20x 20 space to feature real use cases for NBASE-T products from 12 member companies:  Aquantia, Aukua Systems, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, Cisco, CommScope, Fluke Networks, Marvell, Microsemi, NETGEAR, Panduit, Spirent and Tehuti Networks.

Using multiple live demos we showed the transport of data at 2.5G and 5G Ethernet rates across 802.11ac Wave2 access points, NAS devices, PC platforms, server NICs, enterprise and SMB switches and PoE endpoints. Connectivity between these products was expertly managed by cabling configurations including Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat6a, with lengths extending up to 100m. Our cabling members went over and beyond in figuring out how to connect everything in such a small, open space.  Just take a look at our demo topology graphic and the booth picture below to get a better idea of the breadth of technology on display:



As an alliance, the recent Interop event was a milestone in which all of our members can be very proud.  In such a short time, we have not only effectively communicated the benefits of NBASE-T technology, but we also now have multiple products shipping and can show extensive interoperability between real solutions, for real needs.  We aren’t talking about what might happen.  Rather, we are showing how the technology is working today and the significant difference it is making.

And people have taken notice.  In talking with multiple press, analysts, customers and potential customers, I heard the same comment – Wow! They are impressed with the capabilities of the technology, the number of companies involved in the alliance, the number of NBASE-T products already shipping today, and the level of market influence we’ve already achieved.

Of course there is always more to do and we were able to give insight into our future plans for making the technology and alliance even better.  One key upcoming activity is that the alliance has discussions underway with UNH-IOL to be the first test house for our certification program.  Since UNH-IOL will also be doing IEEE 802.3bz testing, we thought it made sense to leverage that testing for NBASE-T technology as well.  This certification program will provide customers the confidence that these products are able to connect across brands and work successfully in their environment. It’s an important next step for the alliance and one that provides a path for massive customer deployment in the future.  When these customers see the results of independent testing and know it not only meets their needs but also works, they will start moving forward with their plans to integrate NBASE-T technology into their networks.

In conclusion, while we might not achieve actual amusement park status in the future, I’m happy that many attendees thought our Interop booth came close to that.  We certainly put all the right pieces together and showed the world how to construct a truly functional and interoperable NBASE-T platform. For all those involved, I want to give a big thank you.  Without your hard work, dedication and expertise, we could never have achieved the showing we did.  And thanks to this work, we are now ready to move one step closer to the commercialization of true NBASE-T networks that will benefit the entire industry.   After Interop, “Everything is Awesome.”