Member Spotlight: Intel
Following is an interview with Carl Wilson, Embedded Ethernet Product Line Manager at Intel, discussing the NBASE-T AllianceSM and technology.
What was Intel’s motivation for joining the NBASE-T Alliance?
Intel believes that open standards are good for the industry, as they drive innovation and competition. This is a main reason Intel has been a driving force behind the Ethernet standards for over 40 years and remains committed to the development and deployment of new products and standards that respond to the real-world challenges faced by our customer base. We were one of the first vendors to offer 10GBASE-T products, and today we are the market leader for server connections. Our membership in the NBASE-T Alliance carries forward our rich heritage in Ethernet, and allows us to provide our technical expertise, as well as market presence, to help drive the standard.
What products can you discuss publicly today?
We have shown an integrated MAC/PHY controller that combines our next-generation 10GBASE-T design with NBASE-T technology. We showed it on an add-in card interfacing to some Cisco switches. We expect to make a formal product introduction later this year.
What applications are you addressing with the technology?
Because BASE-T is the cabling of choice for enterprise data centers and campus deployments, Intel has invested heavily in 10GBASE-T solutions. The NBASE-T standard enables us to apply our 10GBASE-T technology to bring 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T speeds to a cabling infrastructure that has been limited to 1Gbps, solving real-world customer problems. We believe there will be strong demand for our NBASE-T solutions in 802.11 access points. However, we expect to also see demand from workstations, high-end PCs and servers in branch offices. We also believe the technology can be applied in a wide variety of embedded applications like routers, digital security and surveillance and even medical imaging devices.
What are some of the reasons you see customers deploying NBASE-T solutions?
The reasons vary, but cost of infrastructure, as well as disruption to on-going operations, appear to be two key factors in deciding to continue leveraging the installed base of cable. Solutions using NBASE-T technology enable customers to easily upgrade their infrastructure without having to install new cabling.
What is your role in the NBASE-T Alliance and IEEE standardization?
Intel has joined the NBASE-T Alliance at the highest level of membership – Promoter Level – securing a board position and voting rights. David Chalupsky, product architect, Intel Network Division, represents us on the alliance board and helped coauthor the NBASE-T specification. He is also deeply involved with multiple IEEE 802.3 activities and chairs the IEEE P802.3bz 2.5G/5GBASE-T Task Force.