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Raising the Gold Bar

By: John D’Ambrosia, Chairman, Ethernet Alliance

The 1000BASE-T project is arguably the most successfully deployed Ethernet standard ever.  It is the “Gold Bar” of standards.  With over 70 billion meters of Cat 5e and Cat 6 sold and 1.3 billion outlets installed since 2003 it is easy to understand this perception. I am sure you can appreciate and share in my excitement about the new IEEE 802.3bz standard that will introduce 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T to this huge established market, especially since the next killer app, i.e., the next wave of Wi-Fi, is here today.  This really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Moving Forward Together

The mission of the Ethernet Alliance is to promote IEEE 802-based Ethernet technologies. We strive to be the vendor-neutral industry “Voice of Ethernet” through all of our different activities.

In an effort to accomplish this mission I believe it is critically important for the Ethernet Alliance to work with other Ethernet-minded organizations. It is clear that the Ethernet Alliance and the NBASE-T Alliance have a mutual interest in the successful deployment of 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T, and the anticipated ratification in September of the IEEE P802.3bz standard is a great opportunity for us to work together to promote these technologies.   From a larger Ethernet perspective, the success of this project to the entire eco-system could be staggering – from the wireless access points that will be deployed to these existing infrastructures, to the data centers that will support the applications and data that will be utilized through these higher speed access points, to the carriers and internet exchanges that will deal with the transport aspect.

Obviously the members of both groups want to see this project exceed our wildest expectations.  By working together, we will amplify our message and help drive the success of 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T.

Multi-Vendor Interoperability

One key activity of the Ethernet Alliance is to provide resources to enable multi-vendor interoperability demonstrations and plugfests to demonstrate to the market that whatever we test just works, as is expected of Ethernet.  A top priority of this joint endeavor between the Ethernet Alliance and the NBASE-T Alliance will be to focus on demonstrating the multi-vendor interoperability of products designed to the IEEE P802.3bz standard, as well as the operational extensions enabled by the NBASE-T specification.   To accomplish this goal a multi-vendor plugfest sponsored by our two organizations will take place the week of October 10th at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) in Durham, NH.  Through this plugfest we will look to test IEEE 802.3bz based products over existing Cat 5e and Cat 6 infrastructures, as well as look at using these products with their legacy 1000BASE-T systems.  After all as Bob Metcalfe, the Father of Ethernet, proclaimed – “Backwards compatibility is the work ethic of Ethernet.  It is one of the keys to Ethernet’s success!”

Plugfest planning is underway, and the response has been overwhelming.  If your company wants to get involved please contact or quickly.  Given the prior demonstrations by the NBASE-T Alliance, and the known quality of the IEEE 802.3 standards, I am looking forward to a successful event that will drive industry confidence through the roof.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in advance for all of the hard work that they will put into planning this fall’s plugfest.  With the anticipated ratification of the IEEE 802.3bz standard in late September the timing for this event is perfect.

I would also like to thank the NBASE-T Alliance for their efforts in moving this technology forward.

It’s exciting to be at the edge of a new Ethernet build-out!