Sunday, July 22, 2007

IEEE 802.3 Working Group Targets 40 Gbps Ethernet, 100 Gbps Ethernet, Energy-Efficient Ethernet

The Ethernet Alliance reported that the IEEE 802.3 working group has accepted project authorization requests (PARs) for the next generation of Ethernet technologies, including 40 Gigabit Ethernet, 100 Gigabit Ethernet and Energy-Efficient Ethernet.

The Higher Speed Study Group (HSSG) was formed in July 2006, and its proposal envisions a single project encompassing a 40 Gigabit Ethernet (40GbE) rate for server and storage applications and a 100 Gigabit Ethernet (100GbE) rate for network aggregation. The Energy-Efficient Ethernet Study Group (EEESG) was formed in November 2006, and its proposal envisions a protocol to permit power savings in Ethernet networking equipment.

The HSSG investigated the needs and requirements for the next speed of Ethernet technology. A key finding was a divergence in bandwidth demand between the networking and computing industries. It was discovered 100GbE would likely best meet the demands of the next generation Internet backbone and network aggregation points. In enterprise computing, 40GbE better matches the bandwidth demand driven by server technologies such as host bus interfaces, memory speeds, and multi-core processing.

The HSSG has established a set of objectives including copper and optical physical layer (PHY) interfaces tailored for the intended applications. The 40GbE rate includes PHY solutions to cover distances up to 100 meters, and the 100GbE rate includes PHY solutions to cover distances up to 40 kilometers.

Other design objectives include preserving the 802.3 / Ethernet frame by utilizing the 802.3 Ethernet MAC;

The EEESG investigated the technical feasibility and market potential for a protocol to change the link speed on-the-fly to realize power savings in under-utilized links. The EEESG has established a set of objectives to include unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) copper cabling links and backplane Ethernet links.

The Ethernet Alliance is an industry group whose mission is to accelerate industry adoption and remove barriers to market entry by providing a cohesive, market-responsive industry voice on IEEE 802 Ethernet projects.