Gigabit Ethernet to get some backbone

Gigabit Ethernet will come on strong and find an increasing number of applications in high-speed fiber and copper-cabling backbones as well as in specialized premises networks, according to the Gigabit Ethernet Alliance (Cupertino, CA). In addition, this next-generation Ethernet local area network (lan) protocol will begin to migrate to the desk for general applications. This migration will be driven by greater desktop power and speed as well as changing lan applications due to intranet-based op

Jul 1st, 1998

Ron Karjian

Gigabit Ethernet will come on strong and find an increasing number of applications in high-speed fiber and copper-cabling backbones as well as in specialized premises networks, according to the Gigabit Ethernet Alliance (Cupertino, CA). In addition, this next-generation Ethernet local area network (lan) protocol will begin to migrate to the desk for general applications. This migration will be driven by greater desktop power and speed as well as changing lan applications due to intranet-based operations and increasing demands for time-sensitive delivery between networked users.

Gigabit Ethernet (or 1000Base-T in its copper implementation) theoretically can operate over today`s widely installed cabling plants, including the most widely deployed cabling system for high-speed lans worldwide: Category 5 unshielded twisted-pair (utp) cable. "Contrary to some misleading claims in the marketplace, Gigabit Ethernet is designed to operate over a frequency range of 100 megahertz," notes Paul Kish, senior product manager at nordx/cdt (Pointe-Claire, QC, Canada) and chairman of the TR-41.8 subcommittee that is revising the tia/eia-568a premises-cabling standard. "Enhanced Category 5 cabling will be the preferred wiring solution for Gigabit Ethernet in new installations because it will provide a higher performance margin."

The anticipated establishment of Category 6 utp cabling performance requirements by the tia is expected to hasten even wider use of Gigabit Ethernet in the office. "Gigabit Ethernet or 1000Base-T represents a significant increase in network performance from 10Base-T and even 100Base-T Ethernet," says Tom Russell, marketing and sales vice president at Quabbin Wire & Cable (Ware, MA) and a member of the tia`s TR-41.8 Commercial and Residential Building Cabling Systems standards committee`s utp Study Group. "Category 6 will more easily handle 1000Base-T as well as 100Base-T Ethernet signaling." Both the tia and iso, he says, are working closely with the ieee 802.3 Gigabit Ethernet committee to ensure backward compatibility for installed systems, so 10Base-T and 100Base-T will run on a 1000Base-T premises network.

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