PODCAST: Peter Jones and Sam Johnson, Ethernet Alliance

April 27, 2023
The Cabling Podcast sits down with Cisco's Peter Jones, Ethernet Alliance chair, and Intel's Sam Johnson, EA's High Speed Networking (HSN) subcommittee co-chair, for a wide-ranging discussion of Ethernet technologies.

Earlier this month, Cabling Installation & Maintenance's Cabling Podcast sat down with Cisco's Peter Jones, Ethernet Alliance chair, and Intel's Sam Johnson, the consortium's High Speed Networking (HSN) subcommittee co-chair for a discussion of the latest industry trends and technology advancements emanating from the Ethernet Alliance (EA) -- of which there's been no shortage.

Ethernet Chair since 2020, Peter Jones is a Distinguished Engineer in the Cisco Networking H/W team. As stated in his Ethernet Alliance biography, he works on system architecture and standards strategy across the company's networking hardware portfolio. While at Cisco, Jones has been a major contributor to the Catalyst switching product line, including the Catalyst 9000 series and the UADP ASIC family. He has been active in IEEE 802.3 for several years, mostly working on BASE-T projects. He was the initial chair of the Ethernet Alliance Single Pair Ethernet technical subcommittee. He was Chair of the NBASE-T Alliance from its inception until its merger with the Ethernet Alliance. His stated core focus is working on the evolution of technology to add value to physical infrastructure and make technology consumable.

EA HSN Subcommittee Co-Chair Sam Johnson is the manager of the Link Applications Engineering team within Intel’s Cloud Networking Group. As stated by his EA profile, Johnson started at Intel in 2010 with a focus on 10G Ethernet PHY debug and has built a career based on High Speed Serial Ethernet PHY and pluggable media behavior, configuration and interoperability. After working to architect and develop the infrastructure that controls the Ethernet hardware in Intel’s current generation of NCNG products and IP, he went on to build the LAE team to support the link and PHY layer in these same products. The team’s responsibilities now span the NCNG portfolio and range from multi-vendor interoperability testing to electrical conformance testing to delivering customized Ethernet solutions for customers. Johnson’s role is focused on defining new features and implementation details for link behavior in current and future NCNG products while supporting debug and interoperability testing.

Podcast Notes

2023 was always going to be a banner year for EA, given the association's concurrent 50th anniversary, but the recent announcement of a prestigious ACT Turing Award honoring Ethernet technology inventor Bob Metcalfe put a definite exclamation point on the celebration. Reflections upon Ethernet technology's many OFC 2023 event highlights, not least the Alliance's ground-breaking live interoperability demo, are contained in the podcast.

With all the high-speed fiber applications being developed, it's tempting to think that copper could eventually become a forgotten medium in the Ethernet landscape. From CI&M’s perspective, it looks like Power over Ethernet (PoE), and single pair applications might keep the market for copper cabling afloat for the near- to mid-term. CI&M chief editor and editorial director Patrick McLaughlin kicks off the questioning to find out if EA sees the case similarly.

Later in the podcast, the editors ask for a recap of the latest buzz heard within EA surrounding the expansion of Single Pair Ethernet for smart buildings and industrial sites. The discussion also takes time to go around the most recent iteration of EA's Ethernet technology roadmap, and inquires for a recap of in-progress Ethernet standards work for each segment.

On the High Speed Networking front, CI&M asks about major Ethernet cabling and connectivity upgrades that co-location, cloud, and hyperscale, as well as service provider data centers might be implementing this year, and probes for implications regarding deployed and imminent 800G and coherent terabit technologies for data center networks. Regarding HPC connectivity deployments, we find out during the course of the interview how perennial DAC and AOC technologies are co-existing, and much more.

For more news, projects, and profiles in the ICT cabling and connectivity sphere, subscribe to the CI&M newsletter and follow us on LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook.

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