IEEE 802.3bm amends base Ethernet physical layer specs for enhanced 40-, 100 Gb/s operation over fiber-optic cables

April 30, 2015
Through globally open collaboration, IEEE 802.3bm amends base Ethernet standard to efficiently address market demand for greater performance, capacity and reach.

IEEE has announced the availability of the IEEE 802.3bm specification, officially entitled IEEE Standard for Ethernet Amendment: Physical Layer Specifications and Management Parameters for 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s Operation Over Fiber Optic Cables. This amendment to the IEEE 802.3 IEEE Standard for Ethernet is intended to support a number of advances in optical networking, enabling migration to higher-density applications, reducing cost and power demand of 100 Gb/s devices and simplified metropolitan services.

“The rapid growth of Internet traffic is driving the need for higher data rates, higher density and lower-cost fiber-optic solutions for the data center,” comments David Law, chair of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group and distinguished engineer with HP Networking. “IEEE 802.3bm demonstrates how IEEE 802.3 is taking a forward-thinking approach to stay ahead of global demands on Ethernet networking, which paves the way for innovation in devices and services.”

According to the consortium, the IEEE 802.3bm specification was developed to amend the IEEE 802.3 base standard to reduce “lane count” for 100 Gb/s applications (from 10 lanes at 10 Gb/s each to four lanes at 25 Gb/s each), to expand reach for 40 Gb/s services to 40 kilometers and expand Energy Efficient Ethernet capability to include optical links.

“Significantly higher Ethernet performance, capacity and reach in optical networking are needed especially inside and among data centers across metropolitan areas, given the ongoing proliferation of smartphones, video-on-demand, cloud computing and other bandwidth-intensive applications such as the Internet of Things,” adds Dan Dove, chair of the IEEE P802.3bm Task Force and chief consultant with Dove Networking Solutions. “The project to develop IEEE 802.3bm addressed these market needs through a globally open, collaborative effort that drew contributions from a broad spectrum of engineers and end users across the Ethernet ecosystem.”

IEEE 802.3bm is now available for purchase at the IEEE Standards Store. For more information about the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group, visit

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