IEEE approves amendments to wired network standards

July 14, 2003
July 14, 2003 - Standards address Ethernet Type numbers; power levels.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association Standards Board has approved two amendments to IEEE 802 wired network standards.

IEEE 802a allows vendors to assign Ethernet Type numbers without depleting the number space, and IEEE 802.3af addresses how to supply power to low-power data terminal equipment with local area network (LAN) connectivity.

IEEE 802a, "Ethertypes for Prototype and Vendor-Specific Protocol Development," gives vendors a small number of Ethernet Type values they can assign as protocol identifiers for prototype and experimental use. Until now, vendors applied for values from the limited Ethernet Type number space for both development and the final protocols. This led to wastage of the number space. IEEE 802a allows for prototype and experimental protocols without consuming type values and for permanent protocol identifier values to be assigned without consuming type values.

IEEE 802.3af, "Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Detection (CSMA/CD) Access Method and Physical Layer Specifications - Data Terminal Equipment Power Via Media Dependent Interface," defines how to feed power over balanced cabling to data terminal equipment having IEEE 802.3 interfaces.

The power level is limited by cabling physics and regulatory considerations. The standard specifically addresses a new class of low-power devices having IEEE 802.3 LAN connectivity.

These projects were sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society. The IEEE is based in Piscataway, NJ. For more information visit

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