IEEE study group to explore 400 Gb/s Ethernet

April 2, 2013
Newly formed IEEE 802.3 study group will examine ways to efficiently support exponential bandwidth growth for Ethernet networks.

IEEE has announced the launch of its latest IEEE 802.3 “Standard for Ethernet” study group, with the aim to explore development of a 400 Gb/s Ethernet standard to efficiently support exponential network bandwidth growth.

“Traffic is growing everywhere -- more Internet users, more ways to access the Internet more quickly, higher-bandwidth content, new applications enabled, etc. -- and it’s critical that we move now to create a plan for the Ethernet ecosystem to evolve beyond today’s capabilities, in order to accommodate the burgeoning bandwidth tsunami,” comments John D’Ambrosia, chair of the new IEEE 802.3 400 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group.

According to a press release, the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment report, which precipitated the launch of the IEEE 802.3 Industry Connections Higher Speed Ethernet Consensus group in August 2012, forecasted that networks will need to support 58 percent compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) on average. Driven by simultaneous increases in users, access methodologies, access rates and services -- such as video on demand and social media -- the report said that networks would need to support capacity requirements of 1 terabit per second in 2015 and 10 terabits per second by 2020, if current trends continue.

Industry consensus on the need for an Ethernet solution beyond 100 Gb/s led to the launch a “call for interest” within IEEE for a study group to explore development of a 400 Gb/s Ethernet standard. D’Ambrosia continues, “The launch of this study group is the next critical step in evolving the IEEE 802.3 standard to stay ahead of industry’s needs. It builds on two years of open efforts around inviting Ethernet’s vast array of stakeholders into the work of assessing and tackling the market’s emerging application requirements.”

“Ethernet is an arena of constant innovation, driven by the market demand for support of new ever-increasing bandwidth speeds, as well as new protocols, applications and media types,” adds Alan Weckel, vice president enterprise and data center market research at Dell'Oro Group. “Global bandwidth requirements are continuing to grow exponentially, and that makes it so important that the IEEE 802.3 standards community take proactive steps such as assessing needs and launching this study group. Standards-based solutions are integral to maintaining business growth across the Ethernet ecosystem.”

Individuals interested in the future of IEEE 802.3 Ethernet wireline standards are invited to contribute to the IEEE 802.3 400 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group, which is scheduled to meet during the IEEE 802.1/802.3 May 2013 Joint Interim, scheduled for 14-17 May 2013 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. More information about the meeting can be found here.

“An IEEE 802.3 study group is formed when there is interest in developing a request to initiate an IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standards-development project,” concludes David Law, chair of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group and distinguished engineer with HP Networking. “The IEEE 802.3 400 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group will provide an opportunity for expertise from across application spaces and geographic regions worldwide to collaborate on a proposal for development of a 400 Gb/s Ethernet standard, and I look forward to its work in further galvanizing the Ethernet ecosystem around next steps and accelerating potential future standards-development activities.”

Learn more about the IEEE 802.3 400 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group.

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