Joint Ethernet Alliance, NBASE-T Alliance Plugfest demonstrates market-readiness of 2.5GBASE-T, 5GBASE-T products

The two organizations’ first-ever joint test event was held October 10 – 14, 2016 at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) in Durham, N.H.

UK's ProLabs launches NBASE-T transceiver with SFP+ uplink
UK's ProLabs launches NBASE-T transceiver with SFP+ uplink

The Ethernet Alliance, a global consortium dedicated to the advancement of Ethernet technologies, and NBASE-T Alliance, an industry-wide cooperative effort focused on enabling the development and deployment of products that support 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T Ethernet, have shared co-findings from their recent plugfest. The two organizations’ first-ever joint test event was held October 10 – 14, 2016 at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) in Durham, N.H. Aimed at verifying interoperability, robustness, and standards conformance of 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T Ethernet technologies, the consortia say the plugfest results confirm the specifications’ maturity and readiness for adoption by the market.

“When the NBASE-T Alliance was formed just over two years ago, we had a vision of new Ethernet solutions enabling enterprises to evolve their access layer networks, providing up to five times the bandwidth without re-cabling—and now that vision is a reality,” said Peter Jones, chairman, NBASE-T Alliance; and principal engineer, Cisco. “This most recent plugfest proves that NBASE-T technology is ready for mass deployment in a variety of applications. It is also a tribute to our many members who played an active role in delivering a technology that will have a major impact on several different industries.”

During the event, more than 1,100 interoperability link up and Frame Error Rate (FER) tests were completed, covering the complementary IEEE 802.3bz standard and NBASE-T Alliance PHY interface specifications, resulting in a >99 percent success rate for all cabling and equipment combinations. A broad array of products supporting 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T were thoroughly evaluated against multiple test scenarios and checks, such as:

* Conformance – verifying equipment conformance against the IEEE 802.3bz standard and NBASE-T Alliance specifications;
* Link up – authenticating ability of 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T equipment to connect with other devices;
* FER – monitoring of errors in data frames passed between devices; and
* Downshift – confirming NBASE-T ports’ capacity to move to a slower data rate when the capacity of the cabling is constrained due to noise.

The five-day gathering marked the first test of IEEE 802.3bz. The industrywide effort brought together 15 diverse stakeholders from across the Ethernet ecosystem, including manufacturers of Ethernet switches, network interface controllers (NICs), wireless LAN access ports, physical layers components, cabling, and protocol test and electrical test equipment. Among the companies and equipment vendors taking part were Aquantia Corp.; Aukua Systems, Inc.; Berk-Tek LLC (EPA: NEX); Broadcom Limited (NASDAQ: AVGO); Cisco Systems, Inc.: Dell, Inc.; Extreme Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXTR); Fluke Corporation (NYSE: DHR); Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.; Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC); Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (NASDAQ:MRVL); Panduit Corp.; Rohde & Schwarz USA, Inc.; Spirent Communications plc (LSE: SPT); and Tektronix, Inc. (NYSE: DHR).

“With the release of the IEEE 802.3bz 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T standard, NBASE-T Alliance’s PHY interface specifications, and other application-driven standards, we’re on the cusp of the largest Ethernet build-out ever. We’ll see networks gaining the ability to connect more people and deliver better end user experiences and new services, thereby increasing the value of the networks themselves,” said John D’Ambrosia, chairman, Ethernet Alliance; and senior principal engineer, Huawei. “Our plugfest results illustrate 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T are ready to go, as is the Ethernet ecosystem. As we enter the next era of Ethernet, the Ethernet Alliance is ready to accelerate market acceptance of these advanced technologies by helping to instill confidence in their multivendor interoperability and educating users on the benefits they offer.”

Complete details and analysis of the plugfest results will be presented during a joint Ethernet Alliance/NBASE-T Alliance webinar scheduled for March 9, 2017, at 8am PST, with a second presentation at 5pm PST the same day. The webinar will provide a comprehensive, in-depth review of testing performed during the plugfest and its subsequent results. For more information or to register for the 8am presentation, please visit http://bit.ly/NBASET-Webinar. To register for the 5pm presentation, please visit http://bit.ly/NBASETWebinar.

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