IEEE approves updated 802.3 Ethernet standard

Sept. 6, 2012
The IEEE has officially approved the IEEE 802.3-2012 “Standard for Ethernet,” which defines wired connectivity for Ethernet local area, access, and metropolitan area networks.

The IEEE has officially approved the IEEE 802.3-2012 “Standard for Ethernet,” which defines wired connectivity for Ethernet local area, access, and metropolitan area networks. The new IEEE 802.3 revision approved by the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) incorporates various technical updates and enhancements and consolidates a host of amendments to the base standard that were approved since IEEE 802.3’s last full revision, in 2008.

Related coverage: IEEE forms study group to explore next-generation 802.3 BASE-T

IEEE 802.3 defines the physical (PHY) and media access control (MAC) layers of Ethernet transmission across wired connections of multiple media. The standard’s global deployment is pervasive and the span of stakeholders in its ongoing development is sweeping, including network component and system manufacturers (of such products as optical transceivers, cabling, integrated circuit, powering devices, switches, and network interface cards, for example); network, software, and bandwidth providers; as well as LAN and Internet users worldwide.

The updated to IEEE 802.3 aim to help Ethernet address additional media types, bandwidth speeds, and protocols. Amendments incorporated into IEEE 802.3-2012 cover 10-Gbps Ethernet Passive Optical Networks (EPONs), energy efficiency, enhanced support for loss-sensitive applications and time synchronization (the latter is particularly important in applications where Ethernet is replacing SONET/SDH, such as mobile backhaul), and extension to 40- and 100-Gbps speeds while maintaining compatibility with previously installed IEEE 802.3 interfaces.

“IEEE 802.3 technologies and the varied Ethernet networks that they enable are found everywhere, and the standard’s application horizon continues to expand,” said David Law, chair of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group and distinguished engineer with HP Networking. “When Ethernet networking was conceived in the 1970s and the IEEE 802.3 standard was first published in 1985, its founders could not possibly have foreseen the global transformation that their ideas and efforts would ultimately set into motion. The standard has helped spawn whole new business models, industries, and ways of life. And that cycle of innovation continues today.”

See also:CommScope paper unpacks 802.3 BASE-T for next-gen balanced twisted pair

Wael William Diab, vice-chair of the IEEE 802.3 working group, chair of the revision task force and senior technical director at Broadcom, added, “IEEE 802.3 is constantly being refined to address new challenges and applications. We see the standard being expanded horizontally to address the specific needs of new markets such as energy efficiency, in-car networking, data-center networking and content delivery. At the same time, IEEE 802.3’s relevance is being expanded vertically in terms of bandwidth speeds and connection media. Work, in fact, is already underway on a variety of fronts that will have dramatic impact on the next generations of the world’s ubiquitous wired connectivity protocol of choice.”

More coverage:Ethernet bandwidth: How fast is enough?

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