IEEE's 802.3ba standard sets stage for 40, 100 Gbps Ethernet

With the ratification of the 803.2ba 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps amendments to the 802.3 standard, the IEEE has put together the framework that vendors and service providers can use to sate consumer and business user demand for higher-rate throughput.

The IEEE's efforts weren't done in isolation, however. A collaborative effort between the IEEE P802.3ba 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps Ethernet Task Force and the International Telecommunication Union's Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) Study Group 15 ensure the new Ethernet rates can be carried over optical transport networks.

For 40 Gbps, the standard established specifications for backplane, cabling, and 100-150 meters, depending on fiber used. In addition, the IEEE standard incorporates a 10 km specification. At 100 Gbps, the standard includes the cabling specification and the 100-150 meters of multimode fiber physical layer specification for 10 and 40 km distances.

By driving more development efforts and new aggregation speeds that will enable 10 Gbps Ethernet network deployments, the IEEE 802.3ba is expected to trigger further expansion of the 40 Gigabit and 100 Gigabit Ethernet technology families. At the same time, the standard will give service providers a blueprint to build from as they try to meet the 100 Mbps requirement for the FCC's "Connecting America" National Broadband Plan.

One of the things that John D'Ambrosia, Chair, IEEE P802.3ba Task Force, and Director, Ethernet-based Standards, CTO Office, Force10 Networks, said that was different about the 802.3ba standard was the level of end user involvement.

"This project had more end users participation than any other project in IEEE history that I am aware of," he said. "We had a lot of key individuals coming in from key companies, including Google (NasdaqGS: GOOG), Deutsche Telekom (Other OTC: DTEGY.PK), AT&T (NYSE: T), Verizon (NYSE: VZ), NTT (NYSE: NTT) and the New York Stock Exchange all participating. I liken this project to as more of a pull from the customers whereas 10 Gbps was a push from the producers."

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