IEEE investigates Ethernet bandwidth needs

IEEE forms group to determine needs for next standards work

The IEEE standards body is forming a committee to assess the future bandwidth needs of large organizations and service providers, with an eye toward next steps in Ethernet standards.

The 802.3 Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment Ad Hoc program has public backing from AT&T, the Department of Energy, and the New York Stock Exchange, the IEEE says. It will canvass these and many other organizations of this size and scale to determine their future Ethernet bandwidth needs, which will then guide IEEE standards activities.

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The group hopes to have its work wrapped up by the second quarter of 2012, according to John D'Ambrosia, chairman of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment Ad Hoc group and chief Ethernet evangelist at Force10 Networks. The ad hoc group hopes its queries help streamline early-stage standards development work so those standards can be implemented in products sooner.

The group plans to canvass users in the corporate data center, Internet exchange, telecommunications carrier, finance, research and development and content provider communities for input. The group hopes its work helps keep Ethernet development ahead of consumer demand, the IEEE said.

One thing the group will not do is determine which speeds Ethernet will support next. Currently, standards are defined to support speeds up to 40G and 100G, but the ad hoc effort will not define if the speed is upgraded to 400G or Terabit Ethernet, D'Ambrosia says.

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