Qualcomm, Intel and Brocade join group pushing 2.5G, 5G Ethernet

Infrastructure upgrades without all the new gear? That’s the plan, according to umbrella group.

The NBASE-T Alliance – a recently formed umbrella group of networking industry players dedicated to keeping standard Ethernet cabling relevant – announced a dozen new members on Monday, including big names such as Intel, Qualcomm and Brocade.

The group was founded just seven weeks ago by a consortium of four companies: Cisco, Aquantia, Freescale and Xilinx. The idea is to promote the development of 2.5 and 5 Gigabit Ethernet via regular cat 5e and cat 6 cable.

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Also joining the group were: Aruba Networks, Cavium, Centec Networks, CME Consulting, Microsemi Corp, Ruckus Wireless, GLGNET Electronics, Tehuti Networks, and Vitesse Semiconductor.

Peter Jones is the chairman of the NBASE-T Alliance and a principal engineer at Cisco. In Monday’s statement he said that the diversity of the group’s new intake of members will be critical to its success.

“We believe this level of diversity and collaboration is a requirement when driving new standards and building the product ecosystem required to support them,” he said.

The group bills NBASE-T as merely an extension of existing Ethernet standards, ramping up the possible speed by altering parameters like baud rates and frame duration. In essence, according to the alliance, it’s an attempt to boost existing networks to multigigabit speed without having to shell out for 10G Ethernet hardware.

The standard is under consideration by the IEEE – specifically the 802.3 working group, which formed a smaller study group to help lay the groundwork for an eventual specification.

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