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Metcalfe talks Terabit Ethernet

How would we get to a terabit per second?

By Jeff Caruso, Network World
February 28, 2008 08:00 AM ET

It's 2008. Where's my Terabit Ethernet? While such high speeds may seem far-fetched - many of us are still trying to get our brains around 100 Gigabit Ethernet - Ethernet inventor Bob Metcalfe this week wants to get people talking about setting our sights on the next level.

Telephony Online reported that Metcalfe spoke at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference and Exposition about Terabit Ethernet, and said that we may see the first commercial use of the high-speed Ethernet by 2015.

That may sound swell, but Directions Magazine five years ago promised me Terabit Ethernet today. Heck, we're supposed to have 10 Terabit Ethernet in two years.

Currently, the IEEE 802.3ba task force is working on 40 Gigabit and 100 Gigabit Ethernet. Work is fairly early on, and some projections indicate a standard by 2010.

So, overly optimistic projections aside, why start thinking about Terabit Ethernet today? Metcalfe told Light Reading TV earlier this month he wants to "help shape a roadmap" to Terabit Ethernet, since we're going to get there anyway.

Metcalfe says that the current approach being taken in the standards bodies won't get us to terabit rates. So, without going into too much detail, he said he expects a technology revolution, during which proprietary and innovative approaches to Terabit Ethernet will rule, at least at first. He said he sees it as an opportunity to "break loose from the stranglehold of standards and move into some fun new technologies."

It's something to keep in mind as the standards bodies work on 100 Gigabit Ethernet today. "Terabit Ethernet" certainly has a nice ring to it.

Read more about lans & wans in Network World's LANs & WANs section.

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