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2005: The year in LANs

Dec 22, 20052 mins

* A look back at developments in 2005

This will be our last issue of the year, so I want to take a moment to reflect on the year that was.

Gigabit Ethernet passed Fast Ethernet, as measured in shipments of ports in modular switches. While last year I said Gigabit was the de facto standard, now it’s even more so, if that makes any sense.

More action happened around 10 Gigabit Ethernet. Some companies tried a controversial approach to running Ethernet over copper at 10Gbps, while the task force in the IEEE working on a copper standard continued to make progress.

Meanwhile, more vendors continued to roll out more products using 10 Gigabit. And it felt like every time you turned around, someone else was deploying a 10 Gigabit Ethernet network.

Power over Ethernet, which started to pick up momentum in 2004, became a popular feature in 2005, mainly coinciding with a rise in VoIP deployment.

We talked quite a bit this year about next steps for cabling, because on the face of it, it seems we could be at a crossroads. Should you deploy fiber optics, copper or just do wireless networking to client computers? Most people said wireless deployment in enterprise networks was probably not going to be that extensive. While some companies made a case for fiber optics, most participants in this discussion seemed to believe that copper was well-entrenched and would continue to be for some time to come.

Will the need for 10 Gigabit Ethernet tip the scales in favor of fiber optics? Or will the emergence of the expected copper 10 Gig standard keep everyone on the copper path? This is just one area that ought to prove to be interesting in the coming year.

Happy holidays, and best wishes to everyone in 2006. Thanks for reading.