• United States

IEEE revisits 10 Gig over multimode

Jan 06, 20042 mins

* 10 Gigabit Ethernet over multimode fiber, take 2

A brand-new study group of the IEEE this month is expected to meet and discuss how best to approach a standard for 10 Gigabit Ethernet over FDDI-grade multimode fiber.

If this sounds eerily familiar, that could be because 10 Gigabit Ethernet is already standardized – in the form of 10GBase-LX4 – for multimode fiber, which is the most commonly deployed fiber-optic technology within buildings. This was supposed to be a relatively cheap way of implementing 10 Gigabit, and to do so over 300 meters.

According to documents presented at an IEEE call for interest in November, there has been a “lack of broad market availability from multiple vendors of 10GBASE-LX4” and many companies are “privately investigating nonstandards-based, proprietary 10 GbE MM fiber solutions” as a result.

To head that off, the IEEE has now established the study group to take another swipe, and to create a standard that might bring 10 Gigabit Ethernet over multimode fiber to the masses.

If 10 Gigabit Ethernet is going to work for enterprise companies, multimode fiber is key. While there are copper standards in the works, many Gigabit Ethernet installations already use this fiber – and, as you can imagine, users don’t want to have to pull new fiber to upgrade those connections to 10 Gig.

In the presentations at the November meeting (see link in Related Links section below), several companies demonstrated that they would commit resources to developing the standard and products supporting it. Recent technological advances should help to make this possible.