• United States

10G study group crosses next standards hurdle

May 18, 20042 mins

* 10 Gigabit Ethernet group in IEEE becomes a task force

The IEEE study group looking at running 10 Gigabit Ethernet over FDDI-grade multimode fiber-optic lines has graduated to task force status.

The group has also published a preliminary timeline that shows a first draft being readied by the fall of this year and a standard being reached by the end of 2005.

The goal of the task force is to develop a physical-layer specification for running 10 Gigabit Ethernet over 220 meters of the widely installed, FDDI-grade multimode fiber rated at 500, and over 300 meters on “selected” multimode fiber. It should also enable migration to smaller form-factor pluggable modules that are becoming more widely used on fiber-optic connections.

When it recently got the green light from IEEE management, the study group became a task force with the designation IEEE 802.3aq, or 10GBase-LRM (the latter name is based in part on the coding scheme used and in part on the preference of the group members).

The task force says it will build on the technology standardized by previous 802.3 groups, extending the multimode efforts of 1000Base-SX/LX.

You may recall that 10 Gigabit Ethernet is already standardized for multimode fiber as 10GBase-LX4, but as I mentioned a few months ago, that standard has been largely abandoned, and products supporting the standard are scarce.

The task force hopes to create a standard that allows vendors to build devices that cost less than 10GBase-LR fiber-optic devices, especially as volume ramps up and the standard benefits from economies of scale. Since many companies have multimode fiber installed within their buildings, the group hopes they will be able to migrate to 10 Gigabit Ethernet without putting in new fiber.