2018 is shaping up to be a banner year for all things Ethernet.\nFirst of all, the ubiquitous networking technology is having a banner year already in the data center where in the first quarter alone, the switching market recorded its strongest year-over-year revenue growth in over five years, and 100G Ethernet port shipments more than doubled year-over-year, according to a report by Dell\u2019Oro Group researchers.\n\nThe 16-percent switching growth was, "driven by the large-tier cloud hyperscalers such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook but also by enterprise customers,\u201d said Sameh Boujelbene, senior director at Dell\u2019Oro.\nIDC's \u201cWorldwide Quarterly Ethernet Switch Tracker\u201d said the Ethernet switch market grew 10.9 percent in 1Q18 \u2013 a strong uptick from the 3.5-percent growth recorded year-over-year between 1Q16 and 1Q17. The quarter's growth also outpaced the full year 2017 growth of 5.5 percent.\n"There are two macro trends that contributed to growth," wrote Rohit Mehra, vice president, Network Infrastructure at IDC in the report. "The emergence of next-generation software-based network-intelligence platforms that add to the intrinsic value of networking, and the push by large enterprises, hyperscalers and service providers to leverage faster Ethernet switching speeds for cloud rollouts. "\n100G Ethernet is booming\nOf particular interest to most observers is the growing migration to 100G Ethernet.\n\u201cThere was on the order of about 1 million 100G Ethernet ports shipped in 2016, this year we expect somewhere near 12 million to ship,\u201d said Boujelbene. \u201cHyperscalers certainly drove the market early-on but large enterprises are increasingly looking at that technology for the increased speed, price\/performance it brings.\u201d\nCisco agreed with that observation.\n\u201cThe requirement for more high-speed ports and more data being driven from the dense edges of the network is driving the upgrade of the backbone,\u201d said Roland Acra, senior vice president and General Manager of Cisco\u2019s Data Center Business Group. \u201cWe see the need especially from financial and trade floor customers who need the bandwidth and speed.\u201d\nWhile 100G is ramping up so is another level of Ethernet speed \u2013 the 25G segment, which saw revenue increase 176 percent year-over-year with port shipments growing 359 percent year over year in 1Q18, according to IDC.\nThe push to 25G is largely due to top-of-rack requirements in dense data-center server access ports.\n\u201cCisco had a head start on 25G \u2013 they have about 80% of the market \u2013 but we expect Arista, Dell, Juniper and others to see growth this year,\u201d said Boujelbene.\u00a0\nEthernet enhanced by other technology advances\nThere has been other activity in the Ethernet world beyond speeds and feeds.\u00a0 The Ethernet Alliance has detailed work coming out of the recent IEEE 802.3 Interim Meeting which forwarded a variety of Ethernet project areas, including multiple physical layer specifications for Ethernet speeds ranging from 10Mbps to 400Gbps; Power over Ethernet (PoE) advancements; YANG data models for efficient Ethernet network management; and the next generation of Ethernet Passive Optical Network Physical Layer.\nEthernet just continues to expand support new applications, and 45 years after it was invented that\u2019s a claim few technologies can make, said \u00a0John D\u2019Ambrosia, chairman of the Ethernet Alliance.\nD\u2019Ambrosia noted a standard for higher power POE\u00a0 \u2013 802.3bt,\u00a0 Power over Ethernet over 4 Pairs\u00a0\u2013 is nearing completion and should be ratified by September. This adjustment to the current PoE standard supports up to 100 watts, according to the IEEE. Other PoE standards define 15.4-60 watt systems.\nWith or without the higher power, products supporting POE are expected to explode. Dell'Oro says more than 700 million PoE-enabled Ethernet switch ports and 280 million PoE devices will ship in the next 5 years.\u00a0\n\u201cWe think the applications for POE are limitless,\u201d D\u2019Ambrosia said.\u00a0 Some of those applications include more efficient building lighting, simplified power to VoIP phones, sensors, meters and wireless access points to name a few.