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Faster internet speeds drives new standardization effort for the IEEE

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November 11, 2014

Overall industry interest in faster internet speeds for large busineses is driving a new standardization effort for the IEEE, the chair of the Ethernet says, with a new study group formed last week to accelerate its development.

The IEEE told us that the industry consensus is so strong it's feasible that a task force could come into being in the first quarter of next year, and while it's still too early to commit to a timeframe, standardization could take place quite quickly, nevertheless.

As evidenced by the emergence of groups like the NBase-T Alliance in late October, it's clear that enterprises are going to need higher performance out of their wired Ethernet networks.

The driver for this is 802.11ac, since it's useless to have multi-gigabit wireless access points served by cables that can only limp along at 1 Gbps.

That same concern led to an October decision by the IEEE to issue a Call for Interest in developing twisted pair Ethernet standards to articulate the next increments in the venerable networking standard, and D'Ambrosia said that interest was very strong, with 67 individuals representing 26 companies at the meeting.

As well as names like Broadcom, Cisco, Intel and HP Networking (some of the participants in the consensus presentation), the meeting was attended by “a real who's who” of the industry, including Microsoft, Ericsson, Applied Micro, Huawei and a few others.

The outcome is the “Next Generation Enterprise Access Base-T 5 Study Group” in the IEEE, to be chaired by Intel.

Given the strength of the overall industry interest, the IEEE suspects that at the study group's January 2015 meeting it will ask to be elevated to IEEE Task Force status.

The group added that the biggest challenge in kicking wired Ethernet's speeds along is going to be handling the crosstalk in cable bundles.

A second challenge will be to develop modulation techniques that can maintain 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps transmissions over the full hundred metres of Ethernet cables.

For that, the IEEE said-- “people are looking at basing it on a slowed-down 10 Gbps Ethernet technology that had a lot of discussion last week.”

To be sure, any new standard out of this new process would also have to maintain power-over-Ethernet compatibility with the legacy base, the group noted.

Source: The IEEE.

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