Tag - Ethernet Alliance

Is Ethernet King?

Is Ethernet King? You Bet It Is, And It’s Only Getting Better

The Ethernet Alliance (EA) recently announced the 45-year anniversary of the Ethernet movement. And just for the record, they’re only getting started. The benefits of delivering low power and data delivery over one cable have not diminished. In fact, it’s safe to say these advantages are just as relevant in the age of green as they were back in their earliest days of development. The EA incorporated in 2005, in the State of California. This article will discuss some of the takeaways from their May 2018 Global Consortium in Pittsburgh PA. The discussion about continuing interoperability centers on five areas.
  • Automotive
  • Enterprise
  • Cloud
  • Building and industrial
  • Service providers

Ethernet interoperability

As a review, interoperability is an industrywide standards-practice whereby consumers can interchange components from different vendors seamlessly. You’re not tied to one manufacturer. You have to give the manufacturing community credit for their practical boldness. Anyone reading this who is old enough to remember the VCR versus the Betamax video player will understand the cost and frustration that resulted from multiple video player formats. Proprietary thinking eventually backfired on SONY. While other manufacturers adhered to the VCR format, the Japanese tech giant watched their video player die a slow and painful death, despite the valid argument that Betamax video quality was better.

The importance of having one standard

One standard saves much grief. Industry-defined Power over Ethernet (PoE) certification ensures that all equipment is not only interchangeable, but also those performance standards are kept high.Performance is only the half of it. The Ethernet Alliance has also led the charge on the naming and labeling for each generation of new Ethernet technology. They have provided an industry-defined test plan that ensures that when a customer reads IEEE 802.3, they know they are getting the quality guarantee of PoE rated technology.Further, each of these labels gives insight as to the type and class of equipment a buyer is getting.Now let’s move on to the industries where these advances are playing out.

IEEE 2018 Ethernet Roadmap

Ethernet in automotive

By 2019, the EA forecasts an impressive 500 million ports of Ethernet will ship in 119 million vehicles. Ethernet will allow all of the systems to “talk” to one another, and most especially the automated systems. That means, a lot of speed and a lot of throughputs to synchronize all systems together.
What is Gbe?
Gbe is short for Gigabit Ethernet. It is a version of the Ethernet technology used in discussions of local area networks (LANs). It breaks down rates for transmitting Ethernet frames at 1 Gbps. This term describes that backbone in most networks, including behemoth enterprises found in large organizations.
 Ethernet is expected to surpass 400 Gbe. Essentially that car will be its own LAN reaching data speeds of 400 x the current 1 Gbps rate. Impressive.

Ethernet enterprises

The bulk of all PoE purchases occur in business and campus settings. Hundreds of millions of ports ship each year, including BASE-T products. One clear advantage for implementing Ethernet in longstanding structures is the reuse of existing copper cabling found in the walls from the big telecom era.An added 70 billion meters of cable has been deployed between servers and networks over the past decade-and-a-half through the use of twisted pair cable.
What is BASE-T?
BASE-T is a type of Ethernet networking technology. The leading number indicates transmission speeds. For example, 10BASE-T means transmission speeds are 10 Mbit/s. BASE denotes signals of a near-zero frequency range. The T indicates twisted pair cable, where twisting reduces electromagnetic interference and crosstalk between pairs.

10BASE-TEthernet in the cloud

Cloud providers have adopted 10Gbe servers on a large scale. High-speed network connectivity allows seamless redundancy at a moment’s notice. Server redundantly spread across far-flung geo-locations will enable providers 100 percent uptime when disaster hits.
What is cloud technology?
Cloud technology is another name for remote networking over the Internet. The way it works is that instead of running programs and storing data on local servers, end users run everything over an Internet connection to servers farms and software service provider platforms.
Ethernet in the CloudGigabyte speeds continue to increase. Current networking architectures within these warehouse-scale data centers have driven multiple multimode and single-mode fiber solutions at 100, 200, and 400 Gbe. Demands of hyperscale service providers are rapidly expanding.
What is hyperscale?
Hyperscale computing distributes networks across far-reaching facilities and efficiently provisions data from just a few servers to thousands as required by the customer. Hyperscale computing is big in the data and cloud computing disciplines.

Ethernet in building and industrial applications

Lean manufacturing continually looks for ways to measure performance. Cameras and sensors play a significant role. Installing these remote low-power industrial devices is why PoE continues to gain ground in this sector. The goal is always increasing customer value. Ethernet brings greater efficiency with fewer resources. That’s what is driving the adoption of PoE in the industrial space.The EA projects robust sales of 165 million ports in this sector for 2019.

Ethernet used by Internet service providers

The credit for increased Ethernet speeds rests squarely on the shoulders of the ISP provider. To enhance their competitive advantage, telecoms are also driving the integration of optical transport and wireless solution development. As a result, Ethernet technology developers continue to strive for higher speeds, throughput, and distances to meet these demands. It all boils down to one thing—customers want to stream video, and that appetite will only continue to skyrocket bandwidth consumption for the foreseeable future.

Final thoughts on Ethernet development

Along with reviews and discussions of current projects, and the installation of team members, the EA launched two new task forces during the consortium:
  • IEEE P802.3ck 100 Gb/s, 200 Gb/s, and 400 Gb/s Electrical Interfaces Task Force – specifying electrical interfaces based on 100 Gb/s signaling
  • IEEE P802.3cm 400 Gb/s over Multimode Fiber Task Force – defining lower-cost higher data rate and density optical solutions
It will be interesting to watch these new projects unfold and witness the advantages from an end user perspective that these refinements will bring to these 5 sectors.If you would like help putting together an equipment list for your client installation, feel free to contact us.
Spotlight: George Zimmerman of Ethernet Alliance Tlaks Ethernet Technology Infrastructures and More

Spotlight: George Zimmerman of Ethernet Alliance Talks Ethernet Technology, Infrastructure & More

We’d like to thank George Zimmerman of the NBASE-T and Ethernet Alliances, for taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about his journey from the NASA SETI project and how solving the problem of noisy signals helped lead us to the Ethernet technology we have today.

Opinions expressed here are his own and not those of the IEEE-SA or the Ethernet Alliance.

For the last 7 years, Zimmerman has served as president and principal consultant at CME Consulting, working on high-performance wire communications technology and solutions, specializing in wireline communications. He is also serving as a chair within the IEEE P802.3cg Task Force Group and is tasked with building consensus to fill out the low end of the BASE-T1 single-pair ecosystem.George kindly identified an old article we needed to update and in the process---much to our delight---consented to an interview. Lesson: be willing to learn. You will inevitably meet great people who have something worthwhile to share. Following is our discussion. We thought this would give the professionals who follow our blog some insight into both Power over Ethernet and Wireless and why we’re at this stage of development. Enjoy!


My whole career has been figuring out how people can use lousy channels to get great signals,” George says pragmatically. Though he has much experience he could boast of, that isn’t what comes across. He’s simply one of those people who love what they do.I have a doctorate in communications theory from CalTech. I taught there for a little while, and worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) for about 10 years, doing deep space communications. Among other amusing things, I was the systems engineer for the SETI program looking for extraterrestrial signals. The whole thing about looking for signals from extraterrestrials is how do you avoid the interference that’s out there? So, fast forward and I leave JPL for a company Pairgain Technologies, in 1995, as Henry Samueli was stepping out to go found Broadcom. If you said Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) to somebody in those days, they looked at you funny. They didn’t know what you were talking about.I spent the next 5 years doing a bunch of the primary work for broadband access: All of the original DSL standards that ended up getting rolled outthat was the kind of thing that I was involved inand it’s the same kind of a problem. That is: we’ve got all these lousy telephone wires out there in the ground, and nobody’s going to spend the money it costs to rip them out, so let’s do something with them. It costs a fortune to dig a trench.How do you repurpose the wires? You apply some computing and some signal processing at either end of the link. And that’s what I do for a living—is computing and signal processing for communications.In a nutshell:
  • You correct signals.
  • You build models of the wire.
  • You equalize them, which is simply a way of expanding the bandwidth of them.
  • You reject the noise that you get over the wires.
And lo-and-behold, you’ve got higher data rates. So instead of having better wires, you actually have better signal conditioning.

Repurposing Infrastructure aka building better delivery and deployment over old equipment

The thing is, why did all this matter? This will tie to Ethernet. This actually goes all the way back to the time that I was at JPL. The way that a lot of communications had been set up in the past, telephony or deep space communications like with Voyager 1 and 2, was based on how much computing you could do at the time.Back then, if I had an 8086 processor on a spacecraft, that was a good computer. Your smartphone runs circles around that.But we developed ground systems that we’re able to do 100,000 times that type of computing between the time we launched the spacecraft to Jupiter, and the time it got there.So we’ve learned to build really good computers and condition signals. And in the process, we learned that the boundaries we carefully defined for computing didn’t really exist.The world changed because now we have fast computers. Go to DSL and chips that are going into line cards or modems and we find that the computations that go into a modem are on the order of the same speeds that go into a 486 processor.So again, it’s computing applied to the channel.

Take this principle and now apply it to existing copper

In 2001, at the peak of the telecom crash, I left Pairgain to start my own company. The objective I took on was: how to apply these techniques to Ethernet? The same dynamic happened. You have copper wires. Early 1990s saw Cat5e cable [and some Cat6] put into buildings all over the place. Once it’s there and it’s hard to replace. They generally don’t replace it as easily as they put it in.So the problem to solve became let’s make 10Gb Ethernet work on existing wiring. That was 10GBASE-T. I founded a company called SolarFlare Communications, which was the early player in 10GBASE-T. The guys I work with now at Aquantia, chip makers, were later players that came in.I got into Ethernet because I’m a communications guy at heart, and Ethernet was the biggest market around. For me, it’s all about existing wires. How do you use the fact that you can compute faster and faster all the time to get more out of your existing infrastructure?Lately, I’ve been working on 25Gbps and 40Gbps problems---that’s using the new cable, Cat8.Most of Ethernet is the Cat5e and Cat6 that you see everywhere. There’s not much Cat7 and Cat8 isn’t out yet.

Why Cat5e and Cat6 have such longevity

People don’t realize how big getting an appreciable amount of the existing wiring infrastructure replaced is. It’s a 10-year cycle just to replace Cat5e and Cat6 with Cat6a, and Cat6a was introduced in 2006. It’s happening, but 10 years is along the order of what I’ve seen in cabling industry studies.That’s why there’s such a push to get more out of existing wiring.It’s also why there’s a move toward wireless. Their technology is developing a lot faster--from .11N to .11AC in 3-4 years. We’re already at .11AX now, like 3-4 years later.It’s moving a lot faster. Wired had to keep up.Wireless SpeedsTo connect the wireless in, we went back to lower speeds, but using the Cat5e and Cat6 cabling already installed. It started only a few years back first with the NBASE-T Alliance, and then in IEEE and IEEE 802.bz. Now, NBASE-T and IEEE 802.3bz are essentially merged. NBASE-T took the technology base that had been in 10GBASE-T, modified it a little bit, lowered the rate, applied some lessons learned, and proposed a solution that would run 2.5 and 5 Gbps on existing wires.They then brought that to IEEE, and said, “We want to have an industry standard on this.” And the industry worked through the consensus process and architected it so that, in the end, they had a standard (802.3bz) and NBASE-T spec that were interoperable.In fact, most of the specs are identical. That’s because the same people worked on both standards, and they developed the specifications with that in mind. There are some differences, but they are fine points. We’ll end the discussion here.

Final Thoughts

George and the IEEE working group have done a great job. Again, Versa would like to thank him for his generosity in sharing his time for the interview. It was really fun hearing about Ethernet from an insider.Power over Ethernet (802.3bz) and even aspects of wireless technology (802.11ax) have grown from an effort to preserve existing infrastructures. They are the technological embodiment of the green movement. The preservation and repurposing of valuable assets have, in some ways, forced us to look at problems differently. They have inspired collaboration and dared us to push through boundaries and achieve things we didn’t think possible.If you have questions or would like a custom quote, please feel free to reach out.

Ethernet Standardization Evolution Will Be Far from Linear

The Ethernet Alliance has revealed a standardization road map indicating that by the end of 2020, a total of 6 new standards will support the growing demand for bandwidth in residential, enterprise, and data center environments.This handful of standards indicates that the evolution of Ethernet has strayed from the once linear tenfold pursuit of accelerated speeds.

The Future of Ethernet InfographicEthernet As A Brand of Innovation

In his 2013 Technology Exploration Forum, Robert Metcalfe, Inventor of the Ethernet, revealed that he perceived Ethernet as a brand of innovation that was founded upon the “Build It and They Will Come” business model. The 802.3 Ethernet working group has been building standards ahead of its requirements since its inception in 1983, when the standard was originally designed to support 10 Megabits per second (Mb/s). But last year’s standardization agenda showcased a greater sensitivity towards the more immediate needs of certain networking environments and their budget constraints.

A-Linear Ethernet Evolution

This has caused the evolution of Ethernet to branch out into different networking speeds to suit the demands of distinct Ethernet environments.This new trend is due to the myriad of applications that Ethernet has been able to unexpectedly support. John D. Ambrosia notes that Ethernet initially supported connectivity among computers, printers, servers and other devices inside a LAN (Local Area Network) but since then, Ethernet has been able to support unexpected technologies such as “subscriber access, cellular backhaul, power infrastructure, smart meters, personal medical devices, the Internet of Things (IoT), connected cars”.

The Four Different Ethernet Topologies

The 2015 Ethernet Roadmap does not suggest that the Ethernet standardization body will interrupt its pursuit of standardizing increasingly faster rates, but rather that the linear evolution of Ethernet will be superseded by the new demands and changing applications of the different Ethernet environments. IEEE's 802.3 Ethernet working study group is currently standardizing 2.5 Gb/s, 5 Gb/s, 25 Gb/s, 50 Gb/s,  and 400 Gb/s Ethernet.

ethernet-infographic-03Enterprise and Campuses

The Ethernet topology in enterprises and campuses consists of desktop computers, Voice over IP Phones (VoIP), surveillance cameras, wireless access points (WAPs), as well as other customer premise devices.  Power over Ethernet (PoE) in these environments has proven integral in providing connectivity to PoE-capable equipment such as Voice over IP Phones and surveillance cameras— equipment whose deployment would otherwise be restricted by the location of power outlet sources.

Residential and Consumers

Residential and consumer environments also rely on Ethernet to connect desktops, laptops, fax machines, media centers, appliances, and even IP surveillance cameras. Not to be overlooked, the residential sector is positioned to experience greater Ethernet usage as the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart appliances continues to percolate into homes. The latest WAP standard, 802.11ac, will further increase the demand for 2.5GbE and 5GbE. Even the residential sector will influence the demand for 2.5GbE and 5GbE with the growing popularity of smart appliances, the Internet of Things and media centers becoming more bandwidth-hungry with 4k television displays.

ethernet-infographic-04Hyperscale Data Centers

Hyperscale data centers need to “accommodate increased computing demands without requiring existing physical space, cooling or electrical power”. As the demand for cloud computing continues to rise, hyperscale data centers and service providers will require faster standards to keep up with the high demand.25 GbE technology will provide an eco-friendly solution that will yield a “lower cost per bit than 10 GbE” as outlined by TechTarget. The single-lane technology is well underway to become a finished standard as previous efforts made to standardize 100 GbE relied on four 25 Gb/s lanes to to achieve its data rate.

Service Providers

Service providers, including Telecommunications companies and Cable TV companies are innovating their network architectures while maintaining their existing copper lines with Hybrid Fiber networks. These companies “deploy MANs and Wide Area Networks (WANs) to deliver a variety of services including Carrier Ethernet.”But the fact is that true innovation is occurring within varied application spaces at lower speeds.Receive a Complementary Consultation 

Staying Ahead of Tomorrow’s Needs

Innovation in these four different sectors confirms John D. Ambrosia’s observation that "true innovation is occurring within varied application spaces at lower speeds” and will influence the Ethernet's standardization community to  simultaneously pursue accelerated speeds and slower speeds in order to future-proof networks and address current networking environments as well. Tenfold exponential increase of Ethernet standards will now be replaced by the speed requirements in the consumer, enterprise, hyperscale and service provider sectors. As these niches begin to require specific rates, standardization might be more spear-headed by individual consortium as shown by the NBASE-T and MGBASE-T consortiums who have been working in standardizing 2.5 GbE and 5 GbE.Check Out Our Networking GearDon’t forget to join us on LinkedinTwitter, and Facebook for the latest news in the computer networking industry.
Ethernet Alliance

The Ethernet Alliance Defines 5 New Ethernet Rates

Last Week, the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Ca housed The Ethernet Alliance’s Technology Exploration Forum which discussed some of the latest developments in Ethernet technology.  Discussion topics ranged from the future of data center speeds, to the possibility of having 50Gbs Ethernet function as the unifying per lane rate, and Google even made a pitch that attempted to sell the benefits of utilizing FlexEthernet, “a technique [that] ratchets back on 400G data rates to save costs on links between routers and transport gear in core networks”.Receive a Complementary Consultation The Technology Exploration Forum (TEF) is just one of the many resources that the Ethernet Alliance provides to IT professionals and networking companies seeking to take the pulse of Ethernet developments. The Ethernet Alliance was created to support and promote IEEE’s 802 standards but has become and educational hub with a library filled with press releases, whitepapers, webinars and videos. The alliance overseas other subcommittees such as Energy-Efficient Ethernet (EEE), Power over Ethernet, and Power over Ethernet Plus to name a few. In celebration of Ethernet’s 40th anniversary last year, Ethernet Inventor Dr. Robert M. Metcalfe delivered a keynote that defined Ethernet as a brand of innovation that promotes backwards compatibilitTech-Exploration-Forum-CFI'sy, interoperability, and one that drives competition.Intel’s Dave Chalupsky delivered one of the first presentations and he warned developers that they can no longer use server connectivity demands to predict future optimal Ethernet speeds because servers no longer follow a ‘once size fits all’ model. His presentation outlines how hardware, applications, workloads, and end-user priorities in servers are oftentimes not taken into account when determining the next Ethernet rate to develop. With distinct storage and memory capacities, Dave Chalupsky predicts that in the future “Systems will be workload optimized, infrastructures will be software defined, [and] analytics will be pervasive” and critiques that current Ethernet “data rates are limited in comparison”.The presentation set the tone for The Rate Debate, the theme of this year’s TEF, and discussed the development of the new Ethernet speeds currently in development.

2.5Gbps and 5Gbps

In order to keep up with the faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi speeds that can have a throughput of up to 1Gb/s, proponents see a market for enterprises that want to avoid bottlenecks but don’t quite want to upgrade to 10-Gigabit Ethernet. 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps Ethernet, also known as Multirate Gigabit BASE-T (MGBASE-T), is the sweet spot for enterprises that do not wish to overhaul their networks with new cable.

25 Gbps and 50 Gbps

Tech-Exploration-Forum-25 GbE and 40 GbEAs cloud computing continues to grow, the strain on datacenters has influenced members to rethink how scaling will occur in the future. Networking specialists are expecting for datacenters to outgrow the previously defined 40Gb Ethernet, comprised of 10Gb Ethernet lanes, and are seeking to revamp efforts to make 25Gb Ethernet the scalable building block that can then be used to build 50Gb Ethernet. The project is currently led by the 25G Ethernet Consortium formed by Google after IEEE showed a short-lived reluctance to move forward with the project .

400 Gbps

Core networks are also scheduled to get a speed boost by 2017 with a 400-Gigabit Ethernet standard underway that is expected to use 50Gbps or 100Gbps lanes. Presenters discussed “if the single-mode solution will use 8 wavelengths at 50Gbps or 4 wavelengths at 100Gbps…Another hot 400GbE topic is the CDAUI (8X50Gbps) electrical signaling that is pushing the limits of existing SERDES technologies”. The EA is burdened with the duty of choosing the specifications that will make this bleeding edge technology reliable.Do you think these standards will future-proof servers? Let us know what you think!Leave us a comment below.Versa Technology | Versatek's Ethernet Extenders | PoE Devices and more