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IEEE 802 Standards

Who is Responsible for Future-Proofing Networks?

Cisco predicts there will be 50 billion devices connected to the internet by 2020. In the meantime, the Institute of Electrical Engineers, also known as the IEEE, prepares for the bandwidth overload by projecting future needs and specifying the standards that will optimize core networks and Local Area Networks (LAN). This community of scientists and engineers work behind the scenes to future-proof networks.

In the Telco industry, the IEEE is better known as the organization that oversees the development of 802 standards and maintains Local Area Networks (LAN) and Metropolitan Area Networks (MAN) running smoothly but the non-profit organization oversees projects in other industries as well.

The accompanying infographic describes the 802 standards in more detail


Infographic Sources: http://searchmobilecomputing.techtarget.com/definition/IEEE-802-Wireless-Standards-Fast-Reference http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802

The Origins of IEEE

In 1964, the American Institute of Electrical Engineers (AIEEE) and the Institute of Radio Engineers (IRE) merged to form IEEE. The organization originally supported the nascent profession of electrical and radio engineers but since then has grown into an organization that oversees the development of micro-and nanotechnologies, ultrasonics, bioengineering, robotics, electronic materials, and many other science fields. The IEEE spectrum blog features the latest news on technological breakthroughs in the less visible fields of robotics, semiconductors, and new developments in energy production among other topics.

A Fledgling Electrical and Radio Industry

In 1884, the AIEE held its first meeting in Philadelphia. Most notable amongst the attendants were Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell. The organization set the groundwork for the commercialization of electricity and supported the growth of the electrical engineering profession. Radio was another budding technology that needed a structured professional organization similar to the AIEE. In its early days, the branch of technology consisted of vacuum tubes, electrical amplification systems and transistors. In 1957, the organization managed to attract more members than the AIEE and upon merging with them in 1963, had a total of 150,000 members. Today, the IEEE boasts a roster of 400,000 members worldwide.

IEEE 802 Standards Committee

The IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee (LMSC) oversees specifications in the Data Link and Physical Layer of the OSI model. Most relevant for the Telco industry is the 802 standard. In order for a proposed project to move forward, IEEE members hold a plenary in near-democratic fashion and members can cast votes on projects they deem appropriate to pursue. It’s not uncommon to see a standard take 2 years to finalize.

Why are IEEE’s Standards Important?

Standards streamline innovation. IEEE is responsible for ensuring that yournetworking equipment is interoperable with other brands and that new technology is backwards compatible. For example, IEEE’s backwards compatibility requirements ensure that equipment with the new wireless specification such as a router with 802.11ac capabilities is backwards compatible with 802.11n equipment. But won't structuring innovation hinder it? Actually quite the opposite. Innovation can lead to proprietary technology. And though proprietary technology promotes brand loyalty and rewards manufacturers for their investment in R&D, unbridled proprietary technology can set up impractical compatibility barriers. Imagine not being able to connect a Dell Printer with an Apple Desktop. The Internet of Things (IoT) aptly demonstrates this issue. One of the obstacles holding back the mass adoption of IoT devices is the rapid but isolated invention of smart devices and an influx of proprietary platforms. IEEE has even begun a project aiming to organize the chaos behind the IoT.   In addition to maintaining network protocols, the IEEE also pursues projects that promote the “scientific and educational…advancement of the theory and practice of electrical, electronics, communications and computer engineering, as well as computer science, the allied branches of engineering and the related arts and sciences.” Did you find this article useful? Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more tech resources. Versa Technology | Versatek's Ethernet Extenders | PoE Devices and more
wifi standard 802.11ac

The New Wi-Fi Standard That Will Make the 802.11ac Obsolete

The first wave of 802.11ac routers currently available on the market are based on earlier drafts of the 802.11ac standard and will no longer be the fastest standard on the market. The second wave of 802.11ac devices are based on the final ratified standard and are set to include new features that better optimize wireless networks.

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802.11ac standard: Wave 1 vs. Wave 2

802.11ac https://www.networkcomputing.com/wireless-infrastructure/80211ac-wi-fi-part-2-wave-1-and-wave-2-products/d/d-id/1234650 Wave 2 is set to include MU-MIMO capabilities among other advances that will give routers a speed boost from the original 3.47 Gbps in first generation to 6.93 Gbps in the final iteration of the standard.MU-MIMO, Single-User MIMO

MU-MIMO or Multiple-user multiple input/multiple output “enables [routers] to send multiple spatial streams to multiple clients simultaneously”. With 160 MHz channel bonding (as opposed to 80 Mhz bonding over wave 1) and backwards compatibility with previous standards, the new standard boasts a performance boost over the first generation of 802.11ac routers. With a physical link rate of nearly 7 Gbps, users hoping to upgrade to 802.11ac should consider waiting to catch the second wave.

Market Trends

Dell’Oro Group has published a report that notes that the “Wireless LAN (WLAN) market grew eight percent in the third quarter 2014 versus the year-ago period” and that “Enterprise-class 802.11ac-based radio access points grew a robust 40 percent versus the second quarter 2014.”

802.11ac education

The report forecasts that the WLAN market will be stimulated with the release of 802.11ac Wave 2 equipment along with government funding in the US meant to support wireless connectivity in schools and libraries.


But even the second generation of the 802.11ac standard cannot compare with the wireless speeds of a still newer specification. The 802.11ax standard is set to “not just increase the overall speed of a network”but to “quadruple wireless speeds of individual clients.” Huawei’s  research and development labs , have reported to successfully  reach wireless connections speeds of 10 Gbps utilizing the 5GHz frequency band. The standard is set to be finalized in 2019, but manufacturers can be expected to release products based on the pre-standard as early as 2016. While wireless connections keep getting faster, the options for internet users to connect to the internet keep expanding. In the near future, users can be expected to connect to the internet using LED lights, or gain wireless access to the internet by connecting to a micro-satellite orbiting the Earth. Do you find this article useful? Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news on networking and telecommunications.  Versa Technology | Versatek's Ethernet Extenders | PoE Devices and more
New Li-FI Technology

How Li-Fi Technology Will Make Wi-Fi Nearly Obsolete

In the near-future, you may find yourself looking for the nearest LED light to connect the internet.

Researcher Harald Haas from the University of Edinburgh has made it possible to transform LED light into an electrical signal that can provide high-speed data streaming.  Receive a Complementary Consultation   This means that pedestrians walking down a street illuminated with LED lights could very well be able to surf the internet without interruptions. Public infrastructure like hospitals, police stations, and libraries that utilize LED as their primary light source could easily be able to provide internet users with Li-Fi connections.


Researcher Harald Haas who works from the Alexander Graham Building states that “All the components, all the mechanisms exist already…You just have to put them together and make them work”. If his optimism proves true, you might be searching for the nearest Li-Fi hotspot to connect to the internet.

During the IEEE Phototonics Conference this past October, members of the consortium were able to “create a system that could both send and receive data at aggregate rates of 100 megabits per second. When transmitting in one direction only, they reached a rate of 155Mb/S. [They have also] created a better LED, which provides a data rate close to 4 gigabits per second operating on just 5 milliwatts of optical output power and using high-­bandwidth photodiodes at the receiver.”

How Li-FI- Works

In his 2011 Ted Talk, the researcher highlights that we “have more than five billion [mobile devices]… [and] transmit more than 600 terabytes of data every month”. Since radio waves are scarce and expensive, the researcher suggests migrating to the visible light spectrum for wireless communication. The visible light spectrum is several times wider than the radio wave spectrum and would allow Li-Fi to offer faster connections than Wi-Fi.

These advancements however, do not entail that Li-Fi will replace Wi-Fi technology. The new technology comes with limitations. Physical barriers that block a direct light source can interfere with a connection and wireless communication in the dark is practically impossible.

The accelerated performance of Li-Fi exhibits the same downsides that 802.11ad wireless connections experiences–both modes of connections are fast but experience a limited physical range of a few meters. Therefore, Li-Fi will work alongside with Wi-Fi networks in the same way that 802.11ad wireless connections will work in conjunction with 802.11n connections.



IEEE spectrum reveals that “Haas…expects LEDs to evolve past just being light sources, much the same way the cell phone evolved from a communications device to a mobile computer. “In 25 years, every light bulb in your house will have the processing power of your cell phone today,” he says. Haas envisions that illumination will just be one of the many features that LED will offer.

It seems that the future of the internet will bring a myriad of ways to connect to the internet. Elon Musk announced just last week that his latest endeavor includes launching satellites that will provide “unfettered internet access to the masses”.

Would you utilize an LED internet connection?

Let us know what you think! Leave us a comment below.

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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

Navigating IEEE’s 802.11 standard

IEEE’s nomenclature of the 802 standard is not the most logical to navigate. April Miller, Technology Columnist for nwitimes.org’s Bits and Bytes stresses how the system does not even follow basic arithmetic rules. For example, the 802.1 standard is not to be confused with the 802.10 standard, even though the numbers share the same mathematical value.

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A simple perusal of IEEE’s current working study groups reveals groups named with the same repeated values but which are only discernible by name. Online sources claim that IEEE based the 802 number on the year (1980) that they began working on the standards and the February month (2) to choose the name of the project.  But IEEE claims that “The project number, 802, was simply the next number in the sequence being issued by the IEEE for standards projects”.

Since then, IEEE’s 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee has become a prominent authority figure that has  created the protocols that govern the specifications for the  physical layers and data link layers of the OSI reference model in local area Networks (LAN) and Metropolitan-Area Networks (MAN). The ratification of the 802.11 standard in 1997 (one of the most widely-used sub-standards for WLAN’s) along with the decreasing costs of Wi-Fi equipment, helped popularize the adoption of Wireless Local Area Networks (WLAN’s) in schools, businesses and homes. Prior to the ratification, vendors manufactured wireless equipment based on proprietary technology that did not necessarily guarantee interoperability with other products. The following list, courtesy of nwitimes.org, arranges the permutations of the 802.11 standard by ratification data, frequency, maximum speed and indoor range:


  While the standards are usually backwards compatible, routers will be labeled as 802.11a/b/g to indicate backwards compatibility. But it’s also important to not assume that a higher speed router, such as an 802.11ac router, will accelerate the speed of a connection with a computer that has an 802.11n Wi-Fi card. Do you think the IEEE needs a better system to name their standards? Let us know what you think! Leave us a comment below. Versa Technology | Versatek's Ethernet Extenders | PoE Devices and more
Internet of Things

Too Much Rapid Innovation is Spoiling Every(Io)Thing

The rapid innovation of independent developments that pertain to the world of the Internet of Things (IoT) has led to a deluge of smart devices that cannot communicate with each other. In a report from computerworld.com, Dr. Julian Goldman, Director of Medical Device Interoperability at Massachusetts General Hospital confirms that this trend is consistent among medical ‘smart’ devices as well.  She highlights that “If we don't look at the lessons today in health care, the Internet of Things is not going to be an Internet of Things, it's going to be a pile of things". As a result, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has recently announced that its P2413 study group will be adding some much-needed structure to a market that Cisco predicts will hit 50 billion connected devices by 2020.

Internet of Things

  The IEEE project will focus on “promoting cross-domain interaction, aid system interoperability, functional compatibility, and further fuel the growth of the IoT market. The adoption of a unified approach to the development of IoT systems will reduce industry fragmentation and create a critical mass of multi-stakeholder activities around the world. Smart house InfographicThe non-profit institution has been able to pave the way for effective innovation and has been successful in setting the standards that ensure the reliable production of novel technology. The IEEE is most noted in the networking industry for defining the PoE standards that anticipate the growing needs of expanding networks. The IEEE is the perfect candidate to bring order to the chaos that the IoT world is currently experiencing. ETSI (the European Telecommunications Standards) and ISO (International Organization for Standardization) are just some of the participating organizations among 23 vendors and organizations that will help IEEE reach its goal by 2016.  The joint effort will create the specifications that will oversee the stages of research and development, production and market distribution. But if you wish to take the Internet of Things into you own hands, LittleBits offers an alternative that allows you to create a smart home at an entry-level price. Littlebits encourages everyday users to take part of the ‘hardware revolution” and its newest kit, CloudBits, offers prototyping lego-like pieces that users can utilize to connect the ordinary electronics to the internet and convert them into smart apparatuses. The scattered developments are a testament to the DIY culture and entrepreneurial environment that the internet has spawned.  But with closed-circuited gadgets that function independently, the decentralized user-experience makes it difficult for consumers to seamlessly adopt new smart devices. Ben Kauffman, founder of Quirky, comments that “The Internet of things is still for hackers, early adopters and rich people,” and has founded a sister company, Wink, in an attempt to bring a centralized platform to efficiently operate the Internet of all Things under one mobile application. Do you think the IEEE will set the IoT world on the correct path? Let us know what you think! Start a discussion below. Versa Technology | Versatek's Ethernet Extenders | PoE Devices and more
Silicon Hills Texas

Move Over Silicon Valley, Silicon Hills to Entice the Sharpest People in Tech This December

It’s been said that the internet has made the world smaller. But without the proper tribe to disseminate it, stagnant information can disappear into the ethers of cyberspace data, never again to be seen. Hence in the midst of our culture’s “information glut”, conferences more than ever function as an essential part of centralizing a community around relevant information. This is truer in none other but the field of technology which is advancing at an exponential rate. The conferences led by IEEE will play an even bigger and more important role in curating, archiving, and assigning a hierarchy to the information that is generated.

Austin Texas Ethernet Alliance For years, IEEE’s global conference has facilitated the conversation between scientists, researchers, and engineers by showcasing the most relevant and innovative breakthroughs of the year. The organization has just announced that it has opened registration for its 2014 Globecom Conference scheduled for December 8-12. Entitled “The Great State of Communications”, the conference will be hosted in Austin, Texas also known as “Silicon Hills” for its high concentration of tech companies. The event will host about “1,500 presentations detailing the latest breakthroughs in key areas like e-Health, Internet of Things (IoT), game theory, power-line, satellite, space, green and 5G cellular networking communications.” According to IEEE, “Each year the conference attracts about 3,000 submitted scientific papers and dozens of proposals for the industry’s event. A technical program committee of more than 1,500 experts provides more than 10,000 reviews, and from this, a small fraction of the submitted papers are accepted for publication and presentation at the conference.” Its Industry Forum & Exhibition Program (IF&E) will be discussing topics pertaining to “broadband, wireless, multimedia, data, image and voice communications”. The IEEE boasts a roster of more than 400,000 members from across the world and has set the guidelines that propagate state-of-the-art technology. Austin Mayor Leffingwell lauds Silicon Hills as a city that fosters the growth of job opportunities and asserts that it is the “second best city in the country for job growth” as ranked by Forbes. Do you think Silicon Hills is a true Silicon Valley Rival? Let us know what you think! Versa Technology | Versatek's Ethernet Extenders | PoE Devices and more
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