Ethernet is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Deployment of technology defined by the IEEE 802.3 standard is already globally pervasive, driven by the ever-growing needs of local area, access and metropolitan area networks around the world.
Beyond traditional networks, new application areas such as networking for industrial, automotive and other industries are looking to expand their reliance on Ethernet in their networks. To better address the needs of all of these areas, the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard is constantly evolving and expanding.
“Traffic is growing everywhere—more Internet users, more ways to access the Internet more quickly, higher-bandwidth content, new applications enabled, etc.—and it’s critical that we move now to create a plan for the Ethernet ecosystem to evolve beyond today’s capabilities, in order to accommodate the burgeoning bandwidth tsunami,” said John D’Ambrosia, chair of the new IEEE 802.3 400 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group and chief Ethernet evangelist, CTO office, Dell.
The IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment report, which precipitated the launch of the IEEE 802.3 Industry Connections Higher Speed Ethernet Consensus group in August 2012, forecasted that networks will need to support 58 percent compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) on average.
Driven by simultaneous increases in users, access methodologies, access rates and services (such as video on demand and social media), the report said, networks would need to support capacity requirements of 1 terabit per second in 2015 and 10 terabit per second by 2020 if current trends continue.
“Ethernet is an arena of constant innovation, driven by the market demand for support of new ever-increasing bandwidth speeds, as well as new protocols, applications and media types,” said Alan Weckel, vice president enterprise and data center market research at Dell'Oro Group.
“Global bandwidth requirements are continuing to grow exponentially, and that makes it so important that the IEEE 802.3 standards community take proactive steps such as assessing needs and launching this study group. Standards-based solutions are integral to maintaining business growth across the Ethernet ecosystem,” Weckel added.
“An IEEE 802.3 study group is formed when there is interest in developing a request to initiate an IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standards-development project,” said David Law, chair of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group and distinguished engineer with HP Networking.
Law continued: “The IEEE 802.3 400 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group will provide an opportunity for expertise from across application spaces and geographic regions worldwide to collaborate on a proposal for development of a 400 Gb/s Ethernet standard, and I look forward to its work in further galvanizing the Ethernet ecosystem around next steps and accelerating potential future standards-development activities.”