LAS VEGAS — In a town where gambling is the
primary industry, Ethernet supporters want to prove
it’s never a good idea to bet against the 30-year-old technology.
That is the goal of the year-old Ethernet Alliance, a multi-vendor group that promotes and demonstrates the latest and greatest in Ethernet standards technology. At its birthday celebration here this week at Interop, it is demonstrating 10GBASE-T, a new standard for 10GbE over standard unshielded cables, and Power over Ethernet (PoE). In addition, it will demonstrate 10GBASE-LRM, a long-range optical technology for 10GbE, and Backplane Ethernet.
“In the past there has always been an alliance in some way
shape or form for Ethernet to support a particular
standard or technology, whether it was the Fast Ethernet
Alliance, Gigabit Ethernet Alliance or the 10 GbE
Ethernet Alliance,” Brad Booth, president of the Ethernet
Alliance, told internetnews.com.
didn’t have an overall voice once those specific alliances
went away, and vendors realized that a third-party group
that can promote Ethernet standards and how they work was
Among the standards that the Ethernet Alliance is
promoting is 10GBASE-T, which provides for 10GbE speeds
over existing Category 6 cabling up to a distance of 55
Booth said that in order to do distances of
greater than 55 meters, a new type of cabling would be
required. That cabling would be the CAT 6a
cabling, which has yet to be finalized as a standard.
Though regular CAT 6 cabling will only support 10GBASE-T
out to 55 meters, it’s a distance that should work for most
datacenters. Booth cited Ethernet Alliance research that
shows 55m cable length will cover 70 percent of most
Another new key Ethernet technology that the alliance is talking about is the PoE Plus standard. PoE, or power over Ethernet, provides low levels of power over a regular Ethernet connection. PoE Plus aims to provide more power,
with the goal being to power a thin client
or even a notebook over Ethernet.
“There are all kinds of applications where people would
like to do their power with Ethernet without having to add
another external power source,” Booth said.
It is more usage pressures than competition that is
driving Ethernet forward at this point. Booth noted that
ATM (define) is not competitive with Ethernet at this
point, and SONET (define) is used in the core network
infrastructure. But those implementations are morphing into
Infiniband isn’t a concern for Booth, either.
“Infiniband is used in clustering, but it has much smaller
vendor support than Ethernet technology where we have so
many vendors that can work on the technology,” Booth said.
Ethernet vendors will be working on the 100GbE standard and continuing to improve both the data and energy efficiency of Ethernet.