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Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks
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The Evolution Of The Ethernet Switch

Faster speeds, new forwarding technologies and the emergence of software-defined networks reshape the Ethernet switch landscape.

Buying an Ethernet switch is no longer a simple task. While there are several reasons for this, perhaps the greatest one is that of innovation. Today, buyers must learn a variety of technical nuances that set switches apart from one another, match those capabilities to their organization's needs, and then move ahead to a purchase.

If you think faster speeds are the extent of the new Ethernet technology, you're focusing on one detail of a much larger picture. Yes, greater speeds are an important part of what's new with Ethernet switching; 10GbE and even 40GbE are found in a wide variety of platforms.

But beyond the speeds themselves, new forwarding technologies that enable all links in a layer 2 domain to be utilized have become commonplace. Beyond that, the networking industry is looking ahead to software-defined networking (SDN), where traffic can be forwarded through a datacenter in ways we haven't even thought of yet.

Read the rest of this article on Network Computing.

Ethan Banks, CCIE #20655, is a hands-on networking practitioner who has designed, built and maintained networks for higher education, state government, financial institutions, and technology corporations. Ethan is also a host of the Packet Pushers Podcast. The technical ... View Full Bio
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jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
2/28/2014 | 9:51:47 PM
And how...
Ethan hits the nail squarely on the head here. Speed is only one small part of the equation, as as he observes, the technologies that are changing the way we move frames around like TRILL (aka FabricPath / VCS give or take ignoring a few RFCs), Shortest Path Bridging (SPB) and all the opportunities afford us by SDN controllers ... these are the things that are really altering the switching landscape. We're not just moving more, we're moving smarter. 
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