100-Gig Ethernet Gets Official Nod

The IEEE Higher Speed Study Group officially votes to target 100-Gbit/s Ethernet

November 22, 2006

2 Min Read
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Not that it's a huge surprise to anyone, but the next standard speed for Ethernet will be 100 Gbit/s.

That's the vote from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) 802.3 Higher Speed Study Group (HSSG), taken during last week's meetings in Dallas.

It's a formality, but a necessary one, as a few other options had been mentioned since the HSSG started. (See 100-Gig Ethernet Takes First Step.) "Now we can move foward" with the work of trying to build a standard, says John D'Ambrosia, the Force10 Networks Inc. representative who's chairing the HSSG effort.

Many discussions pitted the 100-Gbit/s option against the possibility of 40-Gbit/s Ethernet, a speed in step with the OC768 of Sonet/SDH. But that fight didn't turn out to be serious; rather, a suggestion of 120 Gbit/s was the only realistic competitor, according to D'Ambrosia.

"There was a lot of consensus around the fact that 40 Gbit/s wasn't the speed to choose, and there was the same amount of consensus around 80 Gbit/s," he says.Quite a bit of support has been behind the idea of 100-Gbit/s Ethernet, as shown at a recent Optoelectronics Industry Development Association (OIDA) seminar on the topic. (See 100-GigE Takes Shape.) Moreover, data centers already appear likely to adopt 100-Gbit/s Ethernet as a means of connecting machines in high-density environments.

"It's unlikely in the longer term that telecom networks wouldn't gravitate to what's being used in the data networks," says Tom Mock, senior vice president of strategic planning for Ciena Corp. (Nasdaq: CIEN).

Of course, 100 Gbit/s got all the good publicity along the way. It's a nice round number, and companies like Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) have been seeding the news wires with tales of 100-Gbit/s research. (See Lucent Stretches 100-GigE.) Representatives of the numbers 40, 80, 120, and 160 are expected to demand a recount.

Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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