Aquantia, Cisco Systems, Freescale, and Xilinx have formed the NBASE-T Alliance to develop 2.5 and 5 Gbps Ethernet specifications, plugging a hole between today's 1 and 10G standards for cost-sensitive enterprise uses.
“The industry is moving to the next generation of [WiFi] 802.11ac – Wave 2 with theoretical data rates of up to 6.9 Gbps; a 1 Gbps [wired Ethernet] link between the access point and switch is not sufficient,” Chris Spain, vice president of product management at Cisco, said in a release. “Our mission [is] to increase network speed without the need to upgrade the cabling infrastructure.”
The NBASE-T Alliance will specify 2.5 and 5 Gbps rates over Cat5e and Cat6 cables with power-over-Ethernet to extend the life of the installed cable plant and avoid running multiple cables between a switch and an access point. The effort is separate from the 25G Ethernet Consortium led by Arista, Broadcom, Google, Microsoft, and Mellanox, championing standards for warehouse-scale data center networks.
Ethernet PHY specialist Aquantia has 2.5 and 5G silicon in production, said Linley Group Principal Analyst Bob Wheeler. When partnered with Cisco, which leads the pack as a networking equipment for enterprise vendor, NBASE-T may have some serious sway.
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