The newly formed IEEE 802.3 Industry Connections Higher Speed Ethernet Consensus group now aims to build consensus regarding the development Ethernet’s next generation of speed. It’s asking potential participants, including users and producers of systems and components for telecommunications carriers, Internet exchanges, financial markets, data centers, cablecos, networking systems, high-performance computing, network storage and servers and other individuals what they want when it comes to future IEEE 802.3 Ethernet wireline standards.

The new group launched on the heels of the publication of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment report that showed global bandwidth requirements of multiple application spaces are continuing their exponential climb (to read the report, click here). In part, the report forecasts that, if current trends continue, networks will need to support capacity requirements of 1 terabit per second (Tbit/s) in 2015, ratcheting to 10 Tbit/s by 2020.

The IEEE 802.3 Industry Connections Higher Speed Ethernet Consensus group, an IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) Industry Connections activity, will meet at the IEEE 802.3 Interim Meeting set for Sept. 24-28 in Geneva, Switzerland.

“We continue to seek to streamline the early stages of work of potential future IEEE 802.3 Ethernet wireline standards-development activities,” says John D’Ambrosia, chair of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment Ad Hoc and IEEE 802.3 Industry Connections Higher Speed Ethernet Consensus group. He’s also chief Ethernet evangelist in the CTO office at Dell. “The information gathered by the Bandwidth Assessment Ad Hoc demonstrates the ongoing, exponential bandwidth growth that is happening in varying application spaces on a global nature. The launch of the IEEE 802.3 Industry Connections Higher Speed Ethernet Consensus group will facilitate an open forum to explore the start beyond 100 Gb/s Ethernet.”

Adds Glenn Wellbrock, director/Optical Transport, Network Architecture & Design at Verizon, “The exponential growth cited in the Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment report demonstrates that demand for higher Ethernet rates beyond 100G is rapidly approaching. As the first carrier to deploy a 100G system on its global network as well as recently completing an industry first by transmitting 21.7 Tbps over field fiber, Verizon is eager to begin the path toward IEEE standardization for the next Ethernet data rate beyond 100G to ensure cost-effective and timely solutions are achieved.”

The Background

In creating the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment report, IEEE says input was collected from a variety of application spaces (servers, data center networks, high-performance computing, financial markets, carrier and cable operators, Internet exchanges, the scientific community, etc.) and from different geographic regions. The report confirms growth is being driven across multiple application spaces and markets by simultaneous increases in users, access methodologies, access rates and services (such as video on demand and social media).

The report also indicates that bandwidth requirements of network-aggregation nodes are growing at an even faster rate than end-station applications, which initiate the transmission and receipt of data. Among industries, the most aggressive growth rates are shown by the financial sector and data-intensive science, with compounded annual growth rates (CAGRs) of 95 percent and 70 percent, respectively.

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