Ethernet Alliance® Supports Progress Towards Energy-Efficient Ethernet Standards

July 25, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

The Ethernet Alliance announced the recent decisions by the IEEE 802.3 working group to forward project authorization requests (PARs) for the next generation of Ethernet technologies.

The Higher Speed Study Group (HSSG) was formed in July 2006, and its proposal envisions a single project encompassing a 40 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) rate for server and storage applications and a 100GbE rate for network aggregation. The Energy-Efficient Ethernet Study Group (EEESG) was formed in November 2006, and its proposal envisions a protocol to permit power savings in Ethernet networking equipment.

"The Ethernet Alliance members contributed to the HSSG efforts and provided pivotal input as the study group developed its recommendations for a single PAR with two rates to accommodate the growing bandwidth demands in both the networking and computing industries," said Brad Booth, President, Ethernet Alliance. "The Ethernet Alliance members look forward to supporting the progress towards the development of 40GbE, 100GbE and energy-efficient Ethernet standards."

The HSSG investigated the needs and requirements for the next speed of Ethernet technology. A key finding was a divergence in bandwidth demand between the networking and computing industries. It was discovered 100GbE would likely best meet the demands of the next generation Internet backbone and network aggregation points. In enterprise computing, 40GbE better matches the bandwidth demand driven by server technologies such as host bus interfaces, memory speeds, and multi-core processing.

The HSSG has established a set of objectives including copper and optical physical layer (PHY) interfaces tailored for the intended applications. The 40GbE rate includes PHY solutions to cover distances up to 100 meters, and the 100GbE rate includes PHY solutions to cover distances up to 40 kilometers.

The EEESG investigated the technical feasibility and market potential for a protocol to change the link speed on-the-fly to realize power savings in under-utilized links. The EEESG has established a set of objectives to include unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) copper cabling links and backplane Ethernet links.