IEEE Launches Study Group to Explore 400Gb/s Ethernet

IEEE 802.3 Study Group to Examine Ways to Boost Bandwidth of Ethernet Networks

by Anton Shilov
04/01/2013 | 11:30 PM

IEEE, the world's largest professional organization advancing technology for humanity, today announced the launch of an IEEE 802.3 standard for Ethernet study group to explore development of a 400Gb/s Ethernet standard to efficiently support ever-increasing, exponential network bandwidth growth.


“Traffic is growing everywhere – more Internet users, more ways to access the Internet more quickly, higher-bandwidth content, new applications enabled, etc. – and it is critical that we move now to create a plan for the Ethernet ecosystem to evolve beyond today’s capabilities, in order to accommodate the burgeoning bandwidth tsunami,” said John D’Ambrosia, chair of the new IEEE 802.3 400 Gb/s Ethernet study group and chief Ethernet evangelist at Dell.

The IEEE 802.3 Ethernet bandwidth assessment report, which precipitated the launch of the IEEE 802.3 group in August 2012, forecasted that networks will need to support 58% compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) on average. Driven by simultaneous increases in users, access methodologies, access rates and services (such as video on demand and social media), the report said, networks would need to support capacity requirements of 1 terabit per second in 2015 and 10Tb/s by 2020 if current trends continue. These open Industry Connections efforts helped build consensus on the need for an Ethernet solution beyond 100Gb/s and to launch a “call for interest” within IEEE for a study group to explore development of a 400Gb/s Ethernet standard.

“Ethernet is an arena of constant innovation, driven by the market demand for support of new ever-increasing bandwidth speeds, as well as new protocols, applications and media types. Global bandwidth requirements are continuing to grow exponentially, and that makes it so important that the IEEE 802.3 standards community take proactive steps such as assessing needs and launching this study group. Standards-based solutions are integral to maintaining business growth across the Ethernet ecosystem,” said Alan Weckel, vice president enterprise and data center market research at Dell'Oro Group.

Individuals interested in the future of IEEE 802.3 Ethernet wireline standards are invited to contribute to the IEEE 802.3 400 Gb/s Ethernet study group, which is scheduled to meet during the IEEE 802.1/802.3 May 2013 Joint Interim, scheduled for 14-17 May 2013 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Ethernet is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Deployment of technology defined by the IEEE 802.3 standard is already globally pervasive, driven by the ever-growing needs of local area, access and metropolitan area networks around the world. Beyond traditional networks, new application areas such as networking for industrial, automotive and other industries are looking to expand their reliance on Ethernet in their networks. To better address the needs of all of these areas, the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard is constantly evolving and expanding.