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New Ethernet Standard Delivers Five Times The Speed On Existing Cables

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Ethernet Alliance “applauds” finalisation of the 802.3bz standard, claiming up to 70 billion metres of cable can be reused to deliver faster Wi-Fi

A new Ethernet standard will give businesses a five-fold increase in speed without the need to change cables, powering data intensive applications and faster Wi-Fi.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics engineers (IEEE) has finalised the 802.3bz standard, which defines 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps ‘BASE-T Ethernet’.

It is claimed the standard will allow businesses to reuse up to 70 billion metres of Ethernet cabling, making it an achievable and cost-effective upgrade.

Faster Ethernet

HP“End user data needs – both wired and wireless – are continuing to grow, especially as more and more users access the network via ever-faster wireless technologies enabled by IEEE 802.11ac,” said David Chalupsky, principal engineer at Intel and chair of the IEEE 802.3bz task force.

“The 1000BASE-T uplink from the wireless to wired network is no longer sufficient, and users need a way to tap into higher data rates without having to overhaul the 70 billion metres of Cat5e / Cat6 wiring already sold.

“IEEE 802.3bz is an elegant solution addressing not only the demand for faster access to rapidly rising data volumes, but also capitalizes on previous infrastructure investments, thereby extending their life and maximising value.”

The need for faster Ethernet to support wireless demand has long been recognised by the industry, with Cisco among the vendors which formed the NBASE-T Alliance in 2014 with the intention of creating multi-gigabit networks.

The adoption of speedier 802.11ac Wi-Fi is a reaction to growing demand from mobile devices on corporate networks. But the full potential of the technology cannot be realised if wired infrastructure does not evolve too. Separate initiatives are underway to increase the amount of bandwidth going into data centres.

Industry body the Ethernet Alliance claims the new standard will address needs in scientific and research computing, content production and editing, industrial design and automation, machine vision, as well as the need for faster wireless networking.

“IEEE 802.3bz is a valuable addition to Ethernet’s expanding family of standards; its deployment will enable the faster wireless connections promised by the next generation of wireless access,” added John D’Ambrosia, chairman, Ethernet Alliance and senior principal engineer at Huawei.

Quiz: What do you know about Ethernet?