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I attended the IEEE 802.3 meeting in Atlanta last week. I have blogged about Ethernet standards-making meetings before and I thought I should post an update on how things have progressed. Cadence has a comprehensive design and verification IP portfolio for Ethernet, and we strive to keep it aligned to the current standards.
Before I dive in, I'd like to share some pictures from Atlanta; the third picture shows the vault where Coke's secret formula is kept:
Although the current highest speed standard for Ethernet is 100Gbps and work is progressing on a 400G standard (802.3bs), there is now work underway to standardize intermediate speeds. The 802.3by project kicked off to develop standards for 25G PHYs, and there is a study group defining objectives for 2.5G and 5G PHYs for 100 meters of cat5e and cat6 UTP cabling.
The 25G PHYs are particularly relevant for server interconnects where greater than 10G speeds are now needed, but the existing 40G standard is too fast and requires four physical lanes rather than one. The 802.3by project will standardize PHYs for backplane, twinax cable, and MMF optical fibre and should proceed quickly because existing technology can be re-used. In addition, the 802.3bq (40GBASE-T) task force is expanding its scope to include a 25GBASE-T PHY to operate over four pairs of twisted cable.
The 2.5G and 5G PHYs are relevant for wireless access points where 1G (1000BASE-T) is no longer sufficient to meet the data rate required by the latest 802.11ac standard and the existing 10GBASE-T standard cannot achieve a 100m reach using legacy cat5e cable.
There are also three projects ongoing that are relevant to the automotive industry. 802.3bw is standardizing a 100BASE-T1 (100Mbps PHY), 802.3bp is standardizing 1000BASE-T1 (a 1Gbps PHY), and 802.3bv is standardizing gigabit Ethernet over plastic optical fibres (POF). The Japanese automotive industry seems more interested in POF than the Europeans, who apparently experienced reliability problems with POF in the past.
Personally I had a busy week making baseline proposals to the 802.3by and 802.3bs task forces, which, to my relief, were adopted unanimously (one by 96 votes to zero), demonstrating the desire of the task forces to make progress.
If you want more information about IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standardization activities, you can find it here: http://www.ieee802.org/3/
Arthur MarrisJanuary 2015