The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), launched an IEEE 802.3 “Standard for Ethernet” study group to explore development of a 400 Gbps Ethernet standard to efficiently support ever-increasing, exponential network bandwidth growth. Ethernet which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is defined by the IEEE 802.3 standard. Ethernet is a globally pervasive standard, driven by the ever-growing needs of local area, access and metropolitan area networks around the world.
Beyond traditional networks, Help Net Security reports that new application like industrial and automotive networking are expanding their reliance on Ethernet. To better address the needs of these areas, the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard is constantly evolving and expanding. John D’Ambrosia, chair of the new IEEE 802.3 400 Gbps Ethernet Study Group and chief Ethernet evangelist, CTO office, Dell, says Ethernet must evolve. “Traffic is growing everywhere … and it’s 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.”
In August 2012, the IEEE forecasted that networks will need to support 58 percent 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), they report that networks would need to support capacity requirements of 1 terabit per second in 2015 and 10 terabit per second by 2020 if current trends continue. Alan Weckel, vice president enterprise and data center market research at Dell’Oro Group said in the article, “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.”
Standards based networking has worked so far and will be needed as 400 Gbps Ethernet evolves. Mr. Weckel adds, “Global bandwidth requirements are continuing to grow exponentially … Standards-based solutions are integral to maintaining business growth across the Ethernet ecosystem,”
David Law, chair of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group and distinguished engineer with HP Networking explains in the article, “An IEEE 802.3 study group is formed when there is interest in developing a request to initiate an IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standards-development project.”
Dell’s D’Ambrosia, told Wireless Design Magazine that a host of new technologies and applications have proliferated in the marketplace since the most recent speed jump to 100 Gb/s Ethernet was ratified in 2010. He reminded NetworkWorld that “The iPhone didn’t exist when we started 100G” Ethernet. Mr.D’Ambrosia concludes that the impact has been felt throughout the Ethernet ecosystem. Data centers, for example, where Ethernet is the primary interconnect technology, are at the center of the bandwidth storm. Pressure is intensifying from all directions:
- More demand from outside the data center, driven by increasing numbers of users armed with more devices capable of ever-increasing bandwidth consumption;
- More demand from within the data center, driven by more and faster storage and server technologies, and
- More demand across data centers, driven by new applications, new databases and new architectures.