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100Gb/s Ethernet talks break down

When IEEE standard committees attack

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The fickle finger of an IEEE committee may be goading along a death rattle for the organization's goal of reaching a 100 Gb/s Ethernet standard.

Hackles were raised in the Higher Speed Study Group (HSSG), a committee within the standards organization, over whether a roadmap for 40 Gb/s Ethernet should also be included in their charter.

The HSSG has had its mind set on implementing the 100G standards, but Network World sniffed out the recently released minutes of the group's last meeting. The panel, held in January, is almost completely devoted to 40 Gb/s Ethernet discourse.

Proponents for adding 40G say it is a cost-effective intermediary between current Ethernet, which tops out at 10G, and the proposed 100G standard. Opponents claim adding another stop to the current discussion will slow down progress in reaching 100G.

The debate has spilled over to the HSSG email reflector, in which the two camps share barbs with one another and vent frustration over lack of progress.

"It was clear that a super-minority was willing to stall 100G progress in an effort to get an unprepared and unjustified 40G project through the process," began a 100G proponents e-mail presentation.

"Your imitation of the totalitarian Nikita Khrushchev was a good joke and people will understand that you were having fun," responded a 40G supporter. "Like all good jokes, it was based on stretching the truth."

The standard committee's flamewar caught the attention of HSSG chairman John D'Ambrosia, who warned the email reflector should be used for official purposes and not "spamming, flaming, whining, whinging and disparaging individuals."

The group will meet again in July to continue the debate. Some worry the committee's inability to reach a consensus could dissolve the talks and further delay the creation of Ethernet standards above today's 10Gb/s. ®

Bootnote

The Ballad of the HSSG

The I-triple-E
formed a sub-committee
to discuss modern Ethernet strain.

But the speed to enforce
sent discussion off course
and split the committee in 'twain.

"100 gigabit E
is the target we see,"
and that's where they set down the bar

But some have seceded
now discussion is needed
to decide if the mark shot too far

With stern resolution
some claim a solution
to include 40 gigabit too

"This move is essential
with market potential"
exclaim the retracting group's crew

The discussion was lent
for the issues to vent
with eyebrows all furrowed and creased

It might just be found
when the issue breaks down
'twas committee that killed the beast

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