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100 Gigabit Ethernet standard ratified

Oh, and 40Gb/s too

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It's official: the IEEE 802.3ba 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s Ethernet standard has been ratified by — who else? — the IEEE P802.3ba 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s Ethernet Task Force.

"Ubiquitous adoption of bandwidth-intensive technologies and applications, such as converged network services, video-on-demand, and social networking, is producing rapidly increasing demand for higher-rate throughput," the Task Force's chair, John D'Ambrosia, said in a prepared understatement.

Non-standard 100Gb/s setups have already appeared in the field — for example, the Dutch education networkers at SURFnet announced Monday that they had achieved 100Gb/s speeds on T Series Core Routers from Juniper Networks. GlobalQuotes notes that Cisco, Brocade, and Extreme Networks have also developed 100Gb/s Ethernet routers, cards, and switches.

But as was true after the long and painful 802.11n wireless networking standards process, developers of current 100Gb/s hardware shouldn't have a difficult time making the necessary tweaks — if any — to be fully 802.3ba-compliant.

Speaking of his company's product, for example, Juniper exec Luc Ceuppens told Techworld: "It is based on the standard as it was [in late 2009]. Changes made this year did not materially impact the product. I don't think we need to [modify] it."

One beneficiary of the standardization of 802.3ba will be 10Gb/s Ethernet. As 802.3ba interconnects find their way into data centers, those relatvely "slow" 10Gb/s Ethernet streams will find plenty of bandwidth for aggregation.

Everybody wins, according to David Law, chair of the IEEE 802.3 working group: "This is truly a forward-looking standard that will spur innovation at every point along the Ethernet value chain, as well as providing the essential architecture needed to facilitate greater broadband connectivity on a global scale,” he said.

Information on the 802.3ba standard can be found here. CDs with the standard will be available for purchase from the IEEE on Tuesday, and a PDF next Tuesday. ®

Bootnote

When Apple's Macintosh was released in January 1984, it was the first mass-market PC to have networking built in, with LocalTalk hardware transmitting info at 230.4Kb/s. The new 802.3ba standard supports throughput at a theoretical speed that's 434,027.8 times faster.

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