Ethernet Aims for Terabit

Power users and suppliers divided over future speed.

IEEE 802.3 – among friends know as Ethernet – has formed a working group to look beyond 100 Gbps speed.

Currently the group is soliciting input at expects to report some time next year.  There is, however already a divide between power users and silicon suppliers.  End customers like Facebook and Google cannot wait to get a higher speed version of Ethernet and is lobbying for 1 Tb/s as soon as 2013. They are countered by silicon suppliers who would like to move to 400 Gbps in the first instance.

It is quite obvious why there is a divide over the speed. Facebook and Google need as much speed as they can get – and as soon as they can get it. On the other hand silicon suppliers would like a standard that is affordable to other customers than just the power users. That is why they are lobbying for 400 Gbps, they need to sell their equipment to not just Facebook or Google.

In the end we will probably have to wait until next year to see how the future plays out, but there is no doubt that we as consumers also will benefit from higher speeds – even though it will take many more years before Terabit makes it to consumer products.S|A

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