The Ethernet Alliance has announced recent decisions by the IEEE 802.3 working group to go forward with project authorization requests (PARs) for the next generation of Ethernet technologies. The proposal of the Higher Speed Study Group (HSSG), formed in July 2006, envisions a single project encompassing a 40GigE rate for server and storage applications and a 100GigE rate for network aggregation. The proposal of the Energy-Efficient Ethernet Study Group (EEESG), formed in November 2006, envisions a protocol to permit power savings in Ethernet networking equipment.
The HSSG investigated the needs and requirements for the next speed of Ethernet technology. A key finding was a divergence in bandwidth demand between the networking and computing industries. It was discovered that 100GigE would likely best meet the demands of the next-generation Internet backbone and network aggregation points. In enterprise computing, 40GigE better matches the bandwidth demand driven by server technologies such as host bus interfaces, memory speeds and multicore processing.
The HSSG has established a set of objectives including copper and optical physical layer (PHY) interfaces tailored for the intended applications. The 40GigE rate includes PHY solutions to cover distances up to 100m, and the 100GigE rate includes PHY solutions to cover distances up to 40km.
The EEESG investigated the technical feasibility and market potential for a protocol to change the link speed on the fly to realize power savings in under-used links. The EEESG has established a set of objectives that includes unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) copper cabling links and backplane Ethernet links.
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