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New IEEE 802.3 Standard Amendments Serve Growing Ethernet Deployments

John D’Ambrosia, IEEE 802.3cn™ Task Force Chair
George Zimmerman, IEEE 802.3cg™ Task Force Chair

It goes without saying that Ethernet is easily the world’s most widely used local area networking (LAN) technology. Today, hundreds of millions of Ethernet network interface cards (NICs), repeater ports, and switching hub ports have been deployed, making Ethernet the world’s premier network technology. The utilization of Ethernet will continue to expand due to a demand for increased broadband services and speeds, as well as new applications that serve expanding markets where Ethernet is finding inroads for improving connectivity and enabling innovative solutions.

The latest projects under the auspices of the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee have further extended the IEEE 802.3TM standards family. To meet industry requirements for achieving new applications and deployments, two Ethernet standard amendments have been added: IEEE 802.3cn™ — Standard for Ethernet—Amendment 4: Physical Layers and Management Parameters for 50Gb/s, 200Gb/s, and 400Gb/s Operation over Single-Mode Fiber and IEEE 802.3cg™ — Standard for Ethernet—Amendment 5: Physical Layer Specifications and Management Parameters for 10 Mb/s Operation and Associated Power Delivery over a Single Balanced Pair of Conductors.

IEEE 802.3cn Standard

IEEE 802.3cn addresses the need for expanded high-speed broadband services worldwide that are being driven by the tremendous growth in mobile video delivery. This need for expanded broadband has been further emphasized by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in hundreds of millions of employees working from home as well as a significant increase in telemedicine appointments.

The high rate of video on demand (VOD) growth has set the tone for the continued need to develop higher speed interconnect solutions that networks needed to build the networks that will deliver our favorite videos. While the rate of growth may vary on a geographical basis, overall there is a continued push forward with Ethernet advancements worldwide as a wide range of industries are finding new and innovative ways to deploy the technology.

IEEE 802.3cg Standard

IEEE 802.3cg builds upon existing Ethernet automotive and industrial standards and additionally provides an effective solution for a whole range of industrial and building automation applications.

For example, the standard helps to enable industrial applications where Ethernet equipment must operate effectively under harsh, unsheltered factory conditions to provide network stability and maintain the smooth, synchronized operation of automated tools. This is critical, as nearly any product or component manufactured today includes some level of automation, if not, in fact, being fully automated.

For building automation, the standard defines networking parameters for the interconnection of remote sensors in order to centrally control a building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning, lighting, and other systems.

Today, manufacturers in both the industrial and the automotive world are looking to integrate IEEE 802.3cg into their products and this standard opens the door for effective solutions and will help drive innovation in the development of new applications.

Growing Adoption Across Diverse Industries

The IEEE 802 community has consistently delivered market-relevant and high-quality network standards for over 40 years. These new amendments incorporate innovative new features into the IEEE 802.3 base standard to serve growing use cases across diverse industry adoptions and new applications.

For example, autonomous vehicles will require much more robust connectivity and Ethernet is a key focus for in-vehicle networks due to its flexibility and scalability. Automotive Ethernet has already been widely deployed for systems monitoring and infotainment within vehicles, with many new applications emerging in the technology push for “fully-connected”, driverless vehicles.

From wireless, through twisted-pair cabling, to fiber-optic cabling solutions, IEEE 802 continues to grow beyond these two new amendments in developing projects and impact the world by making technology better, safer, and more sustainable for the future.

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IEEE SA Working Groups

Working Groups consist of individuals and organizations who work to create and write a standard. Working Groups are open to anyone to participate and represent a broad range of industries and technology spaces. This Guest Post solely represents the views of the Working Group and does not necessarily represent the views of either the IEEE or the IEEE SA.

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