I can’t help sharing fantastic news! The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) approved the Next Generation BASE-T Call for Interest (CFI) at IEEE 802.3 July 2012 Plenary meeting. Next Generation BASE-T will now progress to the study group phase of the standards development. This approval is the first important milestone for the standards path for at least 40 and possibly 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) over balanced twisted-pair copper cabling.  

Why does the CFI matter? You probably have heard a lot about 40/100GbE. Everything is fine with current 40/100GbE except for one thing—there is no 40/100GbE defined standard over balanced twisted-pair copper cabling; however, twisted-pair cabling has the largest install base worldwide. The highest speed of Ethernet standard specified over balanced twisted-pair cabling is 10G. 

Approval by the CFI indicates broad industry support for advancing higher-speed Ethernet over twisted-pair cabling. So I asked myself, why now? 

Per my observations, 10GBASE-T is gaining more traction and market penetration. Back in April, my colleague David Oldenbuttel posted a blog about 10GBASE-T market adoption forecasted by a third-party analyst. Last month, I also reported a breakthrough on 10GBASE-T technology. More 10GBASE-T network equipment has been shipped or announced by leading vendors. The progress in the 10GBASE-T market certainly influenced the IEEE 802.3 voters in their decisions of supporting the CFI. 

This milestone is also good news to the adopters of balanced twisted-pair cabling. I believe that this milestone will encourage more research and investment on faster and better technologies over the media they have adopted or even preferred. More research and investment in the Next Generation BASE-T technology will possibly result in more improved product choices in the future and enhance the economic benefits of 10GBASE-T for end users today. 

Besides IEEE, the standard bodies of the TIA TR42 and ISO WG3 have started research activities on balanced twisted-pair cabling for 40GbE. CommScope has been an industry leader that has advocated, contributed and invested in Next Generation BASE-T technology. Our contributions have been submitted to TIA TR42, ISO WG3 and IEEE 802.3, and CommScope will continue making contributions in the industry. All the contributions and the eventual ratified standards will be beneficial to end users in the forms of solutions with values of higher performance, faster speed and better quality. 

Let’s begin this new journey together.

About the Author

Frank Yang

Frank Yang is manager, Market Strategy Development, for the ISP Fiber business unit of CommScope. Frank leads the market strategy development for data center, central office and enterprise campus markets. Prior to CommScope, Yang worked at Dell and was responsible for server hardware development. He serves as Marketing Chair for Next Generation Enterprise Cabling Subcommittee of Ethernet Alliance. He received a Master of Electrical Engineering from Texas Tech University, and has several patents, articles, white papers and publications under his name. Frank is a frequent speaker at various global and national level opportunities, for example, Data Center Summit, Ethernet Technology Summit, OFC conference, the Ethernet Alliance’s Technology Exploration Forum, Cable Installation and Maintenance (CI&M) Webinars, BICSI conference, etc. Frank holds CloudU, Cisco Certified Network Design Professional (CCDP) and Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) certificates.

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