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IEEE Standard for Ethernet Celebrates 3 Decades of Service

June 28, 2013

IEEE Standard for Ethernet Celebrates 3 Decades of Service

By Jayashree Adkoli
TMCnet Contributor

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE (News - Alert)) is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its 802.3 'Standard for Ethernet.'

The IEEE 802.3 is a standard specification for Ethernet, a method of communication in a local area network (LAN). It is a physical and data link layer technology for LAN that specifies the physical media and the working characteristics of Ethernet. The original Ethernet supports a data rate of 10 megabits per second (Mbps).

Bob Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet, said in a statement, "On May 22, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the invention of Ethernet at Xerox PARC. Now, on June 23, we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Ethernet's standardization by IEEE 802.”

Metcalfe added, “Of course, Ethernet has been standardized many times since 1983, with IEEE 802.3 incorporating rapid Ethernet innovation, while maintaining a high degree of backward compatibility. From 2.94 Mb/s to 100 Gb/s, from thick coax to thin, to twisted pairs, to fibers, to Wi-Fi, from CSMA/CD buses to switching hubs, to access points."

Last year, more than 1.2 billion Ethernet ports were deployed.

Even though, IEEE 802.3 was initially developed to standardize connectivity among computers, printers, servers and other devices inside a LAN, it is now supporting other technologies as well such as data-center networks, personal computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, subscriber access, cellular backhaul, power infrastructure and smart meters, personal medical devices, the Internet of Things and connected cars.

According to IEEE, the success of the IEEE 802.3 standard has been its open and transparent development process, which is noted for its rigor, rooted in consensus, due process, openness, right of appeal and balance.

In addition, the IEEE 802.3 standard's ongoing development process is open to anyone, and all stakeholders directly participate in its ongoing refinement.

Paul Nikolich, chair of the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN standards committee and IEEE fellow, said in a statement, "The fact that almost all information flowing in the Internet is possible because it is transported over a flexible IEEE 802.3 Ethernet-compliant infrastructure is a tribute everyone who has in some way contributed to the standard's development, refinement and expansion. Throughout its history, the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group has reacted well to emerging global market needs. I applaud the effort of the thousands of individuals who have contributed through the working group and to the development process itself."

In April 2013, the IEEE 802.3 study group was launched to explore development of a 400 Gb/s Ethernet standard to efficiently support exponential network bandwidth growth.

Edited by Alisen Downey
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