Formation of IEEE 802.3 ‘Beyond 10km Optical PHYs’ study group

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The IEEE 802.3 Working Group recently formed the IEEE 802.3 Beyond 10km Optical PHYs Study Group, which will work to define industry requirements, identify technical challenges, and make recommendations related to point-to-point optical Ethernet solutions targeting reaches beyond 10km for 50, 200 and 400 GbE connectivity.

In recent years, the Ethernet industry has focused on supporting the needs of hyper-scale data centres, but other Ethernet application spaces are experiencing bandwidth growth extending beyond 10km. For example, mobile networks, driven by the expanded use of video on mobile devices are faced with ever-increasing bandwidth demands. These same networks also aim to meet potential capacity demands from connected cars, fuelled by infotainment, autonomous driverless systems and an emerging array of future applications. Focusing on developing optical solutions that support reaches beyond 10km for 50, 200 and 400 GbE will provide wireless operators an effective Ethernet-based upgrade path for the future.

“Ethernet has a long history of supporting reaches beyond 10km, with more than a million units shipped annually since 2010, mostly Gigabit Ethernet and 10GbE,” said Dale Murray, principal analyst with LightCounting Market Research. “As the Ethernet ecosystem expands into new spaces, especially mobile backhaul, it will do so in a world of rapidly advancing bandwidth demands. It’s encouraging to see IEEE’s quick action to ensure tomorrow’s Ethernet landscape supports industry growth and expansion around the world.”

Over the past few years, Ethernet has experienced a renaissance, as it embraced diverse application requirements of the industry. This effort has highlighted that wireless operators’ needs differ from region to region, with varying growth in mobile bandwidth being projected across the globe.