When discussions regarding the future of Ethernet are initiated, avoiding the topic of feeds and speeds is almost impossible. Given my history in the IEEE 802.3 Working Group, it is especially challenging for me. However, with my participation in IEEE 802.3, the Ethernet Alliance, and the Ethernet industry at large, I have come to appreciate that while speed is important to keep up with the exponential growth that we are all dealing with, it is not the only thing for those whose networks are a fundamental aspect of their business.
As chairman of the Ethernet Alliance board of directors, I am responsible for guiding the organization in its mission of supporting IEEE 802 Ethernet technologies. Fulfilling this responsibility is simple, as I have always believed in the fundamentals of the organization and its strategic vision—growing the Ethernet-ecosystem through marketing, education, and interoperability activities, and supporting consensus building for future Ethernet standards development. One of the ways the Ethernet Alliance accomplishes this mission is through event such as our Technology Exploration Forums (TEF).
The TEF was developed as a vehicle to support industry consensus building. At these events, the invited speakers on a given topic kick things off with their presentations, which are akin to opening comments. The attendees then participate in a room-wide discussion, acting essentially as an industry technology advisory board. Past TEFs have been called when there has been an observed need by the Ethernet Alliance membership, and were an exciting exchange of discussion and opinions. Frankly, in my opinion, the first TEF held in September of 2009 helped drive the industry to begin work on development of 25 Gb/s electrical signaling.
The next TEF will be held in Santa Clara, Calif., on Feb. 16, and is a particularly exciting one –"The End Users Speak!” The title says it all: End-users coming in and laying out their needs for the industry to hear, discuss, and explore. From the needs of the data centers, to the carriers and MSOs and Internet Exchanges, to broadcasting, to the role of power in networking. This will be a full day! And wrapping it up, Paul Nikolich of YAS Broadband Ventures and chair of IEEE 802 will end the event taking into account the discussions of the day and looking forward to Ethernet’s future.
So if you are interested in participating in an industry discussion about Ethernet’s future and having an impact on its direction, make sure you check out the Ethernet Alliance’s Technology Exploration Forum—The End Users Speak! The event will be held at Techmart in Santa Clara on Feb. 16.
Details may be found at http://www.ethernetalliance.org/event/tef-2012-the-end-users-speak-2/.
John D'Ambrosia is chief Ethernet evangelist, CTO office, at Dell.