Are Ethernet's high volume days behind it?
In a little under two months, at the IEEE 802 March 2013 Plenary, I will be leading a call for interest to begin work on the development of 400 Gigabit Ethernet. Once again, feeds-n-speeds. The seemingly never ending effort to go faster is continuing with the call to start 400 Gigabit Ethernet at the IEEE 802 March 2013 Plenary.
And let's not kid ourselves, with the on-going industry debate between 400GbE and Terabit Ethernet, the industry has resolved itself to the fact that it is not a question of whether Terabit Ethernet will ever be defined, it's simply a question of when.
For me though, in my role as chairman of the Ethernet Alliance, supporting the development and expansion of Ethernet beyond feeds-n- speeds is a primary responsibility. And it is interesting how things are currently playing out in the industry.
First of all, Ethernet, however, has always been thought of as a volume driver. With its history of being in every PC and on every laptop, Gigabit Ethernet is the model of success that comes to everyone's mind. Many wonder, however, with the move to smaller, thinner mobile tablet computers that rely on IEEE 802.11 wireless technologies and won't use the RJ45 connector. And while I spend a lot of my professional time making things go faster, I personally don't see the benefit yet for a faster connection for my laptop or tablet computer. Mobility is more important to me.
So, are Ethernet's high volume days behind it? While this is a reasonable question to ask, and one that the Ethernet community should be asking itself, I think the prediction of Ethernet's demise, as I have seen some editors predicting is, well, frankly, silly.