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Ethernet Alliance and NBASE-T Alliance Announce 2.5G and 5GBASE-T Ethernet Readiness


February 24, 2017

When new technologies are being developed, the existing infrastructure that is already in place must be considered. By incorporating what is readily available as part of the new development, it will increase the rate of adoption and eliminate the need to create new manufacturing processes and the cost associated with it. The joint test held by the Ethernet Alliance and NBASE-T Alliance at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL) verified the interoperability, robustness, and standards conformance of 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T Ethernet technologies to reuse existing Cat 5e and Cat 6 cabling and support modern wireless access points without compromise.


The development is able to support the growing requisite for Ethernet connectivity over structured pair wiring beyond Gigabit Ethernet capability, which makes it possible for enterprises to continue using Cat 5e and Cat 6 cabling. What this means for enterprises around the world is, the interoperability of these technologies will let them upgrade their network performance and capacity without having to make costly cable upgrades by leveraging existing infrastructure.

“When the NBASE-T Alliance was formed just over two years ago, we had a vision of new Ethernet solutions enabling enterprises to evolve their access layer networks, providing up to five times the bandwidth without re-cabling—and now that vision is a reality,” said Peter Jones, chairman, NBASE-T Alliance; and principal engineer, Cisco.

Cat 5e and Cat 6 cabling outfits most enterprises, homes, offices and institutions. According to the test, the plugfest results confirm the specifications’ maturity and readiness for adoption by the market. The UNH-IOL 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T testing, which was based on the NBASE-T specification and IEEE 802.3bz standard, confirmed all of the products worked together without any conflict.

According to Jones, the recent plugfest proved the NBASE-T technology is ready for mass deployment for multiple applications. And the result shows 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T are ready to go, as is the Ethernet ecosystem.

John D’Ambrosia, chairman, Ethernet Alliance and senior principal engineer, Huawei, added, “With the release of the IEEE 802.3bz 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T standard, NBASE-T Alliance’s PHY interface specifications, and other application-driven standards, we’re on the cusp of the largest Ethernet build-out ever. As we enter the next era of Ethernet, the Ethernet Alliance is ready to accelerate market acceptance of these advanced technologies by helping to instill confidence in their multivendor interoperability and educating users on the benefits they offer.”

There were more than 1,100 interoperability link up and Frame Error Rate (FER) tests, resulting in a more than 99 percent success rate for all cabling and equipment combinations that covered the complementary IEEE 802.3bz standard and NBASE-T Alliance PHY interface specifications. A multitude of test scenarios and checks were carried out and evaluated with a wide range of products supporting 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T. This included conformance, link up, FER and downshift. 




Edited by Alicia Young

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