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Businesses Don't Need to Reinvent the LAN with NBASE-T


April 21, 2017

The local area network (LAN) has been a mainstay for businesses for decades. LANs have undergone plenty of changes over the years, but businesses are now facing the challenge of accommodating exponential amounts of high-bandwidth traffic using their existing network architectures. And that’s where NBASE-T and Multi-Gigabit-Ethernet enter the picture.


Gigabit Ethernet (1GbE) is simply not fast enough to handle the mass of internet traffic making its way into the average office. The cloud, the IoT, real-time communications solutions and bandwidth-hungry multimedia apps are clogging up LANs running 1GbE, and businesses need to upgrade. But the jump to 10 GbE isn’t practical for most companies, as it won’t run on the typical copper-based Cat5 and Cat6e cabling that most LANs run on.

NBASE-T bridges that gap, enabling 2.5GbE and 5GbE transmission speeds using the IEEE 802.3z standard. And best of all, it works over existing copper cabling so businesses don’t have to rip out their network infrastructure to upgrade their speeds. It does this by downshifting the signaling rates of 10GbE to a quarter or a half (2.5GbE and 5GbE respectively) so that they can traverse copper-based networks. This essentially provides a stepping stone for businesses that want to upgrade to Multi-Gigabit-Ethernet without undergoing a costly and disruptive overhaul of their LAN cabling.

An additional benefit of NBASE-T is that it offers Power over Ethernet (PoE), useful for clearing up bottlenecks on the wired Gigabit Ethernet connection. Increasing wireless LAN speeds and traffic are clogging up that connection between the switch and access point, and businesses are investing in small switches and routers to connect high-bandwidth applications like IP video cameras. Being able to power those devices using PoE improves performance and removes a potential weak point should the regular power fail. PoE is also useful for distributed campuses and offices that require Wi-Fi roaming in outdoor areas as access points may be powered over a single connection.

A growing number of products and solutions are now available to help businesses make the move to NBASE-T and Multi-Gigabit-Ethernet. And many of them support 10GbE, offering a migration path to greater speeds down the road. With internet traffic growing at exponential rates, NBASE-T and Multi-Gigabit-Ethernet are logical and efficient choices designed to help businesses clear up the bottlenecks.




Edited by Maurice Nagle

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