Revisiting NBASE-T a Year After Release
NBASE-T Ethernet celebrated its one-year anniversary just more than a month ago. And the industry has really rallied around this IEEE Ethernet signaling standard.
This technology has drawn a lot of interest and activity because it allows existing Cat5e and Cat6 twisted pair copper to deliver 1 gigabit per second connectivity at lengths of up to 100 meters. That’s really useful considering all the copper out there today.
Being able to squeeze more value out of existing copper is really useful. There are 10 meters of BASE-T cabling for every man, woman and child on Earth. Peter Jones, alliance chairman and a principal engineer at Cisco, provided this statistic during his presentation at the BICSI Fall Conference & Exhibition earlier this year.
“Previously, a bandwidth upgrade would have required organizations to engage in costly, disruptive construction in order rip and replace their cables,” Jones wrote in a recent blog. “But today, NBASE-T technology is helping them get more speed from their existing networks with a simple equipment upgrade.”
Another important feature of NBASE-T Ethernet is its ability to support Power over Ethernet. That’s useful as devices like IP cameras proliferate on the network.
NBASE-T technology can be used to address desktop, small cell, storage, switch, and wireless AP applications in the enterprise; for various industrial applications; and for home gateway and small cell installations in service provider networks. NBASE-T shipments surged in the second half of 2016 and research firm Dell’Oro Group raised its 2017 forecast to surpass 5 million ports.
Extreme Networks and Marvell are just a couple of the companies that this year have made new product announcements related to NBASE-T Ethernet. In May Extree Networks introduced its ExtremeSwitching X870 Series family of Ethernet switches. They integrate with IEEE 802.3bz and NBASE-T Alliance multi-rate Ethernet standards. Around the same time, Marvell unveiled the Alaska M 88E2180 Gigabit Ethernet transceiver, which is compatible with both the IEEE 802.3bz standard and the NBASE-T Alliance specification for 2.5 and 5 gbps operation over CAT5e cables.
More than 35 companies are involved in the NBASE-T Alliance. That includes enterprise network companies that offer access points, cables, computing, connectors, controllers, Ethernet switches, FPGAs, Power over Ethernet ICs, processors, and test equipment.
Aquantia, Cisco, Intel, Marvell, NXP, and Xilinx are NBASE-T Alliance leaders. Bel Magnetic Solutions, Broadcom, Cadence, CME Consulting, Commscope, Fluke Networks, Ideal Networks, Kinnex A, molex, Panduit, UDE, and the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory also contribute to the NBASE-T Alliance effort. And Amphenol, Aukua Systems, Cavium, Centec Networks, HPE’s Aruba, Microsemi, Netgear, Rohde & Schwarz, Spirent, Tektronix, Teledyne, and many others have adopted NBASE-T Alliance solutions.
Edited by Mandi Nowitz