IEEE announced the availability of IEEE 802.3bj “Standard for Ethernet Amendment 2: Physical Layer Specifications and Management Parameters for 100 Gb/s Operation Over Backplanes and Copper Cables.” This amendment to IEEE 802.3 “Standard for Ethernet” is intended to support higher-density, more energy-efficient and lower-cost connectivity for Ethernet applications such as data centers and blade servers.

“Ethernet is always evolving, and this amendment represents an important evolutionary step for the global technology ecosystem supporting the application of Ethernet to fast-growing areas of networking,” says Adam Healey, chair of the IEEE P803.3bj Task Force and distinguished engineer with Avago Technologies. “IEEE 802.3 had previously defined 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s Ethernet to help alleviate bandwidth choke points in the network. Now IEEE 802.3bj adds 100 Gb/s operation over electrical backplanes and lower-cost, lighter-weight copper cables, as well as optional Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE) for 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s links. These are critical enhancements to the standard that are intended to both optimize and expand Ethernet’s options for physical connectivity.”

Rapid growth of server, network and Internet traffic is driving the need for higher data rates over backplanes and higher-density, lower-power and lower-cost “twinax” copper cables. IEEE 802.3bj was crafted through a globally open, collaborative development process to address these market needs. While maintaining compatibility with other IEEE 802.3 installations, the new amendment defines four-lane, 100 Gb/s backplane connections of up to 1 meter and four-lane 100 Gb/s twinax connections of up to 5 meters, and it extends optional Energy-Efficient Ethernet to new varieties of physical connectivity.

“Enhanced connectivity is increasingly important to the continuous innovation of networking technology, which will maintain backwards compatibility to the benefit of the diverse global Ethernet ecosystem,” says David Law, chair of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group and distinguished engineer with HP Networking. “The open standardization process created IEEE 802.3bj, which is designed to enhance the way Ethernet is already being used and empower new users of the technology.”

Addditional Resources: IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group; IHS Standards Store