Historically, the InterOp trade show had its heritage in being a public demonstration of various vendors’ Ethernet switches working together. In the days of old, you could see purple switches talking to dark grey switches talking to white switches, with some fanfare. It was exciting as new speeds of Ethernet entered the market. Over the past ten years, you would not have found such exhibits shown at the show.
But this week’s Interop show had an interesting twist, all found in a small booth. The N-Base-T (2.5 / 5.0 Gbps Ethernet) alliance was a ‘plugfest’ with products and parts from Aquantia, Centec Networks, Cisco, CommScope, Freescale, Intel, Marvell, Microsemi, Tehuti Networks and Xilinx. We found large spools of wire, lots of flashing lights and representatives from most of these companies, all demonstrating in a 15-foot wide booth, just large enough to hold up the N-Base-T banner.
The main and primary driver to 2.5/5 Gbps Ethernet speeds is the imminent introduction of Wave 2 802.11ac Wireless LAN access points which may exceed 1 Gbps of throughput under some conditions. The new 2.5/5 Gbps technology allows higher throughout over the same cabling infrastructure as has been used for 1 Gbps Ethernet. Enterprises are expected to use the new technology because re-cabling is very expensive when compared to upgrading switches and WLAN equipment.
Based on our research this week, we expect most of the leading switch and wlan vendors to adopt N-Base-T capable Ethernet.
So, Ethernet excitement is back! …new Ethernet speeds, new vendors, new chips, all focused on the Campus Switching market, something we cover specially in our Enterprise Edge report.