Multi-Gigabit Ethernet is here – IEEE 802.11bz

In June 2015, the created a working group to bring two industry alliances together to deliver Multi-Gigabit . Work done by the NBASE-T and MGBASE-T industry groups is brought together to deliver IEEE 802.11bz. The is now ratified and is marketed as by and Smart Rate by HPE and their division.

This means those Cat 5 and Cat 6 cables you have in place will support speeds of up-to 5Gb/s. This allows current infrastructure to support those new Wi-Fi access points that are coming out. These have the challenge that they have a wider Wi-Fi than the ethernet port connecting them to the LAN. The reduced to the LAN means the access points can not achieve their full capability.

The aim here was to provide a way of using higher bandwidth links to the access points, using current cables. Most wireless access points are installed in locations where only a single cable run is made to the device. A second cable just in case a problem occurred with the first wasn’t cost-effective. Expansion of Wi-Fi is normally by increasing density of access-points, not by placing them together.. Bundling cables to form a LACP (Link Aggregation Control Protocol) pair isn’t really an option, as the second cable is missing.

There isn’t the bandwidth available in the current cabling to run 10Gbps links. These require Cat 6A cables to operate correctly. The spectral bandwidth of the cable needs to support 500Mhz, rather than the 100Mhz needed for 1Gb/s Ethernet. This avoids the cost of re-cabling, which is a disruptive and costly exercise.

Connecting new access-points to the network doesn’t require new cables with this standard. At the other end of the cable is a switch, this also needs to understand the new signals it receives. With modular switches and stacks, it is easy to add (or replace) the capacity just for the ports that support the wireless access points.

The NBASE-T group formed in October 2014, and comprised Cisco, , Freescale and Xilinx, many others have joined since then. The MGBASE-T alliance formed in December 2014, and comprised Aruba, Avaya, , Brocade, Delta Electronics, Delta Networks, Freescale (again), Pulse Electronics and Ruijie Networks. All of these would have worked hard to deliver standards compliant silicon and switches.

So in the near future, expect both access points and switches with 802.11bz compliance from the vendors above. It may be that in the future, you will also see network cards for workstations and servers with this capability. Finally the future will be faster with Multi-Gigabit Ethernet.

Avaya Unfortunately, we could not get stock quote NASDAQ:AV this time.
Broadcom Unfortunately, we could not get stock quote NASDAQ:AVGO this time.
Brocade Unfortunately, we could not get stock quote NASDAQ:BRCD this time.
Cisco Unfortunately, we could not get stock quote NASDAQ:CSCO this time.
Delta Electronics Unfortunately, we could not get stock quote TPE:2308 this time.
Freescale Unfortunately, we could not get stock quote NYSE:FSL this time.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise Unfortunately, we could not get stock quote NYSE:HPE this time.
Pulse Networks Unfortunately, we could not get stock quote OTCMKTS:PULS this time.
Xilinx Unfortunately, we could not get stock quote NASDAQ:XLNX this time.

Updated: 18 May 2017 – removed stock code for Aruba, now part of Enterprise Unfortunately, we could not get stock quote NYSE:HPE this time..