The Ethernet Alliance is a US-based nonprofit organization that works to set the standards for Ethernet communications over networks. This past March they released their 2015 Ethernet Roundup which detailed the future types of Ethernet that are being developed.

Ethernet is the world’s most commonly used network technology. Ethernet standards have evolved over the past thirty years from the initial 10 Mbps bandwidth to 100, 1000 Mbps (1 Gigabit), up to 10 Gigabits per second. Within the past two years standards have been established for 40 and 100 Gigabits per second. Currently these high-bandwidth technologies are typically used to back haul large amounts of data traffic between telecom closets and equipment.

The Ethernet Roundup details some of the potential future of Ethernet development. Currently under consideration are four new speeds – 2.5 Gbps, 5 Gbps, 25 Gbps, and 400 Gbps. Along with these projects are plans for potential speeds of 50 and 200 Gbps.

The reasons for this wide variety of Ethernet types and speeds are market driven, and are anticipated to have applications in various market segments such as consumer and residential, enterprise and campus, large data centers, and service providers such as cable and telco ISP suppliers.

There are two primary reasons for this growth of Ethernet usage. First is the ubiquity of Ethernet communications and the corresponding backwards compatibility that has been included in the newer forms of Ethernet, so end-users can organically upgrade their networks without the expense of ripping everything out and installing new components. The other reason is the high quality of connectivity that is available in fiber optic links and high-end copper UTP cabling, providing the paths needed for these high bandwidth technologies to use.

For the low voltage industry the message is clear that when installing any network cabling segments end-users should be informed of the future of Ethernet technologies, and that their investment today in high-grade Cat6 and fiber optic links will pay huge dividends in the future when they want to (or are forced to) upgrade portions of their networks to the new and higher bandwidth Ethernet technologies.

ADI offers a full roster of training opportunities throughout the year that covers a range of industry trends and provides tips for easier installations. Click here to check out all of the upcoming training events from ADI.