Networking fundamentals expert Chris
The IEEE committee has been working on two new standards expected to finalize in 2010 that I predict will force a similar change in our networking environment: IEEE 802.az and IEEE 802.3at. Under IEEE 802.az, an Ethernet link can sit in an idle state and turn itself on only when data needs to be transmitted -- rather than consume power without reason. Research from Berkeley National Laboratory reported that using 1 Gb Ethernet cables capable of supporting the new standard would cut US energy bills alone by up to $250 million a year. Also, the IEEE 802.at standard will allow an increase in the amount of power that can be transmitted over Ethernet cables -- from 15.5 W to 25.5 W! This will allow a whole new class of products to be powered over standard Ethernet cables, for example wireless access points, desktop devices, etc.
You now might be able to see the big picture: Once vendors start rolling out their new products, these improvements will result in changes to our network equipment that we are currently unable to comprehend. One thing is for sure: It's going to be a very exciting year!
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This was first published in January 2010