Crusty Cat 5e/6 cables just magically sped up to 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps

Thank you, IEEE, for approving the 802.3bz standard and faster ethernet on old wires


The IEEE has approved the specification covering 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps Ethernet, 802.3bz.

In particular, the approval signifies that the work item still incomplete at the end of 2015, the interface between the Media Access Control (MAC) and the physical (PHY) layers has been completed.

Last December, NBase-T Alliance leader Peter Jones explained to El Reg that the group wanted 802.3bz to provide connectivity to the latest-generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi kit without replacing existing Cat 5e/6 cabling.

As Jones blogs here:

With the astonishingly huge installed base of Cat5e/6 unshielded twisted pair (UTP) copper cable—70 billion meters and 1.3 billion outlets at last count—organisations across industries were facing an impending crisis. A new generation of 802.11ac Wave 2 devices was on the way and looking directly at a 1Gb/s roadblock.

The IEEE's approval means vendors can accelerate the rollout of products (which had already began, in the time-honoured practice of rolling pre-standard product).

Work on 802.3bz began in 2014. The Nbase-T alliance board consists of Aquantia, Cisco, CME Consulting, Intel, Marvell, NXP and Xilinx. ®


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