IEEE Launches Study Group to Explore 400 Gb/s Ethernet

New IEEE 802.3™ study group formed to examine ways to efficiently support ever-increasing, exponential bandwidth growth for Ethernet networks

PISCATAWAY, N.J.--()--IEEE, the world's largest professional organization advancing technology for humanity, today announced the launch of an IEEE 802.3™ “Standard for Ethernet” study group to explore development of a 400 Gb/s Ethernet standard to efficiently support ever-increasing, exponential network bandwidth growth.

“Traffic is growing everywhere—more Internet users, more ways to access the Internet more quickly, higher-bandwidth content, new applications enabled, etc.—and it’s critical that we move now to create a plan for the Ethernet ecosystem to evolve beyond today’s capabilities, in order to accommodate the burgeoning bandwidth tsunami,” said John D’Ambrosia, chair of the new IEEE 802.3 400 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group and chief Ethernet evangelist, CTO office, Dell. “The launch of this study group is the next critical step in evolving the IEEE 802.3 standard to stay ahead of industry’s needs. It builds on two years of open efforts around inviting Ethernet’s vast array of stakeholders into the work of assessing and tackling the market’s emerging application requirements.”

The IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment report, which precipitated the launch of the IEEE 802.3 Industry Connections Higher Speed Ethernet Consensus group in August 2012, forecasted that networks will need to support 58 percent compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) on average. Driven by simultaneous increases in users, access methodologies, access rates and services (such as video on demand and social media), the report said, networks would need to support capacity requirements of 1 terabit per second in 2015 and 10 terabit per second by 2020 if current trends continue. These open Industry Connections efforts helped build consensus on the need for an Ethernet solution beyond 100 Gb/s and to launch a “call for interest” within IEEE for a study group to explore development of a 400 Gb/s Ethernet standard.

“Ethernet is an arena of constant innovation, driven by the market demand for support of new ever-increasing bandwidth speeds, as well as new protocols, applications and media types,” said Alan Weckel, vice president enterprise and data center market research at Dell'Oro Group. “Global bandwidth requirements are continuing to grow exponentially, and that makes it so important that the IEEE 802.3 standards community take proactive steps such as assessing needs and launching this study group. Standards-based solutions are integral to maintaining business growth across the Ethernet ecosystem.”

Individuals interested in the future of IEEE 802.3 Ethernet wireline standards are invited to contribute to the IEEE 802.3 400 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group, which is scheduled to meet during the IEEE 802.1™/802.3 May 2013 Joint Interim, scheduled for 14-17 May 2013 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. For more information about the meeting, please visit

“An IEEE 802.3 study group is formed when there is interest in developing a request to initiate an IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standards-development project,” said David Law, chair of the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group and distinguished engineer with HP Networking. “The IEEE 802.3 400 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group will provide an opportunity for expertise from across application spaces and geographic regions worldwide to collaborate on a proposal for development of a 400 Gb/s Ethernet standard, and I look forward to its work in further galvanizing the Ethernet ecosystem around next steps and accelerating potential future standards-development activities.”

Ethernet is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Deployment of technology defined by the IEEE 802.3 standard is already globally pervasive, driven by the ever-growing needs of local area, access and metropolitan area networks around the world. Beyond traditional networks, new application areas such as networking for industrial, automotive and other industries are looking to expand their reliance on Ethernet in their networks. To better address the needs of all of these areas, the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard is constantly evolving and expanding. The success of the standard—from its inception through today—has been its open and transparent development process, which is an example of the "OpenStand" principles ( These principles encapsulate a modern paradigm for global, open standards that can be extended broadly to other technology spaces.

For more information about the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group, please visit For more information about the IEEE 802.3 400 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group, please visit

To learn more about IEEE-SA, visit us on Facebook at, follow us on Twitter at, connect with us on LinkedIn at or on the Standards Insight Blog at

About the IEEE Standards Association

The IEEE Standards Association, a globally recognized standards-setting body within IEEE, develops consensus standards through an open process that engages industry and brings together a broad stakeholder community. IEEE standards set specifications and best practices based on current scientific and technological knowledge. The IEEE-SA has a portfolio of over 900 active standards and more than 500 standards under development. For more information visit

About IEEE

IEEE, a large, global technical professional organization, is dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Through its highly cited publications, conferences, technology standards, and professional and educational activities, IEEE is the trusted voice on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. Learn more at

Supporting Quotes

Greg Bell, director, ESnet:

“Having just rolled out our 100G national network to accommodate the ever-increasing scientific data sets generated by light sources, accelerators and supercomputer simulations, ESnet welcomes this effort to formulate 400G standards. Not only is scientific discovery more and more reliant on big data, but it is also increasingly collaborative, so we’re very supportive of initiating this standards work. With the exponential growth we’re seeing in data flows, it’s critical that we stay ahead of the curve, rather than scrambling to keep up.”

Axel Clauberg, vice president aggregation, transport, IP (CTO-ATI) and fixed access (CTO-FIA), Deutsche Telekom AG:

“The development and standardization of 400 Gb/s Ethernet interfaces form an essential part in next-generation communication networks. It supports both higher-speed data center and network infrastructures, which are needed for a closer joint architecture in order to cope cost-effectively with the expected data-traffic growth. Deutsche Telekom as an innovative company supports the advanced 400Gb/s Ethernet standardization project.”

Bijal Sanghani, head of secretariat, Euro-IX

“The IEEE 802.3 Bandwidth Assessment report forecasted that the exponential growth of bandwidth consumption will continue throughout the rest of this decade. Internet exchanges are fully aware of this fact, as they face the never-ending challenge of staying in front of industry bandwidth demands. We are happy to see the formation of the IEEE 802.3 400 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group, as this makes the statement to the industry that Ethernet will continue to evolve to meet the needs of the industry.”


Shuang Yu, 732-981-3424
Senior Manager, Solutions Marketing

Release Summary



Shuang Yu, 732-981-3424
Senior Manager, Solutions Marketing