Sidebar: CX4: Standard on the Fast Track

Although the 10GBase-T Study Group faces slow progress on a version of 10 Gigabit Ethernet over twisted-pair as vendors debate its suitability for use on Cat 5 cabling, Dan Dove, the chairman of the IEEE task force that developed the 10GBase-CX4 standard for twin-axial cable, says his study group's work went quickly. The process took about a year to complete, which is half the normal time, he says.

"It was a phenomenally smooth process, which was the most amazing experience I'd ever seen in 15 years of working with standards groups," says Dove, also the principal engineer for physical-layer technologies at Hewlett-Packard Co.

Dove says the big difference this time was that people agreed that the standard needed to be done quickly and that delay would ruin it. "10 Gig optical did not launch the way people wanted it to, and the realization became clear that they needed to do something."

As for the twisted-pair standard, Dove says the task force considering it is "obviously not making rocket-launch progress, but their objective is a much more difficult electrical challenge." The chairman of the 10GBase-T Study Group, Bradley Booth, believes the standard will emerge in "early 2006." Members are still investigating the possibility of having the standard run on Cat 5 cabling, he says.

Dan Dove of Hewlett-Packard Co.
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Dan Dove of Hewlett-Packard Co.
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Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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