My journey on the Ethernet Highway

By John D'Ambrosia

I have had many roles in the Ethernet community.  I was that green-kid who showed up for his first meeting, not really sure what he was getting himself into.  I have been a secretary.  I have been a study group chair.  I have been a task force chair.  I have been all of these, but first and foremost I have been a participant in the tale of Ethernet.

And what a tale it has been.  Almost five years ago, I got the opportunity to ask Bob Metcalfe, the father of Ethernet, if he had seen this all those years ago, when he had written that famous memo.  In all honesty, I don’t remember what Bob’s answer was, but the reality is that I don’t believe anyone could have seen where Ethernet has gone.

And where has Ethernet gone?  Quite simply – everywhere!

So, forgive me this moment of reflection.  What a long strange journey it has been.

What does this have to do with anything?  Well, the truth is – I’m not totally sure.  It is supposed to be a blog about the Ethernet roadmap.    And maybe I shouldn’t be surprised?  Ethernet has gone and is going everywhere.  Developing this incarnation of the Ethernet roadmap was the most challenging story I have ever participated in trying to tell.  Why?  Because, frankly, as I said, Ethernet is going everywhere.

In my role as Ethernet Alliance Chairman, I must worry about a very diverse membership.  Members who care about Power-over-Ethernet to rates of operation ranging from 10 Mb/s to 400 Gb/s.  Application spaces ranging from mm to those spanning tens of kilometers.  Ethernet has expanded beyond its enterprise roots – automation, automobile, hyper-scale data centers, service provider connections, wireless back-haul, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera!

And that is the point of the2018 Ethernet Alliance Ethernet Roadmap – Ethernet is going everywhere.  Before we ask ourselves – where is Ethernet going – maybe we need to ask ourselves – what road are we on?  I have joked that when talking about the Ethernet Roadmap – we might as well have been talking about the Ethernet highway system!

And that is the point – the Ethernet roadmap is the never-ending journey.  Ethernet will evolve and continue to serve the need of every application space that calls upon it.