Ethernet applications continue to diversify as IEEE 802.3 adds more work areas

By Ethernet Alliance

By Mark Nowell, Vice President, Ethernet Alliance; Distinguished Engineer, Cisco


Last month, the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group met in Vienna, Austria to continue its work in writing Ethernet specifications for the world.   These meetings are typically very busy with numerous activities happening simultaneously. And this week was no different!  There is currently work underway in higher speed technologies (100 Gb/s electrical SERDES and 100 Gb/s per wavelength optical), higher speed access (BiDirectional and PON), longer reaches (up to 80 km including DWDM coherent interfaces), higher speed automotive and new low speed (10 Mb/s) interfaces for today’s Industrial automation and IoT applications.

Seemingly this isn’t enough work to keep the Ethernet group busy. During the week, three new study groups were approved, and work will begin at the September IEEE 802.3 session in Indianapolis:

The “Automotive Optical Multi Gig” Study Group will investigate the use of optical interfaces at higher speeds (up to 10 Gb/s) to be used for in car connectivity.  The EMC robustness of optical interfaces is being touted as a major advantage in an electrically noisy environment.  The consensus building presentation can be found at .

The “Improving PTP Timestamping Accuracy on Ethernet Interfaces” Study Group will investigate how to improve the timestamping accuracy of Ethernet interfaces to increase support and adoption of Ethernet and the compatibility with other standards bodies all working towards the highly anticipated 5G mobile network deployments.  The consensus building presentation can be found at

The “10SPE Multidrop Enhancements” Study Group will investigate enhancing IEEE 802.3cg (10SPE) multidrop (including more nodes, longer reach and power delivery) to expand the target applications within the automotive, building automation, and industrial automation market segments. The consensus building presentation can be found at

Ethernet’s footprint continues to grow. This new IEEE 802.3 work clearly demonstrates the increasing breadth, and critical role, for Ethernet across all aspects of the communication industry.

The Ethernet Alliances’ role as “The Voice of Ethernet” is growing along with the technology itself. To help the community understand the dynamism and changes in the industry, the Ethernet Alliance created the “2019 Ethernet Roadmap,” available for download at