Ah, the wonderful world of ethernet. Who here remembers back when 10Mb/s was fast? Then came the dual-use hubs and switches, bringing us all the way to 100Mb. Nowadays, though, you can barely buy a motherboard that doesn't go all the way to a gigabit LAN port, and most of the higher-end models come with two. Of course, gigabit ethernet is just starting
to take off as a true consumer appliance - which is why the IEEE has thought ahead to make the next standard
Rev your engines, guys and girls, we're going two orders of magnitude better than where we were - 100G. One hundred whopping gigabits per second of pure pr0n-downloading pirate power. Err, I mean, pure YouTube watching and MySpace browsing power. Right?
The move has been spurred by the increase in high-bandwidth consumption sites like YouTube, where users are now needing to pull down files on a daily basis that are immensely bigger than they were even a year ago. Streaming video is no longer acceptable at 320x240 - everywhere you look, people are wanting better content, faster...particularly advertisers, who pay a lion's share of the costs needed to keep the internet floating along.
A standard like this will be hard to implement, though. Therefore, the IEEE has appointed a committee to look into it which will start in January of 2007. Don't expect to see hubs hitting the store right after, either...we won't likely start seeing these types of products on shelves until 2009 or 2010. Even then, the new standard is designed for fibre networks, not copper - how this will translate to actual consumer use is anybody's guess.
Hopefully, the new technology will be a powerful upgrade that brings better, faster bandwidth to the end users. As I personally live in a land where connection speeds rarely pass the 2Mbit level without paying in blood, that would certainly be a nice change of pace. Only time will tell, though.
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