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There is lot of excitement (read this) about Cisco is leading the way to come up with a new standard  to deliver more than 1Gbps data rate using existing cat5e/6 cabling. NBaseT alliance (started by Cisco, Aquantia, Freescale and Xilinx) formulated to achieve below common goals.

  • Promote collaboration and dialogue for developing technology to enable speeds greater than 1Gbps on existing Category 5e and Category 6 cabling infrastructure.
  • Work in conjunction with standards bodies to standardize speeds greater than 1Gbps on existing Category 5e and Category 6 cabling infrastructure.

As you already aware, this is required to bring 802.11ac wave-2 product where it will deliver upto 6.8Gbps data rate. Customers who has already deployed cabling infrastructure cannot get max benefit, unless there is a way to deliver more than 1Gbps in their existing cabling.

So what does this mean to Cisco customers ? There will be a new Access Layer switch products will come into market that support this NBaseT (2.5G/5G over cat5e/6). So if your access layer switches are due to replace, then you have to think twice now. Go with 1Gbps switches or buy this NBaseT switches, I would wait for NBaseT 🙂

NBaseT-01I saw Peter Jones (@petergjones) chairing this alliance by looking at his twitter profile.

Principal Engineer@Cisco in Catalyst Switching (3850, ConvergedAccess, UADP, etc), NBASE-T alliance chair, 802.1/802.3 geek

He is the founder of ASIC used for UADP (Unified Access Data Plane) used in 3850/3650 Unified Access switch platforms (also in 5760 & Sup8e as well). Here is a Ciscolive presentation to learn about this new ASIC & UAPD architecture

This leads me to think these Unified Access switch platforms (next hardware version) will be leading the way support for this NBaseT in your access layer.

How many of you using 3850/3650 switches on you access layer today ? If you are not, time will come soon to decide.

Below is a recent IEEE RFI event presentation held on this.

Next Generation Enterprise BASE-T Access