HP drives standards for faster networking

Johannesburg, 10 Jul 2003
Read time 2min 50sec

Ultra high-speed networking to the desktop is something of a holy grail - it could be one step closer to reality, though, if recent news from IT business solutions company, HP, and an international standards authority is anything to go by.

Representatives from HP are leading a team comprising some 30 companies in a study group formed under the auspices of the IEEE, a globally-recognised standards-setting body. The group has been tasked with setting technology standards which lower the cost of high-speed connectivity. And most recently, it has been granted permission by the IEEE board to develop the standard for 10Gb copper Ethernet.

"The process of accessing large files across a network or downloading e-mails from a remote location can be frustratingly slow with today`s technologies ... it also seriously impacts the productivity of the business in question," explains Louis Helmbold, the ProCurve business unit sales manager for Africa at HP.

"There are ways around that - complex bandwidth management solutions or the creation of expensive fibre-connected server farms. However, we believe that 10Gb copper Ethernet is a potentially affordable alternative ... that`s why so much work is being put into developing standards for it."

The group`s plans have been on the table since November last year and revolve around developing a standard that combines a physical copper medium with the IEEE`s existing 802.3ae standard for 10 GBps Ethernet networks. Once the standard is developed and approved, it would provide a lower-cost option for interconnecting equipment located within roughly 15 metres of twinaxial cable, typically within a stack or between equipment racks.

According to Helmbold, the group has been working rapidly toward standard approval, with final sign off expected by the end of this year. Typically, standards are approved in two years, twice as long as the group`s approval time frame.

"More than 30 companies have participated in numerous meetings to develop this overview plan," says Helmbold.

"This level of commitment across the industry ensures that once the standard is approved, a wide variety of equipment will support a multitude of applications. We still have a lot of work to do to reach the finish line but as a result of the committee`s dedication and cooperative research, we`re up and running."

Networking is a strong product portfolio for HP in southern Africa - principally offered through the ProCurve family of Ethernet switches, routing switches and network-management applications. It forms part of the core series of infrastructure solutions that the company offers through its business partner channel.

"Our customers here require vastly varied degrees of connectivity and network speed. Right now most of those needs are met with existing technologies - however, it`s clear that if standards for higher speed networking can be ratified, there`s potential to positively impact our customers in this region," adds Helmbold.

More information about HP ProCurve networking solutions and products is available at http://www.hp.com/go/hpprocurve. More information on the IEEE Standards Association can be found at http://www.standards.ieee.org/.


HP is a leading global provider of products, technologies, solutions and services to consumers and businesses. The company`s offerings span IT infrastructure, personal computing and access devices, global services and imaging and printing. HP completed its acquisition of Compaq Computer Corporation on 3 May 2002. More information about HP is available at http://www.hp.com.

Editorial contacts
third wave communications Adrian Wainwright (011) 804 5271 adrian@3rdwave.co.za
Hewlett-Packard SA Sasha Vosloo (011) 785 1000 sasha.vosloo@hp.com
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