Sunday, January 28, 2007

Energy Efficient Ethernet

This just came to my attention, the IEEE 802.3 has formed a study group to investigate on Energy Efficient Ethernet (EEE). This study group met for the first time at the IEEE meets at Monterey. This effort is being led mainly by scientists from the Lawrence Brekeley National Laboratory, and includes participation from Cisco and Broadcom.

The outstanding issues document available here is an interesting read. It mentions that EEE will save 250 to 380 million $s a year from 1 Gig Ethernet and 40 to 80 million $s a year from 10 Gig Etehrnet. The main idea here is that Ethernet cards should be able to switch to lower data rates when link utilization is low. As an example, 1 Gig cards should be able to switch quickly between rates of 10 Mbps, 100 Mpbs, and 1 Gbps depending on link utilization. An interesting question is whether upper layers need to be made aware of the switching of rates?

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