以太网的未来

www.net130.com     日期:2013-8-30    浏览次数:
出处:以太网联盟主席John DAmbrosia

当人们谈论以太网时,首先涌入我脑海中的形象是有线和连接电脑或笔记本的RJ-45 接头。由于以太网的普遍性,许多人都对其存在熟视无睹,就像接通电源一样接通以太网。而随着无线技术的普及,还有许多人或许认为以太网和这一切无关——视线不及之处,似乎就不存在。但是,无线路由器背后联接的仍然是以太网线——以太网总是在那里。

使用Wi-Fi或蜂窝技术接入互联网的人们,他们真的在使用以太网吗?答案很可能是肯定的。以太网是数据中心的主宰技术。让我们不要忘记,依赖于以太网回传的无线回传技术正在增长。

网络真的改变了世界。Metcalfe(以太网发明人)定律表明:“联网的价值和接入网络用户数的平方成正比。”我个人认为,这一定律适用于所有网络、所有接入用户和接入设备——包括工具价值、经济价值和社会价值都是如此。而作为占统治地位的联网技术,以太网帮助释放了这样的价值。

所以看一下你的电视的背后,也许它连接的就是以太网网口。看一下你的安全系统的背后,也许以太网口就在那里。当你下次在商店购物或在线购物时,看一下收银机是否经由以太网连接。想想你所应用的社交网络的背后,你每一次传送孩子的照片给父母吧——以太网就在那里。

作为技术专家,以太网未来应用的发展是我最喜欢的话题。首先,以太网将继续在传统的联网方面发挥重要作用,802.3工作组物理层新标准的不断演进即证明了这一点。这创造了巨大的知识产权财富,人们正在寻求用现有技术创造新的应用。从量的角度来看,其中一个最激动人心的应用就是汽车以太网的发展。其中有两种努力正在酝酿:一是在车载环境中提供1G/秒的连接,另一个是为各个汽车子系统提供电力。这些都基于现有的以太网技术。每当想到人们将在汽车中使用网络、并为现有整个以太网生态系统增添新内涵的时候,我就开始感到无比激动。

就像我上文提到过的,人们将使用现有以太网技术扩展应用。我认为,更重要的演进方向应该是整个以太网生态系统如何演进来支持所有这些新应用。在一些用例中,以太网的应用可能是自洽的,较少和其他网络产生关联。但我们曾经说过,把以太网连接到更广大的网络中将增加网络的整个价值。因此,我似乎看不到更快、更新的物理层以太网的发展会有尽头。

对于以太网未来发展面临的挑战,首先需要认识到以太网的持续成功为以太网的发展带来了新的力量派别和新的观点。在IEEE,75%成员意见 一致才能产生技术决策。因此,建立共识将始终是一个挑战。人们需要认识到,仅有一个好的创意是不够的,至少75%的成员认为它是个好创意才行。

以太网联盟认为,其存在价值就在于建立共识。为此,联盟将在今年10月15日在美国加利福尼亚州Santa Clara市举办第五届技术论坛,其主题就是“以太网的未来”。论坛将有数个小组讨论来探讨以太网未来所面临的挑战——包括有线无线的融合、车载以太网、在单一波长中通过光技术与以太网的结合以更经济的方式传输100G、以及SDN等。更多大会信息参见如下网址: 更多大会信息参见如下网址:http://conta.cc/16XPDT3。大会上我们还将请来以太网之父Bob Metcalfe——和他相比,在以太网发展方向上还有谁更有发言权呢?


以太网市场还会持续演进,一直会有新的初创企业涌现。我认为成功的厂商将具有一些基本特质。首先,他们需要认识到开放的产业标准将带来新的应用空间——尽管以太网在许多新应用中会取得成功,但这些新的应用的实现可能是困难的。其次,他们需要执行力。以太网产业成为一种全球性的现象,产品的推出需要及时。尽管我专注于硬件领域,仍认为软件的重要性不可否认——从虚拟化到软件定义网络都是如此。最后,我想我们不应该忘记以太网成功的最基本要素——低成本、足够好、不同厂商之间可以互联互通。

尽管如此,以太网最大的优势在于其卓越社区的存在。我们这些社区中的人们不希望看到以太网像恐龙一样灭绝,因此随时准备理解以太网持续演进的需求并为之而努力。

 

英文原文:

Q. Could you give a general comment about the roles Ethernet plays in the life of people in today and tomorrow?

A: Perhaps the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks about Ethernet is the cabling and RJ-45 connector that one plugs into your computer or laptop. Given its ubiquitous nature and its tendency to work, many just take it for granted, sort of like when you plug an electrical cord into a power outlet. And with the popularity of wireless technology, many may think that Ethernet is not even involved. Out-of-sight – out of mind. However, just like that Ethernet cable coming out of the back of the wireless router, Ethernet is always there.

And perhaps someone is using Wi-Fi or cellular technology to access the internet- are they really using Ethernet? The answer is probably yes. Ethernet is the dominant networking technology in data centers. I already pointed out Ethernet coming out of the back of wireless routers. Let’s not forget about wireless backhaul, where reliance on Ethernet backhaul is growing.

Networking has truly changed the world. Metcalfe’s Law states “ The value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system.” I personally think that this can be applied to any network, and as more people, and devices, connect to a network, any network, the functional, economical, and social value of that network grows. As the dominant networking technology, Ethernet is empowering that value.

So look at the back of your TV – chances are you will see an Ethernet port. Look at the back of your security system, there may be an Ethernet port there. Look at the cash register next time you are at the store and make a purchase, or consider your online purchases. Consider Ethernet when you are on social media. Consider Ethernet next time you mail pictures of your children to your parents. Ethernet will be there.

Q. What kinds of application area that Ethernet will play great roles in the future?

A. As a technologist, this is one of my favorite subjects. First, Ethernet will continue to play a significant role in the general networking industry, as evident by the on-going development of new physical layer specifications within the IEEE 802.3 Working Group. This is creating a wealth of intellectual property though, and people are looking to leverage existing technology into new applications. Perhaps one of the most exciting things happening for Ethernet from a pure volume perspective, is the development of “Vehicular Ethernet.” There are two efforts underway right now to provide data at 1 Gb/s within the vehicular environment, as well as power between sub-systems. These efforts are really existing Ethernet technologies. I get really excited when I start to think of how people will want to use a network in a car, and how this will create a brand new face to the current Ethernet eco-system.

Q. To fufill those tasks , how Ethernet technology will evolve?

A. As I noted, people are leveraging existing Ethernet technologies for these applications. In my opinion the bigger question is how will the Ethernet Eco-system evolve to support these new applications? In some instances the initial deployment of Ethernet may be in a self-contained environment with little interaction with the rest of the network. But as pointed out – connecting that then to the bigger network will increase the value of the overall network – therefore ultimately there will be real value in all networks being interconnected to one degree or another. Thus, I do not see an end to the development of newer, faster physical layers.

Q. What challenges Ethernet still faces with to meet those needs?

A. This is an excellent question. First, it needs to be recognized that the growing success of Ethernet brings new parties and perspectives to new Ethernet development efforts. This large mix of opinions can make reaching the 75% consensus level required for technical decisions within the IEEE challenging. So consensus building will continue to always be a challenge, and people should realize that when they come forward with a new idea. It is not enough to just have a good idea, at least 75% of the room needs to think it is a good idea.

The Ethernet Alliance recognizes the value it provides in industry consensus building. To that end, it is having the fifth Technology Exploration Forum on October 15 and 16th in Santa Clara, CA, USA. The theme of the event is “The Future of Ethernet” and there are a number of exciting panels that will address a variety of challenges Ethernet will face in the future- from the synergy between wired and wirelss technologies to to Vehicular Ethernet to Photonic Integration to doing 100Gb/s over a single lambda in a cost effective manner for Ethernet applications to software defined networking. For more information about this event see http://conta.cc/16XPDT3. And to top it off we will have Bob Metcalfe, the father of Ethernet there. Who has a better perspective on where Ethernet is going, than someone who has been there from the start?

Q. How the Ethernet market will evolve? What kinds of vendors will become more successful? Why?

A. The Ethernet market is constantly evolving, and there are always interesting start-ups emerging. I think there are some basic characteristics of those vendors who will succeed. First, they will recognize the value that open industry driven standards can bring to a new application space. And given Ethernet’s success and emergence in new applications and application spaces, recognizing these applications or application spaces can be tough. Next, they will need to execute. The Ethernet industry has become a world-wide phenomenon, and products need to be delivered in a timely manner. Also, while I am a hardware person, the importance of software, from virtualization to software defined networking, can not be denied. And finally, I think we should not forget the basics of what made Ethernet successful – low cost, good enough, that is interoperable between vendors, and just works!

Q. Is there any possibilities that there will be some new technologies take the place of Ethernet? What are the chances?

A. There is always a chance that something better will come along and provide a better value proposition. One only needs to look back at the early days of Ethernet when FDDI was the only 100 Mb/s physical layer technology. Along came Fast Ethernet at 100 Mb/s with its low cost 100BASE-T solution, and it quickly became the future of networking.

However, I think of the biggest virtues of Ethernet is its community of champions. Those of us involved do not want to see Ethernet go the way of dinosaurs, and are always reaching out to understand how Ethernet needs to continue to evolve.

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