Leading networking companies believe that the Gigabit Ethernet Standard may be delayed by up to six months, according to network vendor Foundry Networks.
Mark Iliffe, European sales support manager for Foundry said the consensus among the Gigabit Ethernet Alliance - the group of top vendors dealing in gigabit technology - is that the standard will not be ratified in March as expected.
Iliffe said: ?The standard should have been agreed by March. It looks like this is not going to happen. The Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEEE) who ratify the standard only meet every three months so we are looking at June but probably September.?
Ethernet is the leading technology used to connect PCs and Servers to a network, the fastest form of which is Fast Ethernet - running at about 100 mbs.
Gigabit Ethernet offers a tenfold increase on current technology to 1,000 mbs. As companies require faster networks, analysts predict the market for gigabit-speed devices will be worth at least $1.5 billion by the year 2000.
Despite the delay in the standard, companies including 3Com and Foundry have been shipping Gigabit technology since the middle of last year. Both companies have got around the delay by issuing guarantees that they will make all their technology interchangeable with the standard when it is eventually agreed.
Robert Gohn, product line director at 3Com said: ? 3Com?s guarantee program assures customers that 3Com is assuming any risk that exists around deploying our Gigabit Ethernet products today.?
A source saidmultimode fiber-based implementations of the technology was delaying the agreement. At the moment beams of light are sent down a pipe at inconsistent speeds, causing various beams to arrive at their destination at different times. The standard is being held up until a test can be created to check that each portion of the signal is in sync.
Cisco, another member of the alliance, has decided to adopt a wait-and-see-policy and is not shipping any Gigabit technology until the standard is decided.
Cisco?s product marketing manager Joe Frost doesn?t believe that his company is risking losing out to the vendors already shipping. ?Fast Ethernet is available now for customers wanting high speed technology, ? he said.
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