Bob Metcalfe, the 'father' of Ethernet, and Nan Chen, president of the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), have announced the start of testing for next-generation network traffic protocols.
'Carrier Ethernet' will deliver tens of Gbps transfer speeds as well as broadcast-quality video on demand.
Analyst firm Infonetics predicted that the Carrier Ethernet market should exceed $2.7bn in equipment revenues alone by 2008.
"I see Ethernet developing in four directions: up, down, over and across," said Metcalfe, who is also an advisory director of MEF.
"Up in speed. Whether we jump to 40Gbps or 100Gbps is more to do with the decision balance between telephone and computer companies than any limit to the technology.
"Ethernet is moving down to the eight billion processors shipped each year that are not yet networked. It's increasingly moving over wireless links (Wi-Fi, WiMax, ZigBee and others) which is ironic as it was derived from the 1970 ALOHAnet packet radio network.
"And now it's moving even further across the 'telechasm' between local area and wide area networks with the development of Carrier Ethernet."
MEF members can submit equipment for the new standard in April, and the first phase of certifications closes on 9 June.
The results of the first round of testing will be announced in September at the Carrier Ethernet World Congress in Berlin.
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