An organisation has been set up to ensure interoperability between rival vendors' Gigabit Ethernet products.
The Gigabit Ethernet Consortium has been inaugurated by 15 major networking companies. Chief among the players involved are 3Com, Bay Networks, Cisco and Cabletron. The Consortium will operate under the guidance of the IEEE, the industry body in charge of the Gigabit Ethernet standard, technically known as IEEE 802.3z.
The Consortium is intended to provide a forum for industry discussion as well as testing. In a statement from 3Com, one of the key figures behind the initiative, the company claimed "by demonstrating and documenting multivendor interoperability, the Consortium will help bolster user confidence in deploying Gigabit Ethernet products this year".
"In an ideal world, interoperability would be assured for vendors implementing the same standard, but that's not the case even with stable and secure standards," said Steve Simlo, consulting engineer at Cisco UK. "This is a very useful initiative, as customers need to have interoperability proven so they can feel secure about products."
The Consortium will complement the activities of the Gigabit Ethernet Alliance, the organisation of leading networking vendors which actually defines the standard. The Gigabit Ethernet Alliance is well on track to establishing the Gigabit Ethernet standard early next year. Users can expect to see the first Gigabit Ethernet products coming out at the end of this year.
While the formation of the Gigabit Ethernet Consortium is to be welcomed, users should be asking why a body charged with interoperability testing is necessary when all Gigabit Ethernet products should be based on a common standard? Surely the whole point of having open standards is to ensure interoperability.
Early 1996 - Gigabit Ethernet Alliance working group formed
Late 1996 - basic concept agreement
Mid 1997 - working group ballot on the standard
Late 1997 - first products likely to appear
Early 1998 - standard expected to be ratified
Source: Gigabit Ethernet Alliance
The skeleton was unearthed more than 20 years ago in South Africa
Moon's dark side is mountainous, rugged and never visible from the Earth
The groundwater basins in some areas of Tehran have been damaged irreversibly
This is the first time that any spacecraft on Mars has recorded air vibrations on the planet