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What's next for Ethernet?

Jim Duffy | May 21, 2013
400G in the short-term; longer-term, expect Petabit Ethernet in 40 years.

Also by 2053, data centers will be running petabit-per-port networks and wireless LANs at 50Tbps, Li believes. She sees 10T Ethernet ports on data center switches and servers, and hundreds of gigabits on WLAN links in 20 years.

Video and Big Data will drive much of it, Li says.

"People want more and more the experience of being there by not being there," Li says of video and virtual presence it can provide. "Facebook only represents the beginning of Big Data."

More and more switching will be done on the processor itself, and clouds will become a utility grid, Li predicts. And then a new generation of sensors will usher in new applications to analyze the huge volumes of data they generate.

But then the real kicker is when we network ourselves.

 "Ethernet technology will reach another growth spurt when humans join the network," Li says.

The BCI -- Brain-to-Computer Interface -- could be embodied with a chip in the human brain to control, for example, prosthetic limbs. Information gathered and retrieved by this chip could be stored, managed and upgraded through the cloud, Li says.

And with 100 billion humans on Earth in 2050, that could require Petabit Ethernet. Beyond that, we could have a Brain-to-Brain Interface in 2053, she says.

So with Ethernet speeds advancing by an order of magnitude every 10 years in the past 40, given these trends there's no reason to expect the progression to cease over the next four decades.

 

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