Eleven leading networking and computer companies have formed an alliance to develop the 1Gbps Ethernet standard.
Announced last week, the Gigabit Ethernet Alliance consists of 3Com, Compaq, Bay Networks, Cisco, Granite Systems, Intel, LSI Logic, Packet Engines, Sun Microsystems, UB Networks and VLSI Technology. Other companies are expected to join the group, which is keen to attract as many members as it can. Digital and IBM have both been in talks with alliance members, which are confident that the two companies will come on board.
Alliance chairman Tony Lee, a senior network product manager at Sun Microsystems, said Hewlett Packard's optical division is already contributing with its fibre optic technology. HP's involvement is key as it was against including the carrier sense multiple access/collision detection protocol in fast Ethernet - an important aim of the alliance.
John Sedzikowski, UK marketing director at 3Com, said: 'The current number of alliance members is by no means definitive. We are establishing an industry standard so we need as many members as possible.'
He revealed that 3Com has been experimenting with a 1Gbps product for about a year and it is understood that Packet Engines is at a similar stage. The alliance expects there will be a commercially available product within 12 to 18 months. It will continue its activities until 1Gbps Ethernet is formally standardised with established guidelines for interoperability and internationally published standards.
Many of the alliance's founders were also involved in the Fast Ethernet Alliance, which concluded its findings in September 1995. The Gigabit Ethernet Alliance is planning to use its predecessor as the model for its approach.
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