Given the rapid pace of technological advancements, our PCs are now scarily efficient compared to those from just a decade ago, and of course, performance is much-improved. That is, unless we're talking about wired networking. While SATA-based solid-state drives can easily peak at 500MB/s, the Ethernet connections we use today are the same we used a decade ago: 1Gbps.
If you're one of those who are fed up with not having faster Ethernet in our humble abodes, then you might like what the IEEE has just completed. A new standard, called 802.3bz, has been ratified for upcoming 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps speeds giving a boost of up to 5x over our current networks.
It's worth noting that 10Gbps networks are nothing new, but equipment costs are still well beyond what most regular consumers are willing to pay. Thus, these new upcoming standards could prove to be a serious boon for home users.
Don't fret: your $10,000 Cat5 Ethernet cables will work on the 5Gbps standard
Speed boosts are not the only thing to look forward to here; also notable is the fact that even the 5Gbps speeds can be used through the cables we use for 1Gbps operation right now. While all other networking equipment would need to be upgraded, cables that have been tediously laid out throughout the home or office can remain.
Sachin Gupta, VP of Product Management at IEEE, heralded the move, stating "Going beyond 1 Gb/s with existing Cat5e and Cat6 cables was little more than a talking point two years ago. But now with NBASE-T, we have the ability to extend the life of an enormous asset —your wired network. The Cat5e and Cat6 installed in just the last 15 years now exceeds an estimated 70 billion meters of cabling, which is more than 10 trips to Pluto."
Sure, that's impressive. But more people are even more impressed at the fact that the day of being able to upgrade from 1Gbps networking is in our sights (or sites, depending on how you want to spin it). And just in case you were wondering, products are already shipping that support the IEEE 802.3bz standard, albeit they're aimed at the high-end market.