IEEE 802.3 Energy Efficient Ethernet Study Group

IEEE 802.3 Energy Efficient Ethernet Study Group was recently formed by IEEE to work on standardization of saving energy on Ethernet technology. The major idea of energy saving is to reduce power consumption based on the link utilization of Ethernet interface.

For example, for an Ethernet interface that can support 10 Gb/s capacity, when the link utilization is high, then the full speed of data transmission will be carried out. However, if the link utilization goes to below 10% of the full speed, then it is possible to switch the interface speed from 10 Gb/s to 1 Gb/s. In general, 1 Gb/s interface speed consumes much lower power than 10 Gb/s interface speed. For an ideal case, it is also possible to change the power level continuously according to the link utilization.

To realize the transition between different types of interface speed and different power levels, protocols and mechanisms should be developed such that the transition will not cause packets dropped and not be noticed by the upper layer protocols and applications. These are just the objectives of the Energy Efficient Ethernet study group.

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