Ethernet Groups Form an Alliance
Nobody, really, according to the Ethernet Alliance, which launched today. (See Vendors Form Alliance.) Yes, it's a marketing group, but one that hopes to become the home for any Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) 802 marketing efforts, saving money and effort as well as giving the technology a more unified platform.
Founding members of the alliance say the idea makes sense, given that Ethernet is well established in the public mind.
"We used to have these one-off alliances that were developed around particular technologies," says Blaine Kohl, VP of marketing for the Ethernet Alliance. Examples would include the 10-Gigabit Ethernet Alliance, which disbanded in 2001, and the Ethernet in the First Mile Alliance (EFMA), which got glommed into the MEF . (See MEF Absorbs EFMA.) "It was time for us to grow up and think of it more cohesively," Kohl says.
The Ethernet Alliance has set itself up as a California nonprofit group based in Mountain View, but its headquarters are in Austin, Texas.
Initial members are Agere Systems Inc. (NYSE: AGR.A), Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), Force10 Networks Inc. , Foundry Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY), Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC), Quake Technologies Inc. , Samsung Corp. , Sun Microsystems Inc. , 3Com Corp. (Nasdaq: COMS), Tyco Electronics Ltd. (NYSE: TEL), and Xilinx Inc. (Nasdaq: XLNX)
Companies listed as "participating" are ADC (Nasdaq: ADCT), Aquantia Corp. , and Tehuti Networks Ltd., the chip startup Kohl hails from. The group is headed by president Brad Booth, a representative from Quake and a former director of the 10-Gigabit Ethernet Alliance.
Beyond marketing, the Ethernet Alliance wants to nurture new projects that want in on the IEEE process. "A lot of times they come into 802.3 to find they can't get a project started," Kohl says.
The lingering question is how the Ethernet Alliance will work with the MEF. Recent moves such as the MEF's certification programs indicate that that group is on the rise and doesn't want a hand from any umbrella organization. (See MEF Rubber Stamps Ethernet Gear, MEF Adds Carrier Certification, and LR Names 2005 Leading Lights Winners.)
The Ethernet Alliance has extended a no-fee membership offer to the MEF, but the MEF isn't biting so far. "We wanted to make sure the market has a clear understanding of what each group is trying to do," says Nan Chen, MEF president.
Specifically, the MEF would like to see the Ethernet Alliance stick to IEEE 802.3 standards, which include first-mile Ethernet, backplane specifications, and Ethernet over copper. What the MEF doesn't want is for the Ethernet Alliance to cover all IEEE 802 groups, which would include wireless LAN (802.11), WiMax (802.16), and resilient packet ring (802.17). "A lot of the earlier things we'd seen indicated they wanted to be positioned as the single voice for Ethernet," Chen says.
— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading