A new family of standards is in development to extend the range of Ethernet to metro and access networks. Gigabit Ethernet is at the center of the effort. The original intent of the gigabit Ethernet standard, adopted in 1998, was to interconnect LANs running the original 10-Mbps Ethernet and the enhanced 100-Mbps fast Ethernet. Since then, developers have expanded gigabit Ethernet (sometimes called GigE) to a broader range of "wide area networks," including backbone fiber links in metropolitan networks and access lines running to businesses, neighborhood nodes, and individual home subscribers. Gigabit Ethernet over either point-to-point fibers or passive optical networks (PONs) has become a leading architecture for fiber-to-the-home systems, although formal final standards are still in progress [3].

The success of the Ethernet standards stems largely from their use of inexpensive mass-produced hardware and their compatibility with existing cables. Ethernet has become the standard for computer networking, leading to huge production of low-cost transceivers [3].

Gigabit Ethernet continues that tradition, with terminal costs a small fraction of those for 2.5-Gbps OC-48 telephone equipment. Seeing the potential for cutting costs, developers have hopped on the Ethernet bandwagon for metro and access systems. Interest began during the telecom bubble and continues today. Realizing the potential of Ethernet in these applications required fine-tuning and new standards. ...

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