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Innovation and Standards Update

- November 24, 2009 - 0 Comments

In my last blog post on standards and innovation (Why Standards Matter…And When They Don’t) I mentioned that Cisco’s VNTag, had been submitted to the IEEE for standardization. Last week, the IEEE authorized a project, 802.1Qbh: Bridged Port Extension, to amend the Ethernet switch standard to include capabilities like those provided by our VNTag technology.

Official Scope of Project:

Amendment specifies protocols, procedures, and managed objects to support Port Extension.  A Port Extender attaches to a MAC port of an 802.1Q bridge and provides additional MAC ports that are logically ports of the 802.1Q bridge to which it is attached (i.e. the “Controlling Bridge”).  The protocols, procedures, and managed objects specified in this amendment are expected to specify new behavior in bridges that support port extension as well as the behavior of Port Extenders themselves.  In addition, the protocols, procedures, and managed objects specified in this amendment support the cascading of Port Extenders.  To the extent technically reasonable, all frame filtering and relay functions remain in the Controlling Bridge. 

Use of a STag for Multichannel capability as being defined in Edge Virtual Bridging is envisaged to achieve this objective.  A new on-the-wire indication (e.g. a new tag) is envisioned to support remote replication for purposes including frame flooding and group address support.

As always, Cisco is committed to supporting 802.1Qbh in its products once it becomes a ratified standard.  More information about the proposed standard can be found at the following links:

On a side note, there is much in the media about the “clash of the titans” between Cisco and HP.  I still maintain that both companies have gotten this successful by doing what is right for the customer and, while we will compete,  that customer focus will not change.  In the case of 802.1Qbh, while there was vigorous and healthy debate on the project, in the end Cisco and HP collaborated to support each others efforts in this area, and, in fact, Paul Congdon of HP seconded the motion to approve the work.




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