Introducing the NBase-T Alliance – Redefining Access Networks

October 28, 2014 - 2 Comments

Today, Cisco, Aquantia, Freescale and Xilinx announced the founding of the NBase-T Alliance.  Key goals of the alliance are as follows:

  • Promote collaboration and dialogue for developing technology to enable speeds greater than 1Gbps on existing Category 5e and Category 6 cabling infrastructure.
  • Work in conjunction with standards bodies to standardize speeds greater than 1Gbps on existing Category 5e and Category 6 cabling infrastructure.


The IEEE 802.11ac Wave 1 standard has already delivered 1 Gigabit wireless speeds to enterprise access networks. Soon, the industry will introduce 802.11ac Wave 2 products that could deliver wireless speeds up to 6.8Gbps. Similarly, products based on 802.11ad standard could deliver speeds up to 7Gbps. And the 802.11ax standard while in its formative stages has a goal to quadruple the throughput in the 5GHz band. Other emerging technologies such as Li-Fi could also facilitate access networks in the multi-gigabit range for the Internet of Everything.

However, the majority of Ethernet cables deployed between access switches and APs are Category 5e, which currently support a maximum speed of 1Gbps. Because of this, customers cannot take full advantage of 802.11ac Wave 2 and subsequent technologies without upgrading the cabling infrastructure.

This creates a market need for supporting speeds that are faster than 1Gbps on existing Category 5e and Category 6 cables. And, this is exactly the problem NBase-T Alliance members will help address.

We are excited to be part of NBase-T Alliance because this collaborative effort has the potential to bring so many benefits to enterprise customers, and to industry participants, such as:

  • Future Proofing: Deployment of 2.5GbE and 5GbE data rates over existing Cat 5e and Cat 6 cables without disruptive upgrades to cabling infrastructure.
  • Enable greater wired throughput for 802.11ac Wave 2 Aps and future access technologies: Support all existing PoE standards and UPOE (60W per port) with existing cabling plant.
  • Interoperability: Promote a unified technology for 1G+ speeds for deployments in enterprise networks by facilitating a healthy dialogue between eco-system partners and the standards bodies.

We look forward to many fruitful projects that the alliance can take on for the benefit of customers. So, please spread the word, and encourage your IT partners to join the alliance.

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  1. I’m also very excited to hear that a friend of mine Peter Jones @petergjones of Cisco is heading up this Alliance.

    Having Peter at the helm with the support of @Cisco, along with his active participation with the IEEE, this will likely be a key alliance for all vendors to be apart of.

    Wireless and the IoT is the next big thing and it’s here now!

    We need to prepare and help our customers understand the importance of what is coming tomorrow, because tomorrow will come faster then you think. If we can make it easier on customers to adapt to new technologies without a major forklift of Layer 1, the possibilities are endless.

    For those of you that don’t know, Peter is one of the founding fathers of the #UADP Unified Access Data Plane team. It’s a pleasure to know him and my hats off to him.

    NBase-T Alliance will be a success.


    • @WirelessStew,

      Thanks for the whole hearted endorsement.

      I have high expectations to live up to.