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.

Learn more: www.nbaset.org


Chris Spain

VP Product Management