FAQ

NBASE-T Alliance

What is the NBASE-T Alliance℠?
Which companies have joined the NBASE-T Alliance?
Why does NBASE-T™ technology need its own alliance?
What activities are organized by the NBASE-T Alliance and how can my company get involved?
What levels of membership are offered and how can I become a member?
What are the yearly fees to join the NBASE-T Alliance?
How is the NBASE-T Alliance organized and managed?
What is the NBASE-T Alliance IP policy?
How do I join the NBASE-T Alliance Marketing Working Group or Technical Working Group?
What are the future plans for the NBASE-T Alliance now that the IEEE 802.3bz standard has been approved?

NBASE-T Technology, Specifications and Standardization

What is NBASE-T™ technology and why is it needed?
What applications can benefit from NBASE-T technology?
What specifications have been released by the NBASE-T Alliance℠?
Why does the NBASE-T Alliance release specifications? Will the NBASE-T specification become a standard?
How does the NBASE-T Alliance work with standards organizations like IEEE?
What is the status of the IEEE 802.3bz standard?
Are the NBASE-T specification and IEEE 802.3bz standard compatible?
What is the downshift feature and why is it important?
Can I buy NBASE-T products today?
What is the NBASE-T Alliance working on next?

NBASE-T Alliance

What is the NBASE-T Alliance?

The NBASE-T Alliance℠ is a consortium focused on promoting and advancing 2.5GBASE-T/5GBASE-T Ethernet technologies over twisted pair copper cables. The alliance provides a forum for key stakeholders to discuss and address technical challenges.  The alliance develops and releases NBASE-T™ specifications to solve real-world problems faced by the industry. It supports testing events, demonstrations, industry awareness and education to facilitate the development and deployment of interoperable products.

Which companies have joined the NBASE-T Alliance?

The NBASE-T Alliance was founded in 2014 by Aquantia, Cisco, Freescale (now NXP) and Xilinx. Since then, the alliance has grown to more than 45 companies, representing all major facets of networking infrastructure such as access points, Ethernet switching, storage and computing, as well as the necessary components technologies required to deliver these applications including physical layer ICs (PHYs), processors, connectors, controllers, switches, FPGAs, Power-over-Ethernet ICs, cables and test equipment. A complete list of our members can be found here.

Why does NBASE-T technology need its own alliance?

The alliance provides a forum for consensus and collaboration around technology, specification and product development.  This process is important to solve real-world challenges and develop solutions that can be broadly adopted by the industry.

What activities are organized by the NBASE-T Alliance and how can my company get involved?

The NBASE-T Alliance participates at trade shows and conferences, including interoperability demonstrations, plugfests and exhibits.  The alliance also regularly publishes blogs and collateral with the goal of educating the industry about the benefits of NBASE-T technology. For more information on how you can get involved, please contact the NBASE-T Alliance Marketing Working Group Chair, at mktg-chair@nbaset.org or NBASE-T Alliance Administration at admin@nbaset.org.

What levels of membership are offered and how can I become a member?

Any company can submit an application to join the NBASE-T Alliance, which offers three levels of membership: Promoter, Contributor and Adopter.

Promoters have the ability to participate in all aspects of the alliance, including voting on proposed specifications, sitting on the board and participating in, as well as chairing, task forces and working groups.

Contributors have the ability to participate in, as well as chair, working groups and task forces.  In addition, contributor companies vote on one individual to represent the Contributor community on the board.

Adopters gain access to alliance specifications and collateral before they become publically available, participate in internal discussions about the alliance and have the opportunity to participate in alliance events such as interoperability demonstrations, plugfests and exhibits.

For more information on how to join the alliance, please visit the Become a Member section of our website.

What are the yearly fees to join the NBASE-T Alliance?

Yearly fees associated with each level of participation are as follows:

  • Promoter:  $20k
  • Contributor:  $10k
  • Adopter:  $5k

The NBASE-T Alliance is offering a 50% discount for new memberships and renewals effective September 1, 2016.

How is the NBASE-T Alliance organized and managed?

The NBASE-T Alliance is managed by a board of directors, comprised of representatives from promoter-member companies, as well as one elected representative from a contributor-member company.  Representatives from promoter- and contributor-member companies can also join one of two working groups—the Marketing Working Group and the Technical Working Group—to have input into either the promotional activities planned by the alliance or the technical aspects of the alliance specifications.

What is the NBASE-T Alliance IP policy?

The NBASE-T Alliance has adopted an IP Rights (IPR) Policy that is consistent with the industry standard practice used by organizations such as IEEE. Under the alliance IPR, a Member agrees to grant to other Members a license to its Necessary Claims, under Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory (RAND) terms.

How do I join the NBASE-T Alliance Marketing Working Group or Technical Working Group?

Member companies that are promoter or contributor level are encouraged to join the Marketing Working Group (MWG) and Technical Working Group (TWG) by logging in to their NBASE-T Alliance user account and completing the short online process.

What are the future plans for the NBASE-T Alliance now that the IEEE 802.3bz standard has been approved?

The alliance will continue to promote the 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T technologies through participation in trade shows and conferences, including interoperability demonstrations, plugfests and exhibits, while specifying technical features like the Downshift feature that enhance usability. We will continue to help companies in a wide range of industries understand the benefits of NBASE-T technology and help increase its use in the market.

NBASE-T Technology, Specifications and Standardization

What is NBASE-T technology and why is it needed?

NBASE-T technology allows Ethernet links to offer greater flexibility with new data rates of 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps over commonly deployed Cat5e and Cat6 cabling. The technology is based on signaling (derived from that used in 10GBASE-T) that boosts data throughput of up to 100 meters twisted pair copper cabling well beyond that supported by 1000BASE-T. It therefore enables users to boost the performance of enterprise, service provider and home networks based on Cat5e and Cat6 cabling in the most cost-effective, least-disruptive manner.  As an example, 802.11ac and 802.11ax wireless access points could need up to an aggregate of 5 Gbps of throughput. NBASE-T technology offers the ability to upgrade the data throughput without having to replace a single cable. For more information, please review the white paper NBASE-T Ethernet Technology Basis for the IEEE 802.3bz Standard.

What applications can benefit from NBASE-T technology?

The applications for the technology continues to expand in areas we had not originally even considered.  The current list of applications that can utilize NBASE-T technology are broken down into 4 categories:

Applications Graphic

What specifications have been released by the NBASE-T Alliance?

The alliance has released NBASE-T PHY interface specifications, and has adopted a first version of a single-port USXGMII MAC-PHY specification.  The PHY specifications support 2.5 Gbps and 5 Gbps rates over 100m of Category 5e or better cabling with a bit error rate of less than 10e-12. The MAC-PHY specification facilitates system development by enabling simple multivendor interconnection of MAC and PHY components.

For more information, please contact the NBASE-T Alliance at info@nbaset.org.

Why does the NBASE-T Alliance release specifications?  Will the NBASE-T specification become a standard?

While the alliance does not release its own standards, it was formed with the goal of accelerating the standards process by providing a forum for a broad range of stakeholders to build consensus around implementation, and to collaborate on the development of specifications for pre-standard product development, thus helping to build-out the NBASE-T ecosystem. Specifications enable members to begin work on real-world solutions, and subsequently deploy them in real-world applications—an important first step toward standardization.

The alliance worked to ensure compatibility between its specifications and the IEEE 802.3bz standard during its development. Because of this, the IEEE 802.3bz standard is compatible with the NBASE-T PHY Layer specification and existing NBASE-T products. We expect that current products implementing NBASE-T will be software upgradeable to support both NBASE-T and IEEE 802.3bz.

How does the NBASE-T Alliance work with standards organizations like IEEE?

Since IEEE meetings are comprised of individuals, as opposed to organizations and companies, the alliance doesn’t directly participate in these meetings.  However, many individuals from our member companies were actively involved in the 2.5GBASE-T/5GBASE-T standardization process via their participation in the IEEE P802.3bz Task Force.

What is the status of the IEEE 802.3bz standard?

The IEEE 802.3bz 2.5G/5GBASE-T standard was approved on September 22, 2016. The standard is in the process of publication and will soon be available for purchase at the IEEE Standards Store.

Are the NBASE-T specification and IEEE 802.3bz standard compatible?

The technical baselines incorporated into the IEEE 802.3bz standard are compatible with the NBASE-T PHY Layer specification and existing NBASE-T products. We expect that current products implementing NBASE-T will be software upgradeable to support both NBASE-T and IEEE 802.3bz.

What is the downshift feature and why is it important?

Downshift is a feature of the NBASE-T specification not covered in the IEEE 802.3bz standard. It enhances the usability of the 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T technology by offering a way for the network systems to reliably select the best speed that the cabling plant can support. This feature allows link partners to choose a lower speed when the available cabling is not able to support the highest common denominator speed.

Can I buy NBASE-T products today?

Yes. System-level solutions, PHYs and other component products compatible with the NBASE-T specification have been shipping for several months and are orderable now. Please check our member products page online. We expect many more NBASE-T (and IEEE 802.3bz) products to be released over the next 12 months and on an ongoing basis after that.

What is the NBASE-T Alliance working on next?

The alliance is constantly evaluating proposals from member companies to address industry challenges in the area of connectivity over twisted pair copper cabling using Ethernet.

To become a participant, please contact the alliance and request the participant agreement form, as well as the IPR Policy and the Bylaws.

Contact