Q: What is IEEE 802.3bz 2.5 gigabit Ethernet?
A: IEEE 802.3bz 2.5 gigabit is a new data rate developed to fall between two existing data rates, gigabit Ethernet and 10 gigabit Ethernet. The standard is referred to as 2.5GBase-T. Develop by the IEEE and formally known as 802.3bz, 2.5GBase-T is intended to operate over existing Category 5e and Category 6 infrastructure. Like gigabit Ethernet, it utilizes all 4 pairs of the cable. However, unlike the slower gigabit Ethernet, it uses the full 0-100 Mhz range making it ideal for Category 6, but potentially problematic for Category 5e infrastructures. Just like 10-gigabit Ethernet which can run over some Category 6 links, it is heavily distance restricted. It can also, of course, operate over the higher performing Category 6A infrastructure. 2.5GBase-T is intended to be helpful in a couple scenarios. It can be used for those who wish to increase their data rates over their existing Category 5e or Category 6 infrastructure. Although, as is the case with any Ethernet data rate, the quality of the components used as well as the installation will impact actual data network speeds. For those users who have prepared for the future by installing a Category 6A infrastructure, utilizing 2.5GBase-T could be seen as an interim solution if a cost savings on network electronics is desired. Then, when the appropriate time comes, upgrading to the faster 10GBase-T electronics will not be an issue since Category 6A was designed to accommodate it.