Researchers at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) have announced the formation of a group that will be tasked with developing the next speed grade of Ethernet. The group is expected to include users and producers of systems and components for telecommunications carriers, Internet exchanges, financial markets, data centers, multiple system operators (MSOs) networking systems and high-performance computing.

Research from the IEEE 902.3 Ethernet Bandwidth Assessment report forecasts that networks will need to support capacity requirements of 1 terabit per second (Tbps) by 2015 and 10 Tbps by 2020. This is based on observations that show bandwidth associated with core networking doubles every 18 months.

The problem isn't with home computers but with massive companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon that serve pages on the Internet. As these networks continue to experience massive growth, they will need faster networks to keep up with the increased number of users and extra bandwidth that new features will demand. If they don't have access to more bandwidth, they won't be able to expand or offer new services which would result in slowdowns and less innovation.

It's unclear if 400Gbps or 1 Tbps will become the next standard. It's more feasible and economically sound to develop the slower standard but of course, those in favor of the 1 Tbps will need to argue that it is technically and economically practical to build. Chair of the IEEE John D'Ambrosia doesn't know when a new standard will be selected but he expects the project to move along at a brisk pace.