A group of five tech companies including Microsoft, Google, Arista Networks, Mellanox Technologies, and Broadcom, have come together to form an industry consortium to give 25 Gbps and 50 Gbps Ethernet a push. The consortium was formed after plans to create official IEEE specifications didn't work out due to a perceived lack of support.

Dubbed the 25G Ethernet Consortium, the group yesterday announced the availability of a specification optimized to allow data center networks to run over a 25 or 50 Gigabit per second (Gbps) Ethernet link protocol.

The specification, which aims to support Ethernet-based transmission between server network interface controllers (NICs) and top-of-rack (ToR) switches, covers physical and MAC layer behaviors, including virtual lane alignment, autonegotiation, and forward error correction characteristics.

"This new specification will enable the cost-efficient scaling of network bandwidth delivered to server and storage endpoints in next-generation cloud infrastructure, where workloads are expected to surpass the capacity of 10 or 40 Gbps Ethernet links deployed today", the group said in a statement.

The specification adopted by the Consortium will result in up to 2.5 times higher performance per physical lane or twinax copper wire between the rack endpoint and switch compared to current 10 Gbps and 40 Gbps Ethernet links.

The new specification is being made available royalty-free by the Consortium members to any data center ecosystem vendor or consumer who joins the Consortium. The group expects that the technology based on these standards should be available in the market within the next 12 to 18 months.