IEEE 802.1 - Open Standards

Cables connecting networking hardware

Cisco employees have made significant contributions to industry standards over the past three decades. For example, Cisco Fellow Norm Finn has contributed technical expertise to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) 802.1 Working Group since 1996.

This group develops standards for bridges (Ethernet switches to manage lower sub-layers of Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) Layer 2). The Cisco Discovery Protocol, a widely-deployed protocol in enterprises, employs IEEE 802.1AB Link Layer Discovery Protocol. Finn’s professional contributions include editing industry standards 802.1s, 802.1ag, and 802.1Qau, and collaborating with 802 Working Groups, ITU-T, and Metro Ethernet Forum to enhance 802.1 standards.

One collaboration between ITU-T Study Group 13 and IEEE 802.1 yielded 802.1ag, which was built on Cisco Connectivity Fault Management and became a widely-deployed standard.  Finn’s work lead to C-GVRP (an improved version of 802.1u GVRP) and to IEEE 802.1ak: Multiple VLAN Registration Protocol (a standardized version of C-GVRP).

Finn and Hugh Barrass of Cisco collaborated on 802.3 Ethernet, which provides asynchronous networking using carrier sense multiple access with collision detection (CSMA/CD) over coaxial twisted-pair copper and fiber media. IEEE 802.3ad,Link Aggregation and Link Aggregation Control Protocol standardizes Cisco development of data plane operation and automatic control protocol.

Finn and Barrass also cooperated with IEEE 802.1 and 802.3 to develop a standardized, improved version of the Cisco Port Aggregation Control Protocol (PAgP).  Another Cisco employee, Andrew Myles, contributed his expertise to 802.11 Wi-Fi, a Wireless LAN Media Access Control and Physical Layer specification.

Still other Cisco employees edited IEEE 802.1Qau and .1BB, applying early versions of Cisco Nexus 7000 products. They also collaborated with other 802.1 companies to standardize techniques that promise to unify Internet data, interprocess communications, and storage traffic into a single Ethernet network.

Cisco thought leaders have developed industry standards since Cisco was founded, according to Finn. “Today's value-add becomes tomorrow's commodity. We recognize that process drives market growth in networking technologies, to the benefit of customers, vendors, and competitors.”