ARS Technica reports the HSSG (Higher Speed Study Group) has decided to standardize both the 40Gbps and 100Gbps speeds as part of the new IEEE 802.3ba specification:
In the end, unable to come up with a consensus, the HSSG decided to standardize both the 40Gbps and 100Gbps speeds as part of the IEEE 802.3ba spec, with connection equipment for speed having different physical specifications. 40Gbps links can be up to one meter long for switch backplanes, 10 meters for copper cable and 100 meters for fiber optics. The 100Gbps spec will add specifications for 10- and 40-kilometer links over single-mode fiber. The feasibility of 100Gbps Ethernet transmissions was successfully tested back in November of last year.
According to D'Ambrosia, this is the first time that an Ethernet standards group has approved two different speeds for a single standard. If the IEEE approves the spec, the standard may be fully completed by 2010, with devices and equipment that supports it expected to follow shortly thereafter.