Prospects for RPR
The RPR is intended to serve a variety of needs. Local exchange carriers can use RPR to offer a shared MAN capability available to small and medium-sized businesses in a metropolitan area. Larger organizations, with facilities spread over a campus or metropolitan area, can support their own private MAN using RPR. Because of its high data rate and robustness, RPR will also be attractive within a local area of Internet service providers and Internet server farms.
IEEE 802.17 is backed by the RPR Alliance (http://www.rprAlliance.org), consisting of system vendors, silicon vendors, carriers, service providers, and individual networking consultants. RPRA is participating in establishing the objectives and the plans to develop the standard and demonstrate interoperability. Whereas the 802.17 working group is focuses on technical issues, RPRA is focused on marketing issues.
There is still a lot of work to be done before IEEE 802.17 is a final, approved standard. A first draft of the standard is scheduled for January 2002. The revision and approval cycle leading to a final standard could take an additional year. However, once the technical specification begins to stabilize, we can expect RPR products to appear.