IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Standards & Compliance Testing

Verify transmission and signaling performance for hosts, hubs, switches, and routers with accurate electrical testing for Ethernet 10M, 100M, and 1000M..

Tap into GRL's expertise and address PHY layer conformance for networking & backplane technologies, complete with standard compliance and debugging.

IEEE 802.3 electrical and optical characterization combined with OIF-CEI networking offers backplane standard support of up to 400G, inclusive of 56/112Gb/s PAM4, Base-CX/KR/KX, and XAUI/CAUI/CAUI4/CDAUI/200GAUI-4 and 400GAUI-8, 10GBASE-T, CEI 25G/56G, and Infiniband.


  •  PHY Conformance
  • Characterization for SERDES/IC
  • Hosts
  • Backplanes
  • Network Adapters

What are the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Test Standards?


An overview of Ethernet technology

Ethernet technology supports signal transmissions between common home and work devices through an interconnected computer area network. Ethernet testing ensures that mobile phones, IoT devices, smart wearables, automotives, desktops, laptops, and servers connected to network routers or switches are fully functional with long cables. 

Classified under the IEEE 802.3 specification, Ethernet represents the oldest and most common interface in the market. With demand for data centers growing, Ethernet specifications must also expand beyond the highest specification of 400G transmission speed in order to meet market demand in performance, transmission distance, and interoperability between products.

Refer to the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet Working Group archives for more information:


What is the IEEE?

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is the world’s largest professional association dedicated to shaping a more advanced technological landscape for the betterment of humanity. The association comprises distinguished researchers and corporate leaders who develop and formulate new standards in the fields of electrical machinery, technological computing, and information communication. 

Visit for more information.


Latest Ethernet test specifications

To address rising standards for Ethernet compliance testing and verification, GRL uses comprehensive, integrated tools that comply with the latest Ethernet Test specifications:

  • IEEE Std 802.3TM-2018 (Revision of IEEE Std 802.3-2015)
  • SFF-8431 Specifications for Enhanced Small Form Factor Pluggable Module SFP+ Revision 4.1, – Jul. 6, 2009

IEEE 802.32 Ethernet test categories

GRL offers Ethernet testing for host, HUB, switch, and routers. Details on broadcasting, duplexity, and network interface are outlined in the following table:

Ethernet test table categories_definitions of hub_switch_router_broadcasting_half_full_duplex_WAN_LAN_interface



Technical resources

  • Application Note: Ethernet Introduction


Technical compliance test tools


  • PAM4 receiver automated test software Tektronix (GRL-PAM4-RXA)
  • SFP+/QSFP+ receiver automated test software Tektronix BERTScope™ (GRL-SFPP-RX)

What steps are involved in the Ethernet Test Process?

Ethernet test process flow chart_passing requirements_sending and receiving DUT_debugging


1. Filling the product information form

Kindly fill in the one-page product information form with key details on the product that will be tested before proceedings commence. Do note that product speed and DUT test mode entering method are essential fields that will determine how test parameters will be executed.

2. Completing the self-assessment report

GRL labs will issue an Ethernet self-test report once test proceedings have concluded.  

Ethernet test items and instruments


Test items overview

IEEE 802.3 compliance tests for 10, 100, and 1000BASE-T Ethernet physical layers ensure reliable communications over an Ethernet network. Devices under test (DUT) are placed in specified IEEE 802.3 modes before being executed with an oscilloscope that operates a specific Ethernet compliance software test suite. 

Note that PHY tuning may be necessary for products over 1000BASE-T depending on their design. Tuning must be executed while measurements are being taken to ensure fixture of appropriate settings such as emphasis, amplitude, and CTLE settings. Unstable behavior or low throughput performance may be caused as a result of poor PHY performance.

10/100/1000 Base-T test items

Ethernet speed table for 10_100_1000_Base-T test items_template_parametric_return loss_voltage_overshoot_DCD_Jitter


10G Base-T Test Items

Ethernet-10g-base-T test item_speed table_frequency clock_lineraity_return loss_jitter_power_voltage


SFP+ & QSFP+ Test Items

speed test table for SFP+ and GSFP+ items_eye mask_jitter_voltage_rise time_fall time_jitter tolerance test_rx


SFP28 & QSFP28 Test Items

Speed table for SFP28 and GSFP28_main voltage_jitter and data rate_transmitter output waveform_SNDR_jitter tolerance test


Ethernet test equipment

10/100/1000 Base-T tests:

  • Keysight DSO9254A 2.5 GHz Oscilloscope
  • Keysight E5071C ENA

10G Base-T tests:

  • Keysight DSOV334A33 GHz Oscilloscope
  • Keysight E5071C ENA

SFP+ & QSFP+ tests:

  • Keysight DSOV334A33 GHz Oscilloscope
  • Anritsu MP1900A

SFP28 & QSFP28 tests:

  • Keysight DSOV334A33 GHz Oscilloscope
  • Anritsu MP1900A

Ethernet FAQ

Pre-test preparation

1. What needs to be provided before Ethernet testing?
2. How should Ethernet test samples be prepared?

Kindly ensure that your product undergoes test mode smoothly by providing GRL with clear instructions on test mode configurations before proceedings commence. Feel free to contact us if you have any doubts about the Ethernet testing process.

During test period

1. Is it necessary to turn off products that support low power mode during testing?

The test duration will last for at least five minutes PER item. To avoid interruptions, all products should be switched off completely. Any product that enters sleep, standby, or low power mode before all test items have been run will produce a failed test result.

Post-test checklist

Yes, all products that undergo Ethernet testing with GRL may be recollected by their original providers. GRL may request to keep certain samples for further investigation for up to 2 months with written consent from our clients.

1. Can product samples be recollected upon test completion?


If your product is very special, GRL might investigate your consent and keep samples for 2 months.

2. Why did my product fail the IEEE Ethernet compliance test?

Design layout is the most common suspect of IEEE Ethernet compliance test failure. However, before analyzing design layout, engineers are advised to investigate their IEEE compliance test equipment for the latest software as outdated software versions are also known to cause IEEE compliance test failure.