Following reams of changes over the last few years, the IEEE 802.17 Resilient Packet Ring (RPR) standard reached final approval in June.

The document, which carries the cumbersome title of "Part 17: Resilient Packet Ring (RPR) access method & physical layer specifications," will next be released for sale by the IEEE.

"The group has done a great job in getting broad industry participation," said Martin Green, vice president of marketing for the RPR Alliance and product manager at Cisco Systems.

Green said there likely won't be a certification process for RPR vendors, noting that most will simply comply with the standard and certify themselves. He added that most deployments based on pre-standard RPR equipment won't require a silicon change.

"We froze the technical set early," Green explained. "I've been pleasantly surprised. I thought [the lack of RPR standardization] would overhang the pre-standard market. It hasn't had the effect I thought it would. There's been good activity with pre-standard RPR."

Standard approval, however, will give vendors the green light to manufacture RPR components in mass quantities, explained Gady Rosenfeld, director of marketing and strategy at Corrigent Systems, another RPR Alliance member.

Cable operators and equipment suppliers have been exploring RPR technology in recent years. Scientific-Atlanta, for example, resells RPR gear from Luminous Networks under the Prisma brand. In April, did one better, inking a $20 million deal to buy RPR specialist Lantern Communications Inc.