A 10-Gig Boost to the Ethernet

Arthur Cole

There was a lot of activity surrounding 10 Gigabit Ethernet technology at the Optical Fiber Conference in Anaheim this week.


This shouldn't be much of a surprise considering the 10 GbE market is about to hit an "inflection point" in the words of a Forrester report on the subject. In other words, the technology is maturing right at the time that enterprise managers are beginning to take a more serious approach to things like disaster recovery and business continuity.


There's also the fact, as mentioned in a blog a few days ago, that virtualization and multicore technology are creating a bottleneck in the I/O portion of the network -- an issue which 10 GbE can address nicely.


So naturally, there is no shortage of 10GbE solutions vying for your attention, particularly solutions that conform to SFP+ (small form factor pluggable) module specifications. Broadcom Corp., for example, has an SFP+ version of its BCM8076 serial transciever, an all-DSP device that lets you keep your existing multi- and single-node infrastructure.


In the meantime, Fulcrum Microsystems and Applied Micro Circuits Corp. has developed an SFP+ 10 GbE switch reference design based on Fulcrum's FocalPoint chip and AMCC's IC physical layer. The companies say their design offers modular space savings with high performance and low latency across all 10 GbE form factors, including coax copper.


For wide-area communications, a company called Redfern Integrated Optics has developed a 1550 nm external cavity laser for long-haul connections up to 40 km. The company plans to offer a complete 10 GbE SFP+ transciever that also can be used with DWDM networks.


And OpVista has come out with a 10 GbE transponder card that is fully tunable across the entire C-Band, allowing you to tap into any number of metro or regional networks for links up to 80 km.

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