Cracking copper

Systimax is expected to be first vendor to release 10GBase-T cabling products, supporting 10Gigabit bandwidth on copper cabling.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  September 23, 2004

|~|Hennessey,-Martin_m.jpg|~|10Gigabit over copper will prove to be an important consideration for companies looking to future proof new buildings in terms of bandwidth, according to Systimax’s Martin Hennessey.|~|Systimax is expected to release groundbreaking 10Gigabit Ethernet over copper cabling products in Q404 this year. The vendor is keeping technical details tightly under wraps but it is anticipated that the products will meet the requirements of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 10GBase-T task force, including carrying data for over 100m. Although the 10GBase-T standard has not yet been ratified by IEEE, there is great excitement about the technology. At present, the best way to take 10Gigabit bandwidth to the desktop is by using fibre cabling, which is expensive. Delivering the same bandwidth over copper is expected to sharply cut the price of 10Gigabit for the enterprise. “10Gigabit Ethernet over copper leaps from cat6 to another dimension,” enthuses Martin Hennessey, sales director Systimax Solutions Middle East, North Africa, Turkey & Greece. “It looks like there will be no middle ground, such as Cat7. 10Gigabit Ethernet over copper is going to be a very big milestone,” he adds. Systimax plans an education offensive for customers that are hesitant to invest in a technology before it is standardised. When products are released, the vendor will show exactly how its labs have achieved 10GBase-T. “Previously we have been a relatively closed shop in terms of talking to people about how we develop and design products. However, with 10Gigabit Ethernet over copper, a lot of claims will be made by different vendors and there will be confusion in the market. In a bid to clear up the confusion, this time the books are open,” says Hennessey. IEEE expects to standardise 10GBase-T in 2006, which means the period between the first release of products and ratification will be shorter than for previous standards. Systimax released Cat6 products in 1997, which was five years ahead of ratification of that standard. Systimax expects the gap to be much shorter in the case of 10GBase-T because a consortium of vendors have been working together since the early stages of the technology. Systimax claims this is a very significant release and will figure heavily in moves made by switch vendors in the coming quarters, as well as having long-term repercussions for the construction industry. “A lot of companies are looking to make a decision now that will provide the bandwidth they need in a building for 10-20 years. The premium in infrastructure terms between Gigabit and 10Gigabit is not very large, so 10Gigabit is a natural progression for someone making a long term decision,” says Hennessey. “Uptake on the switch port side will be slower but as volumes increase, prices will fall,” he adds. Some companies have already released what they claim to be 10GBase-T products, including CopperTen from Krone, using UTP cabling system. While the standard is not ratified these vendors will always be open to question, especially as the requirements for 10GBase-T are so tough. “We prefer to wait until the standard is ratified first,” says Steve Lampen, multimedia technology manager, Belden CDT. “There are quite a few 10GBE products out there but before standards are not finalised, you can’t be sure that they will meet vendor’s claims. We’ve seen cabling that was claimed to be 10GBE but we haven’t seen it working yet,” he adds.||**||

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