The 10gig is up

Belden jumps onboard the 10 Gigabit Ethernet bandwagon with what it hopes is the right product at the right time.

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By  Simon Duddy Published  March 22, 2005

|~|Belden-andy_m.jpg|~|“The FleXPoint PCB design (in the IBDN System 10GX cabling solution) results in superior internal channel crosstalk results and stability.” - Andy Schaffstein, marketing manager, Belden CDT Europe, Communications Networks Division.|~|Belden has released IBDN System 10GX, its first 10Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) cabling solution. The product is one of the first to market, although Systimax beat Belden to the punch by announcing a 10GbE solution in December. However, both products are pre-standard, with the specification not expected to be ratified until mid-2006. Belden insists that it has chosen the right time to release a product, saying the extra time it took paid off in terms of research and development. “Although other manufacturers have released products already, the guaranteed performance of the Belden IBDN 10GX is far better than any other solution,” says Andy Schaffstein, marketing manager for the communications and networks division of Belden CDT Europe. Belden has pointed to a series of differentiators that it believes sets its product apart. The first is that the product has been designed from the bottom up. Belden believes this is significant as each component of the IBDN 10GX has been designed and optimised specifically for 10GbE transmission. Belden also says that its solution is tested to 625MHz frequency as opposed to the industry minimum of 500MHz. Furthermore, Belden has incorporated what it terms as several important enabling technologies — FleXPoint PCB design, SpiralFleX cable design, the MatriX IDC and X-bar termination technology. “The FleXPoint PCB design results in superior internal channel crosstalk results and stability up to 625MHz by bringing the point on crosstalk cancellation between the RJ-45 plug and the jack module closer together,” says Schaffstein. The SpiralFleX cable is designed to reduce alien crosstalk between adjacent cables in a cabling run. Belden claims this helps allow the 10GX system to support 10GbE transmission for a 100m channel length. The MatriX IDC technology places each insulation displacement contact (IDC) at 90-degree angles to each other, which reduces Alien NEXT by 15dB over conventional Cat 6 channels. The X-bar termination technology is designed to ensure consistency in termination practice from one cabling run to the next. Belden also insists that its solution has been stringently tested for alien crosstalk, which is the main obstacle for vendors to overcome in building 10GbE cabling solutions. “We included a full four connector channel topology where six horizontal cables were tie wrapped around one centre cable at one foot intervals to represent worst case alien crosstalk. Even under worst case conditions, the Belden IBDN 10GX solution still guarantees headroom performance,” explains Schaffstein. Belden says the 10GbE specifications represent a major challenge to cabling system manufacturers. Schaffstein also warns there may be installation issues with 10GbE cabling, for example with patch panels. Some 10Gigabit over Ethernet panels make cable and jack management as well as labeling more difficult, adversely affecting the installer’s on-site efficiency. Belden’s rival Systimax has placed more emphasis on continuity with Cat6e in its X10D cabling solution. “The X10D is physically similar to Cat6, which means that no re-training is required to install it,” says Dr. TC Tan, a distinguished member of the technical staff, at Systimax Labs. “That said, from a design standpoint the X10D is completely new, it had to be to cope with the alien crosstalk requirements of 10GbE transmission,” he adds.||**||

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