10GBase-T Facts and Myths Debunked
Everybody's heard the old saying that good things come to those who wait. With very few exceptions, this is true, but, it's also true that the early bird gets the worm. Take them together and it means wait, but don't wait too long or you'll miss something good, like 10GBase-T networking products. The IEEE published the standard back in early 2006, but not very many companies have had full 10GBase-T gear product lines until recently. This long wait for gear has fueled a number of rumors leading to the misconception that 10GBase-T has maxed out the balanced twisted-pair media as well as network equipment.
Economics Caused Long Time to Market
As you well know, budgets, especially IT budgets, have been exceedingly tight over the past six to eight years. You've probably been told that you can't buy any new equipment unless it's mission-critical. And, let's face it, the extra speed of 10GBase-T is one of the best investments you can make because it solves bottleneck issues and improves mission critical business application performance.
First Products Were Power Hungry
The first 10GBase-T switches had monstrous appetites for power, consuming in the area of 25 Watts per port. Thanks to some new developments in the design and fabrication of the PHY chips, that power dissipation has been dropped to the area of 2.5 Watts per port. This is much more manageable, and affordable. This has caused a number of companies to begin buying 10GBase-T equipment.
Mature Technology Fosters Product Development
Now that the technology has matured, and as a result, become more affordable, you should see at least 20 new products hit the market by the end of the year. This includes switches, servers, and NICs. The Linley Group has even predicted that by the end of 2012, more than 2.7 million 10GBase-T ports will have been sold.
Ethernet Over Copper Has Benefits Fiber Doesn't Have
Along with the reduced power dissipation, Ethernet ports can save money in ways that Fiber can't, such as Wake-On-LAN, and Low Power Idle modes. Also, when the decision to upgrade has been made, you don't have to look far for great ROI and performance on 10GBase-T, because the standard is fully backwards compatible. This means you can upgrade your data center first, and then incrementally upgrade the rest of the enterprise network.
So, if you've been holding off making the switch to 10GBase-T, here's another old saying for you: There's no time like the present.