Slow start likely as 10-gig ethernet okayed

Ten-gigabit ethernet has been given the official go-ahead by the international body responsible for communications technology standards, but its adoption in this country is likely to be slow and steady rather than spectacular.

Ten-gigabit ethernet has been given the official go-ahead by the international body responsible for communications technology standards, but its adoption in this country is likely to be slow and steady rather than spectacular.

The IEEE has approved 10-gigabit ethernet, but UnitedNetworks Communications general manager Sean McDonald doesn’t believe it will be taken up in New Zealand in the short term. “But we don’t discount it — we have a number of clients using grey fibre [upscalable] connections.”

McDonald says United, which operates ethernet metropolitan area networks in the Auckland and Wellington city centres, hasn’t yet experienced great demand for gigabit ethernet, let alone the 10-gigabit version. Hitachi Data Systems, for instance, uses United’s network at gigabit ethernet level, for its data centre clients.

TelstraClear infrastructure delivery manager Bill Clince says now that 10-gigabit ethernet has been approved as a standard there will be more production and potential as vendors get on board. With the formal approval of the standard, titled 802.3ae, last month there is now some assurance that equipment from different vendors will be interoperable. “As equipment suppliers come on board, we’ll go with it and will support our customers and provide them with applications when the demand is there.”

CityLink technical director Richard Naylor says there’s not a huge amount of excitement about 10-gigabit ethernet “because we don’t see customers having a huge need for it, but we’ll get into it and make products available”. Naylor says CityLink, which offers ethernet services in Wellington and Auckland, has “very few” clients requiring one gigabit.

Ten-gigabit ethernet links are likely to cost $US40,000 or more, meaning telco carriers are the most likely market.

Cisco, Nortel, Foundry and Extreme Networks, among others, have 10-gigabit ethernet switches either ready or planned.

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