Looking ahead to 40/100 Gigabit Ethernet rollouts

* First revenues from 40G and 100G Ethernet gear expected next year

The first revenues for 40G and 100G Ethernet products will come in 2010, with 40/100G Ethernet transceivers reaching $482 million in sales by 2013, according to a new report from research firm CIR.

You might think that the current economic misfortunes would deter any early adoption of a high-end, high-speed technology like 40G Ethernet or 100G Ethernet, but CIR says that big online-centric companies like Google and Amazon have a "desperate need" for 100 Gigabit speeds today.

Adoption of 40 Gigabit Ethernet is expected first in high-end servers, in high-performance computing environments. A version running on multimode fiber, 40GBase-SR4, is expected to take off first, representing as much as 80% of the market, initially. Eventually, the short-run copper version, 40GBase-CR4, is expected to win share as it becomes more viable.

Part of the reason the 40G Ethernet CR and SR variants are likely to hit first is that they rely on technology leveraged from InfiniBand, CIR says. Requiring the most time are the 100G Ethernet LR and ER variants, for which new 25G technology for the electronics and optical components will need to be developed.

CIR says that 100G Ethernet sales will start up in 2012, with the single-mode fiber version, 100GBase-LR4, leading the way at 50% of the market, and the multimode-fiber 100GBase-SR10 getting about 20%. Again, the short-run copper version, 100GBase-CR10, will eat into the other variants' market share as it becomes more viable, taking up 25% of the market by 2016.

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