10 Gigabit Ethernet: Hot technology for 2009

A switch in time

In 2001, when 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches were introduced, the average per-port cost was $39,000, according to IDC.

Today, a 10G Ethernet port costs less than $4,000, which makes 10G Ethernet switches affordable for the enterprise wiring closet or data center. 

With ongoing data-center server consolidation, not to mention the needs of service providers and high-volume Web sites, standards groups and vendors are hard at work on 40 Gigabit Ethernet and even 100 Gigabit Ethernet. For now, however, 10G Ethernet is the industry standard, and customers are flocking to 10G Ethernet switches. Switch-based 10G Ethernet port shipments grew by 140% in 2007, Infonetics Research reports. Worldwide revenue for 10G Ethernet services and equipment will hit nearly $9.5 billion by year-end, a 30% increase from last year, the firm predicts.

If your Fast Ethernet boxes are becoming stressed, this might be the time to move to 10G Ethernet. Per-port prices are coming down and feature sets are going up. A recent Network World test of seven 10G Ethernet switches found these products offer not only powerful packet-pushing capabilities but also 802.1X authentication, enhanced multicast support, protection against denial-of-service attacks and IPv6 support. The test demonstrated that these switches have extensive management and security features, which are just as important as how many packets they can move per second.

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