• United States

SMC ships high-speed copper alternative

Jan 17, 20062 mins

* SMC ships controversial Vativ technology

SMC Networks this week said it is shipping the “the industry’s first 10 Gigabit Ethernet over CAT-5e transceivers.” However, it should be noted that these are based on Vativ Technologies’ approach.

You may remember the controversy over Vativ’s technology, which I discussed in a couple of newsletters last year. I passed along the comments from both the IEEE 802.3an Task Force chair and Vativ’s director of marketing. You can find those newsletters in our archive, here and here.

Vativ argued that its approach to 10 Gigabit Ethernet over copper is superior to that of the standards body. The company’s stance is that the standard would cost more than its approach, require more power and require new cabling.

SMC is using Vativ transceivers in 10 Gigabit Ethernet XENPAK modules. The modules use a hot-pluggable XAUI interface on the host side, SMC says. They connect to other devices via Cat-5e cabling and RJ-45 connectors over short distances (up to 10 meters). They would connect to switches, routers or servers from a switch.

The transceivers are just $450, and are intended as uplinks for SMC’s Gigabit Ethernet switches, namely the 24- and 48-port SMC TigerStack 1000 switches.

This is the first shipment of Vativ’s 10 Gigabit technology to end users. SMC says it chose the controversial technology because it “is committed to being a leader in 10Gig product offerings.” SMC sees 10 Gigabit in general as being the dominant technology in enterprise backbones and in storage technology, and the company wants to be out in front of that trend.