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Gigabit Ethernet to make headway despite user reservations

Feb 17, 20042 mins

* Gigabit Ethernet expected to blossom, but still widely perceived as unnecessary

Last week, research firm In-Stat/MDR announced that 2004 is shaping up to be a “key year” for Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet, although one very large hurdle to deployment remains.

In-Stat said the drivers for deployment include a rapid decrease in Gigabit Ethernet costs coupled with the inclusion of Gigabit Ethernet capabilities in business PCs by OEMs. In other words, Gigabit Ethernet is cheap and plentiful.

The fly in the ointment is the widespread belief that Gigabit, and especially 10 Gigabit, speeds are unnecessary. The research firm recently surveyed business users and found that 64% of them don’t feel they need the bandwidth.

I’ve said previously that Gigabit Ethernet to the desktop is overkill, and it would appear my statements have had a profound influence over 64% of business users. OK, that might be a bit of a stretch (just a bit), but I at least can say that my perspective is still in tune with that of the majority of users.

The In-Stat survey also found that 54% of respondents’ organizations hadn’t yet deployed any Gigabit Ethernet in the respondents’ area of responsibility. Enterprise firms were more likely than small companies to have deployed the technology.

On the flipside, the top reason respondents gave for deploying Gigabit was future expected bandwidth needs, such as bandwidth needed for converged networks. In-Stat interpreted the findings to mean that there still is no “killer app” for Gigabit Ethernet, and that users were still thinking of it in terms of general “future-proofing.”

The full report is available from In-Stat/MDR for $3,000.