Force10 Networks this week is drastically reducing the price of its 10 Gigabit Ethernet line cards in a bid to make the technology more affordable for businesses.Any gear that runs 10 Gigabit Ethernet is expensive, in large part because of the optical technology needed to make it work.However, Force10 has cut its prices by more than 40%, making the price per port about $17,000. The price shift may put the high-speed LAN technology closer to the range of what some enterprise companies find acceptable.Still, that price is much greater than 10 times the price of Gigabit Ethernet, which is available from many different vendors at well under $1,000 per port.Force10 offers the E-Series switch\/routers. The E1200 can support up to 336 ports of Gigabit Ethernet or up to 28 ports of 10 Gigabit Ethernet.The high price of 10 Gigabit Ethernet was fine for vendors back in the days when the standard was first being formulated - because back then, the prospective customers were service providers that were still in their heyday and clamoring for high-bandwidth gear. Now, though, the service provider market has dried up, and suddenly vendors are looking for ways to make 10 Gigabit Ethernet available to enterprise firms.That's why copper 10 Gigabit is being considered by the IEEE.While that low-cost alternative is being developed, however, Force10's price drop is a step in the right direction. Expect other vendors to follow. Perhaps we're about to see 10 Gigabit get the price competitiveness that has helped Ethernet succeed.