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10GBase-T Adapters Debut

Two adapter vendors, Chelsio and Tehuti Networks, are claiming to have the first 10-Gbit/s Ethernet cards to work with Category 6 and 7 copper cabling. But it may be awhile before users see real benefits. (See Chelsio Unveils Adapters and Tehuti Adds Three to Family.)

Both vendors have implemented the new IEEE 10GBase-T standard for transmission over copper, which is being touted as a low cost-alternative to fiber and a way for users to overcome the distance limitations of existing CX4 copper cabling.

This could be a real plus in enterprise data centers, according to Bob Wheeler, senior analyst at the Linley Group consultancy. "It gets away from the cost issues involved with fiber, specifically the cost of the optical modules," he says, adding that 10GBase-T can be used over distances up to 100 meters, compared to the 15-meter limit for CX4 cabling.

Claims by Chelsio and Tehuti to be first with 10GBase-T may be splitting hairs. Chelsio's adapters are single-port, while Tehuti claims first with dual-port, ostensibly nodding to its rival's claim to be the official "first." Chelsio says it will ship its wares in March, while Tehuti can only claim the more general "2Q 2007" timeframe.

March/April is being targeted by another player, Neterion, for its own 10GBase-T adapter. Like Chelsio and Tehuti, Neterion will base is wares on a TeraPHY TN1010 transceiver from Teranetics.

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