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Fujitsu Packs in 10GigE

Amid a price war in 10-Gbit/s Ethernet, along comes Fujitsu Microelectronics America Inc. with claims that seem to turn the industry topsy-turvy. Would you believe... $200 per port?

Of course you wouldn't; Fujitsu's $200 claim does seem exaggerated. Still, with 10-Gbit/s Ethernet switches just starting to ship and with per-port prices in the five-figure range, Fujitsu's Layer 2 switch chip has the potential to scrunch down prices more quickly than expected, particularly in enterprise-related areas such as storage networking and blade servers.

The chip was first announced June 25 (see Fujitsu Intros 10-GigE Switch Chip) and is being demonstrated at this week's Networld+Interop Tokyo. Its starring feature is density: The chip packs a whopping 12 ports of 10-Gbit/s Ethernet into a device measuring 35mm on a side. By contrast, early systems from the likes of Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) haven't put more than four ports of 10-Gbit/s Ethernet into one box.

Awkwardly named the MB87Q3050 (something catchier is on the way, assuming it passes a trademark check), the chip has drawn more attention than expected, says Marwan Majid, Fujitsu senior marketing manager.

"It's quite surprising, because we've always been debating [within Fujitsu] when 10-Gbit/s Ethernet is going to happen," he says. Majid thinks interest in the chip signals that carriers are ready to start thinking about spending money, which has OEMs preparing next-generation systems.

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