IRVINE, Calif. -- Solarflare Communications, announced today that it has successfully completed conformance and interoperability tests at the University of New Hampshire Interoperability Lab (UNH-IOL) in Durham, New Hampshire. Conformance involves testing channels with the same vendor's transceiver (PHY) chips at both ends of a link and interoperability involves testing independent implementations from different vendors.
Solarflare was the only 10GBASE-T PHY company to successfully operate on the worst-case, 105-meter link in the lab defined in terms of insertion loss and alien cross talk. This conformance and interoperability testing marks a significant milestone for the 10GBASE-T ecosystem. Operational testing to the limits of the specification demonstrates that one implementation can work not only on an average or typical cabling link or channel, but also on the worst-case channel specified by the 10GBASE-T standard. Successful operation on worst-case channels ensures that the implementation can work on all of the supported channels in the field, both legacy cabling plants and new cabling installations. Solarflare successfully operated on all the cabling links present in the UNH-IOL test event, at distances ranging from 30 to 105 meters.
While the IEEE 802.3an standard sets 100 meters as an objective for operation on unshielded twisted-pair cabling, conformance to the standard is only achieved by meeting all of the protocol implementation conformance statements (PICS). Suppliers must demonstrate conformance to a comprehensive list of implementation statements including operation on worst-case channels specified in terms of cabling link or channel impairments.
The most significant channel impairments for 10GBASE-T are insertion loss, alien crosstalk and return loss. Much of the testing took place on links that had varying levels of insertion loss margin. The channel insertion loss, typically expressed in decibels (dB), represents the signal power at a receiver. The ratio of the insertion loss to alien crosstalk and return loss represents the majority of the signal-to-noise (SNR) at a receiver.
To determine an implementation's ability to conform to the 10GBASE-T standard, the insertion loss must be at the worst-case limit. This is often achieved by extending the test channel length, while maintaining conformance to the PICS parameters, such as delay propagation.