10-GigE Price Cuts Keep Coming

Vendors predict significant price cuts in the 10-Gig Ethernet space over the coming year

March 20, 2004

2 Min Read
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A week of frenzied activity in the 10-Gbit/s Ethernet switch space is paving the way for significant price cuts that could slash as much as a third off the cost of the technology over the coming year.

Earlier this week, Foundry Networks Inc. announced 10-Gbit/s ports for its FastIron line of modular switches, just one in a string of recent announcements from vendors (see 10-GigE Price Drops Continue).

Things are certainly hotting up. Bob Schiff, director of marketing for Foundry's enterprise business unit, foresees price reductions of around 30 percent in the cost-per-port of switches with a modular chassis, and a slightly smaller reduction for fixed ones.

"I would anticipate that, even with fixed configurations, you would see a [price] drop in the range of 20 to 25 percent within the next 12 months, Schiff says.

Not to be outdone, Cisco Systems Inc. used the CeBIT tradeshow in Hanover, Germany, to issue a raft of announcements about its Catalyst platform. Cisco also pointed to price pressure on the horizon (see Cisco Beefs Up Catalyst).As part of its CeBIT presentation, the company unveiled new 10-Gigabit Xenpak optics that support multimode and copper interfaces for the Catalyst 6500. The multimode version, the LX4, is available for $4,000 per module; the copper version, the CX4, costs $600 per module.

Although he was unable to come up with specific figures, Steven Shalita, senior manager of worldwide product marketing at Cisco, identified the CX4 and LX4 as drivers of cost reduction. He says, “Cisco has already taken a very aggressive stance. With the CX4 and LX4 it continues to drive the cost options down.”

Foundry's new FES-X series of Gigabit Ethernet boxes can be outfitted with two ports of 10-Gbit/s Ethernet, at a price of about $3,250 per port. That figure one-ups Extreme Networks Inc., which announced $4,000 per port for the 10-Gbit/s option on its Summit 400 switch (see Foundry Boosts 10-Gig Plans and Extreme Switch Adds 10-GigE).

These are smaller switches, measuring one or two rack units, as opposed to large routers such as Cisco’s Catalyst 6500, Extreme's BlackDiamond 10000, and Foundry's NetIron 40G. Cisco is still the price leader there, having announced a four-port card that brought per-port 10-Gbit/s Ethernet prices down to about $5,000, or around $7,000 with a necessary daughter card (see Cisco Bombs 10-GigE Pricing).

The recent Foundry and Extreme announcements compete more with Cisco's Catalyst 3750, which received a 10-Gbit/s Ethernet boost at CeBIT. The Catalyst 3750 with StackWise technology now has the option to include a 10-Gigabit Ethernet uplink.— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-gen Data Center Forum, and Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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