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Components Help Forge 10-GigE Pathways

Spurred in part by the Interop Las Vegas event this week, suppliers are full of announcements about 10 Gbit/s Ethernet (10-GigE) components. All claim improvements to chips, adapters, and other elements of future storage systems that will enable the spread of 10GbE in data centers and storage networks.

Several of the announcements stress 10GbE over existing infrastructure, with smaller and greener implementations that should be cheaper for OEMs to incorporate into finished wares. Broadcom, for instance, will show a new physical layer transceiver (PHY) at Interop that is aimed at copper-based IEEE 10GBase-T equipment. The vendor says its single-chip BCM8481 10Gbase-T PHY autonegotiates between 10/100/1000 Mbit/s Ethernet and 10GbE. It operates at short-reach distances up to 100 meters.

On the downside, Broadcom refuses to divulge the power requirements of its new chip.

Startup Aquantia, which scored $26 million in February, plans an Interop demonstration of what it claims is the first PHY component to solve the 10GBase-T power issue.

The firm is debuting with silicon that draws 5.5 watts in a triple-speed port meant for NICs and switches. The component works over a short-reach 100-meter distance. Aquantia says it will offer the chip in the third quarter and anticipates design OEMs (none named) planning 2009 product releases.

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