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Ethernet Poised for Another 10 Fold Bandwidth Increase

Are your 10G Ethernet connections becoming saturated? If so, help may soon be on the horizon. One of the industrys most influential network equipment suppliers has developed a network interface card that supports 100G Ethernet, perhaps foreshadowing an impending move to the faster speed.Juniper introduced an interface card for its T1600 core router that boosts its top speed from 10G bps to 100G bps. In some cases, growth in video communications and movement to virtualized cloud computing are driving the need for more bandwidth. The major benefit with the new faster speed is that companies no longer have to aggregate multiple connections to support 100G bps connections. This change will enable them to reduce the number of interfaces required in their networks, cut down on energy requirements, and simplify management.

However, the announcement will not have an immediate impact on small and medium businesses for a couple of reasons. First, the product is not readily available. Juniper plans to show the 100G interface card at the Interop Tokyo show this week., customer pilots are expected to begin near the end of the year, and shipments should start in 2010. Also, the amount of bandwidth is overkill for these companies. The product is geared to carriers and large companies with sophisticated IT systems.

The new product debut is important because of what it foreshadows. Tenfold performance boosts have been common, starting with 10M Ethernets introduction in the 1980s. Typically as vendors start to move to a faster speed, pricing for existing systems drop. Coupled with the current economic slowdown, small and medium companies in need of a network upgrade should find plenty of low priced, high bandwidth switches available.