10-Gigabit Ethernet will be a driving force

A few end users will adopt it now, but others will seek its benefits as they watch their competitors' applications run faster

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A few end users will adopt it now, but others will seek its benefits as they watch their competitors' applications run faster.

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Ten Gigabit Ethernet is becoming available at a time when many enterprise end users are not ready for it. But many in the industry agree that this is still the right time to introduce 10-Gigabit Ethernet to those who are ready. Other users, they say, will come in time.

Service providers will probably draw out the need for 10-Gigabit Ethernet, while institutions that require a high volume of data-such as government laboratories, financial and medical institutions-will seek it for high-resolution images from MRI machines or other high-end graphics.

But most end users initially will want 10-Gigabit Ethernet only in the backbone network. For now, the majority just won't need the high speed and performance that 10-Gigabit Ethernet can bring to the desktop.

Vendors say that end users who are interested in 10-Gigabit Ethernet are analyzing their networks to figure out what their next step will be. Enterprise end users with so-called "super computer needs," for example, are turning to the likes of Intel to find adapter solutions, switches and routers.

Not now, thanks

"The people who are early adopters are salivating," says Brad Booth, strategic marketing manager for Intel's LAN Access Division, based in Santa Clara, CA. "They want it yesterday."

But in the same breath, representatives from companies that will produce products to support 10-Gigabit Ethernet networks make the caveat that most end users are not going to need it right away.

"Universities love it, and they buy things before they become economically feasible or practical," says Galen Gareis, senior advanced product project engineer for Belden Inc., (www.belden.com). "But that is not the majority of companies out there. They stay away from it for good reason [cost]."

But others say the appetite for 10-Gigabit Ethernet will be contagious. They point to past trends as an example, and say end users will soon want to adopt a technology that can speed up their networks. It worked that way with Gigabit Ethernet, they say. It can work with 10-Gigabit Ethernet, too.

"In response to the position that the market for 10-Gigabit Ethernet is limited, I would point out that every time we find a way to make networks go faster and farther, end users find a way to utilize that capacity," says Kevin Hailey, RCDD/LAN specialist for Connectivity Technologies based in Carrollton, TX.

But industry players we talked to agree that it could be awhile before most enterprise end users seek that capacity. Booth says, for example, that most of the end users who are turning to Intel are not attempting to run

10-Gigabit Ethernet to the desktop. "Few people are interested in taking it to really high-end graphic stations," says Booth.

Modem if you've got 'em

"You can argue that needing 10-Gigabit Ethernet in the horizontal is overkill," agrees Herb Congdon, director of fiber systems marketing and technical support for AMPNetconnect (www.ampnetconnect.com). "Most people are happy to use a cable modem to surf the net."

What will most likely happen is 10-Gigabit Ethernet will be a kind of driving force. A few end users will adopt it now. Others will seek its benefits as they watch their competitors' applications run faster.

"It's the old, 'If you build it, they will come,'" says Mark Leathurby, director of solutions management for Avaya Inc. (www.avaya.com).

Brian Milliganis senior associate editor for Cabling Installation & Maintenance.

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