Two new solutions for 10-GbE over UTP
Several manufacturing groups have joined the race to make 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10-GbE) over copper cabling systems...
Several manufacturing groups have joined the race to make 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10-GbE) over copper cabling systems, making announcements of their new products at the BICSI Spring conference in Las Vegas.
Superior Essex (www.superioressex.com) and Leviton Manufacturing (www.levitonvoicedata.com) have jointly introduced NextLAN 10Gc, a UTP copper cabling system designed to support 10-GbE transmission for 100 meters. Berk-Tek (www.berktek.com) and Ortronics (www.ortronics.com) have launched the NetClear GTX UTP cabling system that guarantees support of 10-GbE, as identified by the IEEE 802.3an and TIA Augmented Category 6 channel requirements.
Development of these systems is being driven by a predominantly UTP market, and by the continued growth of data-intensive applications (video imaging, high-speed data storage, Internet browsing, file sharing) that are fueling the need for 10-GbE backbone networks.
While the four manufacturers are offering solutions long after competitors have come out with 10-GbE over UTP products, they are coming to the market at a time when 10-Gbit UTP standards are solidifying rather than forming. The 10-GbE systems have been in use for several years over optical fiber cable, and the IEEE standard was ratified in 2002. But only recently has the electronics industry begun specifications for 10GBase-T, a 10-GbE protocol standard designed to run over copper structured cabling. A draft IEEE document for 10GBase-T was developed in October 2004, and a scheduled release is set for 2006.
“We announced our solution at the May BICSI because the channel work for the standard is close to its first draft,” says Gregg LaFontaine, senior product manager for copper channel products for Ortronics/Legrand. “The TIA is targeting a draft of the standard in June, and we knew by May that we’d have a good idea what that draft will look like, and we could characterize our solution to that.”
Today, manufacturers are tackling the challenges laid down by the standard. The data speeds afforded by 10GBase-T are 10 times the current maximum data speeds of copper networks. The standard has also identified alien crosstalk as the significant parameter limiting 10-GbE performance over a 100-meter channel.
The NextLAN cabling systems are the result of joint engineering and testing efforts between Leviton and Superior Essex Communications. The companies have established a marketing, sales and engineering alliance to promote NextLAN and co-develop new technologies. Paul Neveux, director of premises cable product management for Superior Essex, says both companies agreed that now is the best time to launch the systems.
“For the past couple of months, the standards have come to the point where we can come out with a product,” says Neveux.
Peter Newman, director of marketing and customer service for Leviton Manufacturing, says Superior Essex and Leviton also purposely waited to announce a product that would comply with the latest draft of the ANSI/TIA standard for 10-GbE cabling requirements.
“Leviton and Superior Essex decided not to have our customers take the market risk with a pre-draft standard product,” says Newman. “Instead of rushing prototype product out to establish a market position, we chose to develop a high performance system with value to our customers.”
Superior Essex and Leviton Manufacturing are touting NextLAN 10Gc as the first UTP cabling system to fully comply with the latest draft ANSI/TIA standard for 10-GbE cabling requirements with a 4 dB margin guarantee for power sum attenuation-to-crosstalk ratio (ACR). Newman says NextLAN 10Gc is the outcome of several advancements in copper UTP cable and connectivity that collectively provide a channel that is robust enough to support the most demanding test scenarios for 10-GbE transmission. The proprietary designs of the NextLAN 10Gc components (including 10Gain cable and eXtreme 10G connectors) are designed to provide customers with exceptionally matched electrical performance and functionality, backward compatibility with legacy Leviton connectivity, and a design that is easy to install.
“There’s no learning curve for contractors,” says Newman. “It’s a simple installation.” NetClear GTX combines Berk-Tek LANmark-10G UTP cable and Ortronics Clarity10G UTP connectivity to provide a Shannon capacity of 18-Gbits/sec beyond the required 500 MHz. The NetClear GTX system guarantees 100-meter 10GBase-T support for standard-compliant channel configurations.
NetClear GTX is an addition to the NetClear XG LAN family of systems designed to support the complex requirements of 10-Gbit networks using either copper or optical-fiber cabling. XG LAN solutions also include the NetClear GTS Category 6 FTP (foiled twisted-pair) solution and the NetClear MM10 multimode fiber cabling system that offers 600-meter channel lengths for 10GBase-SR using 850-nm optics.
“What we did is offer a UTP solution that met all present standards requirements as they are in draft form,” says Todd Harpel, director of marketing for Berk-Tek. “We have a quality solution that you can install today with a channel characterization.”