Systimax 10G copper platform passes 10GBASE-T performance tests

November 28, 2006 -- Testing in Solarflare Communications' labs marks beginning of a broader testing program for the Systimax GigaSPEED X10D Solution.

Nov 28th, 2006

November 28, 2006 -- Systimax Solutions confirmed that its GigaSPEED X10D Solution performed to specifications in full-day of certification test demonstrations of 10GBASE-T technology on 100 meter links held at Solarflare Communications' labs in Irvine, California. More exhaustive stress tests to continue the collaborative engineering effort are planned in Systimax's cabling labs in Richardson, Texas. The companies say the ability to utilize high-performance Ethernet connections for copper cabling will lower the cost of 10 Gbit/sec networking, making it more accessible to data centers and enterprises.

The California-based tests were conducted using Solarflare's 10GBASE-T physical layer (PHY) evaluation boards and a 100-meter SYSTIMAX GigaSPEED X10D UTP channel in a worst-case, full-reach, 4-connector channel configuration (as specified in the TIA: Addendum 10 for Category 6A and ISO/IEC 11801: 2002 Amendment 1 for Class EA draft standards). The recently published IEEE 802.3an-2006 Standard for 10GBASE-T requires all 10GBASE-T physical layer chips to reach 100 meters on Category 6A cabling.

In the demonstrations, a "six-around-one" configuration was utilized, with six disturbing cables tightly bundled around one "victim" or "disturbed" cable. The 10GBASE-T signals were launched through a generator at the standard XAUI interface to the PHY evaluation boards. The signals from the receive packets, or frames, at the far end transceiver were compared to those from the send frames. 10-Gbit/sec Ethernet traffic was carried simultaneously on all six disturbing channels, simulating a worst-case environment for alien crosstalk. There were no errors detected during the certification demonstrations on channel lengths up to 100 meters.

Solarflare was the first PHY vendor to ship 100-meter, standards-compliant 10GBASE-T samples to customers in August 2006. "Solarflare has been committed to solving the hard technical problem of supporting the Ethernet standards and the building and cabling specifications that demand 100 meters. We have also heard the clear requirement from customers for 100-meter reach 10GBASE-T products," says Bruce Tolley, vice president of marketing at Solarflare. "The combination of our PHY with the GigaSPEED X10D 100 meter, 4-connector channel provided an impressive 26 dB Signal Noise Ratio. This testing validates that the next generation of standards-based Ethernet products for copper cabling is here. IT professionals can begin planning the cost-effective and easy move to higher-speed connectivity for their data centers and networks that 10GBASE-T makes possible. We have found that 10GBASE-T provides error-free transmission exceeding the 10^-12 error rate requirement in the IEEE 802.3 10GBASE-T standard."

Systimax believes it was the first vendor to provide a full 100-meter UTP solution that guarantees compliance with the ratified IEEE 802.3an standards for 10GBASE-T and the new Category 6A/Class EA cabling standards. In December 2004, the company launched its GigaSPEED X10D Solution to provide a next-generation cabling solution that supports both the bandwidth needs of today's enterprises and the needs of more demanding applications, such as high-resolution video, grid computing and Storage Area Network/Network Attached Storage (SAN/NAS).

"The ability to operate 10-Gbit/sec Ethernet over UTP copper cabling marks the advent of next-generation Ethernet technology," says Luc Adriaenssens, senior vice president of R&D and technology, enterprise, at CommScope, the parent company of Systimax. "This ability provides a much-needed forward migration path for enterprise network infrastructures. These results demonstrate that 10-Gbit/sec Ethernet over UTP cabling is fast becoming a reality. We look forward to working more closely with Solarflare in the next round of joint assurance testing in a real world, mixed protocol environment as well as jointly educating the market on cost-effective networking using UTP cabling."

"Now that the 10GBASE-T standard is ratified, we expect the market for 10-Gbit/sec-enabled twisted pair cabling to move quickly from early adopters to mass market - similar to the movement we saw when 100Mb/s and 1Gb/s standards were ratified," concludes Adriaenssens. "The cost reduction and power consumption curves are very steep for network electronics. As enterprises look back on how their bandwidth needs have grown and changed over time, they should look closely at what they expect their bandwidth needs to be in the future with respect to investing in 10-Gbit/sec-enabled twisted pair cabling. We believe they should be evaluating Category 6A cabling and 10GBASE-T products now."

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