October 2, 2006 -- Solarflare Communications has announced that it is the first company to demonstrate a 10GBASE-T physical layer (PHY) chip reaching 100 meters over an IEEE 802.3an standards-compliant Category 6A link.
According to a press release, the demonstration, shown to development partners and customers, was achieved under worst-case conditions, at full reach, and with four connectors. Subsequent tests were repeated at full 100-meter reach and using four connectors with the presence of alien cross talk (ANEXT and AFEXT).
The company publicly repeated the demonstration at last month's 2006 BICSI Fall Conference in Las Vegas, and has already delivered early evaluation units of the device to customers. The company's 10Xpress 10GBASE-T PHY evaluation kit is orderable as part number SFE-7101.
According to the recently published IEEE Standard 802.3an-2006, all 10GBASE-T physical layer chips must reach 100 meters. Solarflare says its demonstration of 100-meter reach over a worst-case channel shows that 10GBASE-T is ready for customer evaluation and design into switch and NIC products.
"This is a significant milestone," comments Jag Bolaria, senior analyst with The Linley Group. "By demonstrating 100 meters on a standards-compliant channel, Solarflare shows that it is on track to deliver robust solutions to its customers."
"This announcement is very timely," adds David Passmore, research director for The Burton Group. "We have been getting many questions about 10GBASE-T and cabling options that support this flavor of 10-Gigabit Ethernet on copper cabling. Solarflare's demonstration shows not only that standards-based 10GBASE-T reaches 100 meters on worst case links, but also that now is the time for IT managers to prepare their copper cabling infrastructure for 10-Gigabit communications."
Solarflare contends that, as switch and server manufacturers can design in the 10GBASE-T silicon, 10 Gigabit Ethernet over copper capability will more than halve the cost of 10G links by enabling higher port densit, as well as transceivers that can follow a Moore's Law Curve of cost reduction. The company notes that, because 10GBASE-T supports installed as well as new unshielded twisted pair (UTP) copper cabling, it maintains the plug-and-play simplicity and low operational cost of copper cabling.
"10GBASE-T will dramatically expand the 10-Gigabit market by lowering costs," concludes Russell Stern, CEO of Solarflare. "The Solarflare 10Xpress PHY solution lowers operational costs by supporting RJ-45 plug-and-play connectivity and lowers capital expenditure costs by enabling switch and server vendors to lower per port cost of 10 Gigabit Ethernet. Customers are now designing with our parts for products to be introduced in 2007."