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Weak volume chip sales seen for 10GBase-T in 2011

Posted: 20 Jan 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:10Gbit/s Ethernet over copper cables? 10GBase-T standard? 10G Ethernet chip sales?

A new analysis firm has predicted that the chip market for 10Gbit/s Ethernet over copper cables will be worth just a little more than $350 million in 2014. The company, however, expects the market to grow rapidly after that.

That's the projection of the first round of volume chip sales based on 40nm devices for the 10GBase-T standard, said Kim Brown, senior analyst at LightCounting and author of the new report. To date the majority of 10G Ethernet sales have been for optical products, such as SFP+, which hit 2 million units in 2010, Brown said.

Intel is the only company with an integrated 10GBase-T transceiver for copper cables today, a fact that will mute volume server and switch sales in 2011. However, the window for design wins in the coming generation of servers based on Intel's Sandy Bridge processors is about to close, he added.

The next big window will come in two years when Intel rolls out a next-generation server CPU family that requires a new motherboard design. By that time 10GBase-T transceivers should be available in 28nm process technology supporting low power consumption and cost, he said.

"You are not going to get LAN on motherboard designs down unless you hit one of these cycles," said Brown.

Even at 40nm the 10GBase-T chips will consume an order of magnitude less power, and have dramatically lower costs and latency than the optical SFP+ links, Brown said.

Intel's controller is said to be using a physical layer block from startup Teranetics acquired by PLX Technologies. Broadcom is expected to be a strong player in 10GBase-T while Marvell is also predicted to enter the market.

Rick Merritt
EE Times

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