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10GBase-T gains traction, but still too power hungry

Posted: 24 Jun 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Gigabit Ethernet? controllers? adapters?

10GBase-T Ethernet switch port shipments surged in 1Q13 to more than 150,000 ports, accounting for four per cent of total 10 Gigabit Ethernet port shipments, a record percentage. 10GBase-T growth was driven by products that were announced in 2012, mostly based on 40nm ASIC introductions by component manufacturers such as Broadcom and Aquantia.

While this twisted-pair copper version of 10GE still consumes more power than other alternatives, the 40nm silicon process has allowed 10GBase-T to better compete on a power consumption basis. The smaller 40nm process also allows for a greater 10G port density on switches.

At Interop in May 2013, there were significant 10GBase-T product introductions from many vendors, so we anticipate 10GBase-T revenues will ramp in the second half of the year. Low ASPs of less than $200 per 10GBase-T port from many vendors by 4Q13 will also likely drive significant growth.

10GBase-T controllers and adapters for servers continued to ramp in 1Q13, with Intel shipping about 88 per cent of ports. Most of the 10GBase-T shipments during the quarter were integrated LAN on Motherboard devcies, not separate adapter cards.

Due to Intel's use of LOMs some of the 10GBase-T ports sold are not connected to 10GBase-T switches yet. This is supported by the difference between 10GBase-T shipments on servers versus switches, reported above. However, this gap is starting to close as 10GBase-T switch ports catch up.

Looking ahead to the remainder of the year, strong growth is expected in 10GBase-T server port shipments, as more 10GBase-T switches are introduced to the market.

However, this growth may underwhelm the projections of many component vendors due to several factors. First, 2013 will not see 10GBase-T LOM installed on many servers. Instead daughter cards will give customers choice.

Second, 10GBase-T PHY power consumption is still too high. Many customers rank power consumption as one of their top criteria in RFPs issued by cloud and large enterprise customers.Analysts from Dell'Oro Group contribute a quarterly column drawn from insights in their regular market reports.

In the access layer of enterprise networks, there has been a shift in the way Ethernet switches and wireless LAN devices are deployed. Leading vendors in this space now deliver a class of devices and software that combine functions that were previously unique to the Ethernet switch and WLAN system. When looking to upgrade their WLAN infrastructure, customers now often put strong consideration on whether or not the new WLAN systems will be compatible with the Ethernet switches they already installed.

So it's no surprise the majority of the six per cent year-over-year growth in the business edge networks has come from the wireless LAN systems. That's because many vendors are pursuing a strategy to leverage their existing Ethernet installed base to cross-sell WLAN gear to their customers.

As of 1Q13, Cisco, HP, Enterasys, and Aerohive have announced products or services that can manage both Ethernet and WLAN connections. Wireless LANs are expected to continue to gain share in the total market as enterprises upgrade their edge networks to satisfy the needs of mobile devices, which are increasingly used at work.





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