The early version of the 10GBaseT standard from 2004 lead to a number of implementation problems. For example, power consumption was up to 25W per port and many questions around the cable signalling performance. I discussed this in Nov 2011 and again Sept 2012
In a recent webinar (disclosure:underwritten by Intel) I was hosting a discussion the rise of 10GBaseT in the data centre and enterprise more widely. A key part of the data centre discussion is that FCoE on copper with 10GBaseT is now significantly improved to the point where Bit Error Rates are now less than the expected minimums for FibreChannel using fibre.
It is true that this is dependent on having a high quality cabling infrastructure to Cat6A standards. This is not a trivial undertaking since many cabling contractors are still developing skills and tools to reliably install Cat6A cabling.
Common MIS-statements You May Hear:
- FCoE standard requires Lower BER
- Fibre Channel has better BER than Ethernet
- SFP+ has better BER than 10GBASE-T
- Fibre Channel has a 10-16 BER Requirement
According to the Standards:
- FCoE (FC-BB-5) does not have a BER requirement at all
- 8G FC (FC-PI-4) BER Requirement = 10-12
- All 802.3 10Gbit PHYs have same BER requirement: 10-12
- SFP+ MSA was designed to maintain the 10-12 802.3 requirement
Power Consumption of 10Gbase-T in 2014
- Silicon vendors like Intel have improved the manufacturing and chip design for 10Gbase-T PHY modules so that power consumption is now around 4Watts per PHY on each the switch and the server.
The EtherealMind View
We don’t often see improvements like this in networking hardware. I wanted to highlight that my previous posts are now inaccurate as the improvement made to Cat6A production & installation are combined with improved silicon design & manufacturing.
Intel is driving the “Lan On Motherboard” chipset to 10GBaseT and it seems poised to become the default on majority of servers.
With the information I learned from this webinar, I am more positive about 10GBaseT in the data centre with some reservations. I continue to believe that fibre for network-to-network connections is the preferred option because 40GbE is more common there.
I was paid to be the host for this webinar for GigaOm Pro Research.