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07 Nov 2015

With the demand for improved bandwidth, greater flexibility, infrastructure simplification, ease of migration, 10GBASE-T specification was lauched as a cost-effective solution to reach the majority of switches and servers in the data center. This article looks at what is driving choices for deploying 10 GbE and how 10GBASE-T will lead to broader deployment. It also compares 10GBASE-T with other media options for 10 Gb Ethernet.

What Is 10GBASE-T

10GBASE-T is an IEEE 802.3an standard which supports the creation of technology that is capable of transmitting 10 Gigabit Ethernet up to 100 meters over four pairs of CAT-5 balanced copper cabling system. It is an exciting technology that provides end users with cost-effective media to achieve 10Gbps data rates.

Advantages of 10GBASE-T

Today, data center administrators have a number of 10 GbE interfaces to choose from including CX4, SFP+ Fiber, SFP+ Direct Attach Copper (DAC). However, limitations with these interfaces have kept them from being broadly deployed across the data center. Fiber connections are not cost-effective for broad deployment, and SFP+ DAC is limited by its seven-meter reach, and requires a complete infrastructure upgrade. CX4 is an older technology that does not meet high density requirements. Widespread deployment requires a cost-effective solution that is backward compatible and has the flexibility capable of reaching the majority of switches and servers in the data center.


Like all BASE-T implementations, 10GBASE-T works for lengths up to 100 meters, giving IT managers a far greater level of flexibility in connecting devices in the data center. With flexibility in reach, 10GBASE-T can accommodate either top of the rack, middle of row, or end of the row network topologies. This gives IT managers the most flexibility in server placement since it will work with existing structured cabling systems. Because 10GBASE-T is backward-compatible with 1000BASE-T, it can be deployed in existing 1 GbE switch infrastructures in data centers that are cabled with CAT6 and CAT6A (or above) cabling, enabling IT to keep costs down while offering an easy migration path to 10 GbE.


DAC is a lower cost alternative to fiber, but it can only reach 7 meters and it is not backward-compatible with existing GbE switches. DAC requires the purchase of an adapter card and requires a new top of rack (ToR) switch topology. The cables are much more expensive than structured copper channels, and cannot be field terminated. This makes DAC more expensive than 10GBASE-T. The adoption rate of DAC for LOM will be low since it does not have the flexibility and reach of 10GBASE-T. 10GBASE-T offers the most flexibility, the lowest cost media, and is backward-compatible with existing 1 GbE networks.

The Future of 10GBASE-T

Broad deployment on 10GBASE-T will simplify data center infrastructures, making it easier to manage server connectivity while delivering the bandwidth needed for heavily virtualized servers and I/O-intensive applications. As volumes rise, prices will continue to fall, and new silicon processes have lowered power and thermal values. These advances make 10GBASE-T suitable for integration on server motherboards. This level of integration, known as LAN on Motherboard (LOM) will lead to mainstream adoption of 10 GbE for all server types in the data center.

Fiber Store Solutions for 10 Gigabit Ethernet

As one of the most professional optical manufacturers in China, Fiberstore‚Äôs solutions for 10 Gigabit Ethernet include 10G SFP+ fiber, 10G SFP+ DAC. Besides, we also  provide high quality 10G SFP transceivers, like  SFP-10G-ZR, SFP-10G-SR, SFP-10G-LR-X, etc.


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