Nexans co-sponsors "Greater than 10G" workshop

Hosted at Penn State, the workshop is attended by industry leaders

Beyond 10G Workshop

The "Greater than 10Gbps Copper Ethernet" workshop was co-sponsored by the Nexans Data Communications Competence Center and the Pennsylvania State University CICTR (Center for Information and Communication Technology Research). Held from 10th-12th August 2009, in State College, Pennsylvania, the event brought together vendors from the cable, connector and semiconductor industries to voice support for a twisted-pair solution for Ethernet speeds beyond 10Gbps. 

The university atmosphere provided a setting amenable to discussions from both an academic and industrial perspective. End users from Lehigh Unviersity, Johns Hopkins University and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory added yet another point of view that was helpful to expand the discussion. Presentations and panel discussions objectively conveyed the value of twisted-pair cable solutions in the data center and enterprise networks.

The workshop was a great success because industry leaders were brought together to discuss issues and concerns, and there were convincing arguments from the participants to have an Ethernet Committee Call-For-Interest (CFI) for a 40GBASE-T solution in 2010.

The participants included representatives from many industry-leading companies from North America, Europe and Asia, including:

  • Cable manufacturers: Leoni, LS Cable, Nexans
  • Chip manufacturers: Broadcom, Solarflare
  • Connector manufacturers: Bel Stewart, Meritek, Nexans, Siemon, Tyco
  • System providers: Cisco, Force10 Networks

Key Observations:

  • Copper solutions beyond 10G could include many possible options but the highest Twisted Pair Category (Category 7A) is clearly in prime position.
  • Data Centre architecture will play a vital role in next generation networks. Jeff Cain, of Cisco systems, suggested that rack-centric, modular designs could change current thinking.
  • Chip Vendors and Data Centre designers pointed out that structured cabling had many benefits over 'Top of Rack' switching, and that future copper solutions for 40G shall not be “point to point”.
  • The concept of a unified I/O, spawning the prospect of "any machine, anywhere, anytime" was introduced.
  • The PHY vs. Channel, aka "Chicken or Egg" debate, continues...with chip vendors saying the cable channel needs to be established first, while the cable manufacturers say the PHYs need to be developed first. Workshop attendees agreed that concurrent development was the best plan.
  • Based on his market analysis and model, independent consultant Alan Flatman (LAN Technologies) suggested that the call for interest (CFI) for 40GBASE-T should be initiated in IEEE during 2010.