10 Gigabit Ethernet Definition

10 gigabit Ethernet, introduced in 2002, is the newest and fastest of the Ethernet technology standards. Also referred to as 10GBase and 10GbE, this still-evolving standard enables data transmission speeds of up to ten billion bits per second, which is ten times the maximum for gigabit Ethernet (GbE), previously the fastest.

Ethernet is by far the most commonly used LAN (local area network) architecture. It features high speeds, robustness (i.e., high reliability), low cost and adaptability to new technologies. Prior to gigabit Ethernet, the fastest Ethernet was 100Base-T (also called fast Ethernet), which has a capacity of 100 Mbps (million bits per second).

In contrast to earlier Ethernet standards, 10GbE is designed primarily for optical fiber. On multimode fiber, it will support distances of up to 300 meters, and on single mode fiber it will support distances up to 40 kilometers. As is the case with fast Ethernet and gigabit Ethernet, it supports full duplex (i.e., both directions simultaneously) transmission.

10GbE is intended for use in interconnecting LANs (local area networks), WANs (wide area networks) and MANs (metropolitan area networks). There are currently seven versions, six of which are for optical fiber cable.

10GbE has evolved since its introduction and modified versions continue to be added. For example, in 2004 10 gigabit Ethernet over copper was introduced. It uses four twinaxial cables (i.e., coaxial cables with two central conductors instead of one) and is intended for short distances between switches and storage devices in data centers.

Created November 16, 2005.
Copyright © 2005 The Linux Information Project. All Rights Reserved.