Industry experts have slammed proposals from the Higher Speed Study Group (HSSG) to run 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) over standard copper cables instead of fibre.
Chris Lewis, research director at Yankee Group, said last week that 10GbE could not possibly run over copper: "It should work fine over existing fibre cabling, but with copper it would run for two centimetres, then burn for 10 feet."
However, Rich Taborek, principal architect at HSSG member Transcendata, said 10GbE over short haul copper would offer attractive cost benefits. He outlined draft proposals aiming to run the technology over 10 metres of copper.
Mike Bennett, network engineer at HSSG member Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said: "The HSSG has not ruled out running 10GbE over copper."
Infrastructure vendor Pinacl, however, warned network managers to expect problems with 10GbE over both copper and fibre.
John Oliver, Pinacl director of marketing, said: "If the wrong kind of fibre is installed or is incompatible, there is no choice but to rip it out. Problems may be especially prevalent in older fibre networks."
Eion Gibson, programme director for Meta Group, said network managers would need to wait for next generation cabling before 10GbE became a realistic option: "Cat 5 enhanced is in development, but to make it viable we must wait for Cat 6 or Cat 7."
Gibson added that 10GbE is restricted to campus or Lan networking and that the speed proposals were unrealistic: "Copper usage would be limited and 10Gb running through the server is ludicrous. They would not be able to cope with the speed and you would still get bottlenecks between the routing switches," he said.
Bob Grow, vice chair of technical liaison for the Gigabit Ethernet Alliance, said that the IEEE, which will ratify the proposed standards, had its work cut out: "The bandwidth required for transmission is an obvious challenge for copper and Multi-Mode Fibre," he said.
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