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Aquantia Addresses the Gigabit Ethernet Bottleneck

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Aquantia Addresses the Gigabit Ethernet Bottleneck

August 31, 2017
By Paula Bernier
Executive Editor, TMC

Customers are adopting gigabit-level services in larger numbers, and companies like Comcast (News - Alert) Business are enabling that.

For example, Florida Atlantic University is now using 10 Gbps Comcast Business Ethernet across multiple locations. A federal grant enabled the school to employ multi-gigabit service between its three largest sites. That include FAE’s Boca Raton campus, and Harbor Branch and Jupiter, Florida, sites. Comcast Business 10 Gbps Ethernet Private Lines are providing the connectivity.

This is just one example of what Comcast is doing with 10 Gbps. The network operator also recently committed $3.5 million to bring 10 Gbs Ethernet service to parts of Denver.

While it’s good news that gigabit Ethernet services have arrived, an Aquantia blog says such services alone will not adequately address the growing requirements of ultra-rich media, escalating storage needs, and the expansion of the Internet of Things.

That’s because, Aquantia (News - Alert) explains, there’s a gigabit Ethernet bottleneck. And, it says, that bottleneck is tightening.

It’s not as if the industry was caught by surprise by 10 gigabit Ethernet, Aquantia adds. The IEEE (News - Alert) defined it in 2002, and copper twisted pair cable compatibility arrived four years later.

“However, the underlying standard requires at least Cat6 cabling, and most structured wiring in home and commercial buildings is either Cat5 or Cat5e due to lower costs,” Aquantia writes. “Cost also impedes 10GbE throughout the adoption chain, from PHY ports to backbone infrastructure. While 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet begins to make inroads into data centers, this is not applying significant downward pressure on 10GbE to displace Gigabit Ethernet in homes and small businesses.”

The company adds that 10GbE on motherboards and home/small business routers is also largely absent. And, it says, gigabit Ethernet only yields about 600 Mbps of real world throughput when you figure in the overhead required, so the difference between LAN and internet speeds is quickly narrowing. The increase of in-building Wi-Fi speeds will only compound the bottleneck, Aquantia adds.

In recognition of these realities, Aquantia says it developed technology to transmit 2.5 and 5 Gbps Ethernet traffic over conventional Cat 5e and Cat 6 cabling. And it partnered with Cisco, Intel, Marvell (News - Alert), NXP, and Xilinx, among others, to create the NBASE-T Alliance. The alliance worked with the IEEE to create the 802.3bz standard for 2.5 and 5 Gbps Ethernet over twisted pair copper wiring.

“Naturally, an improved Ethernet spec requires new Ethernet PHY connectivity, so Aquantia released two devices within its Aqtion line, the 5 Gbps AQC107 and 2.5 Gbps AQC108, both of which meet NBASE-T and 802.3bz ratified specifications,” the company says.

It also developed all the boot code, installer tools, and drivers needed for Windows, and Linux.

“With all the right pieces in place, OEMs are lining up to integrate Aqtion chips into their coming Multi-Gigabit solutions for home PCs, laptops, workstations, and routers,” Aquantia notes. “In fact, ASRock already has Aquantia 5 Gbps networking on its flagship 200 Series motherboards. As supporting solutions continue to spread, users will, at last, be rid of their 1 Gbps constraints and meet the needs of their coming data deluge with confidence.”

Edited by Erik Linask

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