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LightCounting Forecasts CAGR of Over 300 Percent for 10GBASE-T Port Shipments Through 2014

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January 19, 2011

LightCounting Forecasts CAGR of Over 300 Percent for 10GBASE-T Port Shipments Through 2014

By Anil Sharma, TMCnet Contributor

LightCounting, a market research company focused on in-depth analysis of high-speed communications device markets, particularly the transceiver and copper interconnect market, has forecast more than a 300 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for 10GBASE-T port shipments over the period from 2009 through 2014.

According to LightCounting, the 10GbE (10 Gigabit Ethernet) market is finally taking off with shipments of SFP+ optical transceivers driving early growth. Several important trends are driving this market through 2014, described in "10GBASE-T to Dominate 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Eventually," the latest report from LightCounting.

"The design win opportunity for 10GBASE-T on the motherboard is rapidly closing for the next generation of Intel (News - Alert)-based servers," said Kimball Brown, vice president and senior datacom analyst with LightCounting, in a statement. 

"We do not foresee the opportunity for ubiquitous adoption of 10GBASE-T LOM for a few more years — in the meantime, look for thriving markets for 10GbE adapters based on 10GBASE-T PHYs or SPF+ technology using optical transceivers and direct attach cables," said Brown.

LightCounting's report noted that optical 10GbE port shipments have finally started to take off. SFP+ will be the dominant optical interface. 10GbE SFP+ port shipments with a reach of less than 300 meters are used in server-to-switch and some switch-to-switch applications. 

Shipments have tripled during the past three quarters, and LightCounting expects the high-growth trend to continue. The 10BASE-KR LAN on motherboard (LOM) for blade servers has been shipping since 2009.

In March 2009, HP announced the first 10GbE LOM in its blade servers under the BladeSystem brand when it refreshed its blade servers with Intel's Nehalem family of processors. Once blade servers offered LOM implementations of 10GbE, 10GbE port volumes grew dramatically. The significance of LOM is huge. Prior to this generation of blade servers, 10GbE could only be enabled via adapter cards.

Because the use of 10GBASE-T PHYs, on dual-port server adapters (the predominant version of shipping optical 10GbE adapters), has not been feasible to date and optical interconnects are much more expensive than copper to end users, the market for 10GbE has been stunted. 

With the newest versions of 10GBASE-T PHYs, developed with the 40 nm semiconductor process, the power constraints of 10GBASE-T are finally being overcome, enabling dual-port 10GbE adapter sales to begin in earnest once adapters using these parts are sold to end users next year.

In related news, Interface Masters (News - Alert) Technologies recently introduced the 10GBASE-T copper 10GbE Server Adapter Card family, and Solarflare (News - Alert) reported that it has been shipping the SFN5121T dual-port 10GBASE-T server adapter to multiple Fortune 100 customers.

Anil Sharma is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Andrew Litz

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