Do we really need 10-GigE?

With one-gigabit/sec NIC cards becoming standard on most computers, it is only a matter of time before we see the rise of the 10 GigE. Some day! A long time ago, I had written a piece on Ethernet as a business model, and argued that with this standard it is all right to waste bandwidth and develop services that cash in on the plentiful yet cheap bandwidth. Ethernet, may not be bespoke, but it is cheap and cheap in the end wins because we live in a WalMart culture. Human nature asks for more and wants to pay less.

Despite that, Nicholas Cravotta, Contributing Technical Editor at Electronics Design News argues that there is a little reason to “supersize” our bandwidth menu. To a large extent I agree, because the true broadband applications are still hard to find. He makes a valid argument that with today’s data – read audio, email, voice, power point presentations, excel spreadsheets etc, the current data speeds are enough to get the job done in a blink of an eye.

Cravotta says the true demand for One GigE is going to come when IP-based video becomes all pervasive, for that is one data set that needs a lot of cheap bandwidth. He argues that since multiple One GigE connections are infinitely cheaper than a 10GigE connection. “10 GE will find a niche as an interswitch connection or link between campuses, although 1 GE seems to be capably serving this need for all but the largest companies,” he concludes.


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