10 Gbps Ethernet over UTP copper? Its possible!
KRONE's cable development laboratories have proved to a skeptical industry
that 10 Gigabit/s Ethernet over unshielded twisted pair copper is possible and
helped the networking industry move forward with a 10 Gigabit Ethernet standard.
Working closely with the IEEE, the body responsible for Ethernet standards worldwide,
it began in early 2003 to establish whether 10 Gigabit/s Ethernet over copper
cabling could become a realistic and cost-effective proposition.
Several chipset companies had undertaken development work, which indicated that
they could develop the silicon, if the cabling industry could come up with the
necessary copper cabling and connectivity.
The active equipment manufacturers ideally wanted to be able to pass 10 Gigabit/s
Ethernet over existing CAT 5e and CAT 6 structured cabling. Unfortunately, the
high transmission frequencies neededaround 650 MHzwere way over
the 100 MHz and 250 MHz of CAT 5e and CAT 6 respectively. CAT 7 STP cable was
a possible candidatebut with cables the thickness of pipes and very little
international uptake this was thought to be commercially far too restrictive
to make 10 Gigabit/s Ethernet viable.
Work by the cabling standards bodies did however indicate that an 'augmented'
form of CAT 6, with the cable and connectors characterised to 650 MHz could
potentially do the trick provided that a 'magic formula' for the insertion loss
to crosstalk ratio could be achieved.
For CAT 5e and CAT 6, alien crosstalk has been a minor worry which installers
could avoid by simple installation techniques. For 10 Gigabit/s Ethernet it
has become a major stumbling block.