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Winter 2007

Ultrahigh-speed Copper Ethernet Standard Approved

Ethernet cables with copper wiring.

High-resolution version of this photo.

A new Ethernet standard for low-cost, easy-to-use copper wiring capable of transmitting 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) of data - a tenfold increase in speed over current standards - has been announced by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The standard was created to meet the burgeoning demands for bandwidth from IT professionals, content providers and consumers alike.

Ethernet is the most widespread local area network (LAN) technology in use today. It connects workstations, servers, personal computers and peripherals like scanners and printers and it allows multiple users to access and share these resources across an entire network. The first Ethernet consisted of copper coaxial cable and had a maximum speed of 2.94 megabits per second (Mbps). The IEEE later adopted a 10-Mbps standard in 1983, a 100-Mbps standard in 1995 and a 1-Gbps standard using twisted copper conductors in 1999. The new 10-Gbps standard is designed to be compatible with Category 6a or Category 7 communications wiring.

According to Brad Booth, president of Ethernet Alliance, "This is an exciting time for the Ethernet industry as there are a number of activities helping to drive the adoption of 10-Gigabit Ethernet (GbE). The growing deployment of 10-GbE standards-compliant equipment is generating demand for higher-speed Ethernet technology."

The 10-Gbps standard gives consumers a lot to look forward to in the future. More homeowners are taking advantage of Internet Protocol Television (IPTV), Video on Demand (VOD) and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services. With the additional bandwidth, the 10-Gbps standard provides for a whole new level of interactive content and functionality on copper cabling. Cu


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