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Since the beginning of the Ethernet technology, manufacturers and consumers have been demanding higher speeds and reliability for a lower cost. This has made Ethernet a technology that is used in every part of the world mostly because of its simplicity, installation and maintenance. Millions of network packets travel on a day to day basis with the help of the Ethernet standard and it’s safe to say that today nearly all of the Internet traffic has some part of the connection ending with an Ethernet cable.

The Development of Ethernet

The 10 Gigabit Ethernet have been officially standardized in the month of June 2002. This technology has been a great impact on how the telecommunication and enterprise businesses work and grow. It provides multi gigabit bandwidth along with reliability and performance boost for the whole network where is being deployed. Even though the industry is constantly trying to reach greater speeds, this rush for bandwidth started sometime in March of 1999. The industry leaders at that time realized that reaching higher speeds like 10 GB/s Ethernet, and even 40 GB/s, would greatly affect not only the Wide Area Network (WAN), the Storage Area Network (SAN) but also the Local Area Network (LAN), the Virtualization systems, which would be highly beneficial for the success of every company.

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How it works

10 Gigabit Ethernet uses the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet media access control (MAC) protocol, the IEEE 802.3 frame size and frame format. By its nature it works best as a full duplex and therefore there are no distance limitations ranging from 25 meters with 10GBase-SR and up to 120 kilometers with the 10GBASE-ZR. However the 10GBASE-ZR hasn’t been standardized and has a great possibility of chromatic dispersion. Although there are 10 Gigabit Copper solutions, this is most commonly a fiber-only used technology so there is no need for carrier-sensing multiple –access method together with collision detection protocol. This method combined with collision detection defines half- duplex Ethernet and will decrease the performance.

One of the most commonly used optical interfaces for the 10 GB/s Ethernet Standard is the 10GBase-SR Module (figure 1). This is a short range (SR), most commonly up to 300 meters in range, Small Form-Factor Pluggable transceiver (SFP+) with the function of a receiver and transmitter for the transfer of optical signals over Multi- mode fibers. It’s a low cost, low power consumption module and its one of the smallest SFP modules on the market today. These transceivers are suitable for use in switches, routers, storage systems as long as the optical window is at 850nm. These transceivers work with all four types of Multi- mode fibers, however for getting the best performance out of it, it is highly advisable to be used with OM3 and OM4 optical cables mainly because they use VCSEL for transmitting optical light.

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The characteristics of the 10GBase-SR module depend on the manufacturer and are in detail explained in the vendor’s datasheets, however there are a couple of characteristics similar for all manufacturers:

  • It’s a 10 Gb/s serial optical interface compliant to 802.3ae 10GBase-SR
  • It has a VCSEL Laser transmitter for better performance and optical light wavelength
  • It has a Class 1 Laser Eye Safety
  • It’s by default a full duplex module
  • It can reach distances up to 300 meters on Multi- mode fibers (OM3)
  • It has a metal enclosure
  • It uses less power compared to the 10GBASE-T
  • It is compliant with SFF-8472
  • It provides serial ID memory contents and diagnostic information about the present operating conditions

It is highly advisable that these 10GBase-SR Modules be used with active Multi- mode Optical cables for best performance. These cables are more flexible and more stress enduring than the normal Direct Attach cable.

As 10 Gigabit Ethernet became the most widely adopted networking technology it defined the world of Networking at a very high pace. It’s simplicity in maintenance, configuration and installation have provided the companies with the opportunity to improve their network stability and expand their businesses building more and more WANs, LANs, SANs and MANs to a remote locations.

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