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Mature Components Market Drives 10GE Rollout

Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes
Heavy Lifting Analyst Notes

After 10 years of development, 10Gbit/s Ethernet (10GE) components and the supply chain have reached maturity. Telecom equipment manufacturers (TEMs) are moving to small form factor SFP+ optical modules for fiber links and integrated 10GBase-T transceivers for twisted pair copper links. Most are now sourcing components from a small group of leading vendors, leaving the rest to seek alternative markets. 10GE interfaces are available across a wide range of systems, from the core to the edge of the network, based on these optimized components.

10GE interfaces have been available more than 10 years, with early implementations requiring very expensive and large optical modules. Over three generations, the size of optical modules has reduced by a factor of 30, and the cost of a 10GE port has been reduced by a factor of 100. Highly integrated switch devices, together with optimized physical layer (PHY) devices and SFP+ optical modules, have enabled systems with 48 or more 10GE ports and port densities equivalent to GE systems. These developments are driving a dramatic shift to 10GE ports across the network, replacing GE in many systems. 10GE is now a mainstream technology with a mature vendor base.

That is one of many key findings in the latest issue of Heavy Reading Components Insider, "10GE Survey: TEMs Rate PHY, Switch & Optical Suppliers," based on an exclusive worldwide survey that drew responses from more than 85 professionals that represent more than 70 different equipment vendors and system manufacturers. The report covers the use of 10GE optical modules, PHY devices (including 10GBase-T) and switch devices, providing unique insight into the state of the market. The report includes vendor rankings based on respondent usage and rating, and ranks the features that are most important to respondents when selecting new components.

Third-generation optical modules with 10Gbit/s serial interfaces are quickly replacing older modules with parallel interfaces. For longer-distance applications requiring a higher-power envelope, XFP modules with the retimed 10Gbit/s serial interfaces are replacing 300-pin and Xenpak modules. For short-reach applications, SFP+ modules with un-retimed 10Gbit/s serial interfaces are replacing all other modules, including X2 and XFP. Of the companies surveyed, 80 percent have systems with XFP support, and 70 percent will have systems with SFP+ support by the end of 2011. Leading vendors for these optical modules are Finisar Corp. (Nasdaq: FNSR), Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY), JDSU (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU) and Opnext Inc. (Nasdaq: OPXT).

Most first- and second-generation 10GE PHY devices were used in optical modules with parallel interfaces. SFP+ modules have no PHY devices integrated, and XFP modules only require the retimer (CDR) function. Third-generation PHY devices, therefore, require 10Gbit/s serial interfaces and must support high-density line cards with limited real estate and power required per port. Leading vendors AppliedMicro Inc. , Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: MRVL), PMC-Sierra Inc. (Nasdaq: PMCS), Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: VTSS) and others are already delivering on these requirements, receiving very positive rankings in the report.

The introduction of 10GBase-T was a key development in moving 10GE toward mainstream deployment. More than 50 percent of TEMs are expected to have systems with 10GBase-T ports by the end of 2011. High power consumption was an issue with early 10GBase-T solutions. Low power remains a key feature when telecom equipment providers are selecting new 10GBase-T PHY devices. 10GBase-T devices are available from AppliedMicro Inc. , Aquantia Corp. , Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), Marvell Technology Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: MRVL), PLX Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: PLXT) and Solarflare Communications Inc.

10GE is now entering a new phase, with widespread deployment and a mature supply chain. There are some opportunities for smaller vendors, but the high-volume, short-reach applications are dominated by a few leading suppliers for both optical modules and silicon. Much of the technology developed for 10GE also is being applied to early 40GE and 100GE implementations. The development focus for most 10GE component vendors is 40GE and 100GE, although the 10GE market leaders will continue driving down the cost of 10GE interfaces.

— Simon Stanley, Analyst, Heavy Reading Components Insider

This report, 10GE Survey: TEMs Rate PHY, Switch & Optical Suppliers, is available for $1,595. For more information, please visit:

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