10 Gigabit Ethernet Technologies

10G: Foundation for Data Center Technologies

As companies upgrade their data centers to meet evolving business needs, 10 Gigabit Ethernet has established itself as the ideal foundational technology. It delivers the following benefits to the next-generation data center:

  • Increases bandwidth to support new applications and workloads that consume and produce substantially more data than their predecessors
  • Removes server I/O bottlenecks to increase server virtualization density and scale
  • Supports effective deployment of unified fabric in both FCoE and iSCSI data centers

Cisco supports a wide array of use cases for a cost-effective migration from 1 Gigabit (Gb) Ethernet to 10 Gigabit (Gb) Ethernet, including:

  • Full range of copper and fiber cabling and interface options
  • Ease of migration to high-density 10 Gb Ethernet unified fabric on Cisco Nexus switches
  • Ease of adding 10 Gb Ethernet options on existing Cisco Catalyst switches
  • Open, flexible server access technology: FEXLink architecture supporting any fabric with 100 Mb, 1 Gb, and 10 Gb Ethernet, native Fibre Channel as well as Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE.), InfiniBand over Ethernet, Small Computer System Interface over IP (iSCSI), and network attached storage (NAS)

Featured Products


Cisco Nexus 7000 Data Center Switch

Designed for highest 10GbE density, the Cisco Nexus 7000 also supports the highest resiliency.


10G Modules on Cisco Catalyst 6500

10G copper and fiber modules on Cisco Catalyst 6500 provide smooth migration to high-performance 10G.


Cisco Nexus Fabric Extender

Cisco Fabric Extender (FEX) technology creates a uniform server access layer

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Several media and transceiver options are available today for 10 Gigabit Ethernet server connectivity. Considerations for use cases depend on variables such as cost, latency, distance, power consumption, and technology availability. Cisco provides two main 10 Gb Ethernet copper server connectivity options today:

Connector (Media) Cable Distance Protocol
SFP+ CU copper Twinax 10m 10GBase-CX1
RJ45 10GBASE-T copper Cat6, Cat6A, Cat7 100m 10GBase-T

Category 6A (Cat6a) copper cabling was developed in conjunction with the 10GBASE-T standard to achieve reliable 10-Gbps operation over 100-meter copper twisted-pair channels. 10GBASE-T has higher latency and consumes more power than other 10 Gb Ethernet physical layers. However, in 2008 10GBASE-T silicon became available from several manufacturers with claimed power dissipation of 6W and a latency approaching 1 microsecond.

10GBASE-CX-1 based direct attach cooper is an alternative copper solution that uses SFP+ direct-attach Twinax cabling. Although this solution has a limited cable distance of up to 10 meters, it provides a robust, power-efficient, and cost-effective solution for 10 Gb Ethernet transmission.

The SFP+ direct-attach solution is a fully integrated SFP+ cable that is available in multiple lengths up to 10 meters. The SFP+ direct-attach solution draws 1.5 watts (W) of power per port, has a latency of 0.1 microsecond, and is available today.

Regardless of these variances, Cisco offers a full range of standards-compliant, high performance copper-based 10G solutions.

Fiber cabling is typically used for longer distance connectivity and environments that need protection from interference. Since it is very reliable and less susceptible to attenuation, it is optimum for sending data beyond 100 meters.

Fiber and copper can be used in the same data center with the choice for each connection based on the distance between devices to be connected.

There are two different types of optical fiber: multimode (MM) and single-mode (SM). Cisco supports all cabling options for LAN connectivity in the data center: Device Range Optics
10GBASE-SR 300m 850nm
10GBASE-LR 10km 1310nm
10GBASE-ER 40km 1550nm
10GBASE-LRM 220m 1310nm
10GBASE-LX4 300m MMF/10km SMF 1310nm WWDM