Intel promised $50 10Gb Ethernet ports back in 2012. But you rarely see them even on workstation class machines.
Adoption has been slowed by several issues:
- Gigabit Ethernet works fine for most PCs, and it’s PCs that drive volume. No volume, no learning curve, no investment.
- Expensive wiring, connectors and chip sets have limited 10GigE to high-end applications, like big servers hosting multiple VMs.
- Most processors couldn’t drive a 10Gig channel because of architectural limitations.
The biggest stumbling block was the requirement for SFP+ connectors. These small form-factor pluggable connectors and their cabling were not compatible with the RJ45 connectors used on 1GbE networks.
Few SFP+ cables cost less than $100 and many are much more. That’s way more than the $40 Thunderbolt cables people complain about.
But relief is on the way: 10GbE that runs over Cat 6 and 7 wiring using RJ45 connectors that we already use everywhere. Combined with lower cost 10GbE chipsets and improved CPU I/O, we have the ingredients for a 10GbE resurgence.
THE STORAGE BITS TAKE
10GbE networks will start out in datacenters, but workstation-class PCs should start adding the ports in the next 2 years. Higher speed Ethernet will be stiff competition for Fibre Channel SANS and older Infiniband networks.
Home adoption is still 5-10 years away. Home users prefer Wi-Fi for the convenience and most home connections can’t even manage 100Mbs.
But the advent of 4k TV will push more home users to higher bandwidth. It will happen, but slowly.