10-Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE)

Last Updated: September 18, 2015

Definition - What does 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) mean?

10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE, 10 GE or 10 GigE) is a telecommunications technology that transmits data packets over Ethernet at a rate of 10 billion bits per second. This innovation extended the traditional and familiar use of Ethernet in the local area network (LAN) to a much wider field of network application, including high-speed storage area networks (SAN), wide area networks (WAN) and metropolitan area networks (MAN).

10 Gigabit Ethernet is also known as IEEE 802.3ae.

Techopedia explains 10-Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE)

10 GbE differs from traditional Ethernet in that it takes advantage of full-duplex protocol, in which data is transmitted in both directions simultaneously by using a networking switch to link devices. This means that the technology strays from the Carrier Sense Multiple Access/Collision Detection (CSMA/CD) protocols, which are rules used to determine how network devices will respond when two devices attempt to use a data channel simultaneously, also called a collision. Since the transmission in 10 GbE is bidirectional, the transfer of frames is faster.

The advantages of 10 Gigabit Ethernet include:

  • Low-cost bandwidth
  • Faster switching. 10 GbE uses the same Ethernet format, which allows seamless integration of LAN, SAN, WAN and MAN. This eliminates the need for packet fragmentation, reassembling, address translation, and routers.
  • Straightforward scalability. Upgrading from 1 GbE to a 10 GbE is simple because their upgrade paths are similar.

The main issue here is that 10 GbE is optimized for data and therefore does not provide built-in quality of service, although this may be provided in the higher layers.

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