10-Gigabit Ethernet

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What Does 10-Gigabit Ethernet 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

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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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.