SAN JOSE, Calif. – The chip market for 10 Gbit/second Ethernet over copper cables will only amount to a little more than $350 million in 2014, but will take off rapidly after that, according to a report from a new analysis firm.
That's the projection of the first round of volume chip sales based on 40nm devices for the 10GBase-T standard, said Kim Brown, senior analyst at LightCounting and author of the new report. To date the majority of 10G Ethernet sales have been for optical products, such as SFP+ which hit 2 million units in 2010, Brown said.
Intel is the only company with an integrated 10GBase-T transceiver for copper cables today, a fact that will mute volume server and switch sales in 2011. However, the window for design wins in the coming generation of servers based on Intel's Sandy Bridge processors is about to close, he added.
The next big window will come in two years when Intel rolls out a next-generation server CPU family that requires a new mother board design. By that time 10GBase-T transceivers should be available in 28nm process technology supporting low power consumption and cost, he said.
"You are not going to get LAN on motherboard designs down unless you hit one of these cycles," said Brown.
Even at 40nm the 10GBase-T chips will consumer an order of magnitude less power and have dramatically lower costs and latency than the optical SFP+ links, Brown said.
Intel's controller is said to be using a physical layer block from startup Teranetics acquired by PLX Technologies. Broadcom is also expected to be a strong player in 10GBase-T and Marvell is also expected to enter the market.