Pedal to the Metal

Will gigabit ethernet continue to proliferate in the enterprise and beyond?

Will gigabit ethernet continue to proliferate in the enterprise and beyond?

Marshall Eisenberg, director of product marketing for Foundry Networks, answers that question with a question: "How much do you like waiting?" he asks. "As long as people hate to wait, these network technologies will continue to be accepted into the marketplace."

The fact that Gigabit Ethernet is 10 times faster than most existing Ethernet is reason enough for many companies to go for the upgrade, says Eisenberg. And he sees no reason—if prices are right—why the business world will not similarly embrace 10 Gigabit Ethernet, the next step up in the race for speed.

But you dont need Eisenberg to convince you that Gigabit Ethernet is on a roll. Just check the facts and figures.

The DellOro Group says market revenue for Gigabit Ethernet in Q3 of last year was near $683 million, about double the figure DellOro reported for Q3 of 1999. The research firm figures Gigabit Ethernet will bring in almost $4.5 billion in revenue this year.

Cisco Systems sells nearly as many Gigabit ports as 10/100 ports, says Bruce Tolley, Ciscos manager of emerging technologies for the gigabit systems business unit. "Its become a mature technology."

Thats big money for everybody along the food chain. Youll need network engineers who know fibre and Gigabit Ethernet, but theres no special certifications necessary. An informal [email protected] Partner survey shows those folks earn $40,000 to $110,000 and can be billed out at rates ranging from $50 to $100 per hour. "My feeling is this is one where they probably can make money," says Dr. Lance Leventhal, the program chairman for the upcoming Gigabit Ethernet Conference. "Theres a lot of interest."

A move to use Gigabit Ethernet to connect so-called metropolitan area networks is gaining momentum at the hands of companies including Extreme Networks, Telseon and Yipes Communications. When it comes to speed, Gigabit Ethernet blows the doors off other forms of "last mile" Internet connection, including DSL.

DellOro analyst Seamus Crehan notes that Gigabit Ethernet brings a "compelling value proposition" for metropolitan WANs. "Ethernet is dominant in the LAN. Its just taking off in the metro area, but people are very bullish about it because of the dynamics that helped it win out the enterprise."