The lowdown on 10-Gigabit Ethernet switches and routers

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What are they? 10-Gigabit Ethernet switches and routers direct packets through one or more ports at 10 Gbps. They work in almost any network configuration.

How much do they cost? They are far from commodity items. Depending on the number of ports, chassis type, management modules, quality-of-service and security features included, a complete system can cost from $100,000 to more than $1 million.

Which network environments can use them? Any network with high bandwidth requirements. Large enterprise networks, MANs, enterprise storage systems and grid computing efforts are moving to 10-Gigabit Ethernet. Because of their cost-effectiveness and flexibility, 10-Gigabit Ethernet routers and switches are becoming popular with interexchange telephone carriers as well.

Must-know info? The market for 10-Gigabit Ethernet products is growing rapidly, while per-port prices are already dropping. On the horizon: 40-Gigabit Ethernet.

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