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Definition: 10 Gigabit Ethernet


An Ethernet standard that transmits at 10 gigabits per second (10 Gbps). Introduced in 2002 and abbreviated "10 GbE," "10GE" or "10G Ethernet," it extended Gigabit Ethernet by 10-fold for high-speed storage networks (SANs), enterprise backbones, as well as wide area and metropolitan area networks. By 2016, five ISPs in the U.S. offered 10 GbE to business and residential customers. See Gigabit Ethernet, LAN, SAN, WAN and MAN.

Full Duplex and No Collisions
10GbE works only in full-duplex mode and does not support CSMA/CD, the common Ethernet collision method used to gain access to the physical medium. A "WAN interface sublayer" (WIS) makes 10GbE compatible with the SONET transport at 10 Gbps (OC-192). See SONET.

Fiber or Copper
The 10GBASE-LX4 version (see below) carries four wavelengths of light on one pair of fibers. In 2004, 10GbE over copper wire was introduced. Using four twinaxial cables, the copper version was designed for short distances between switches and storage devices in the datacenter. See 25 Gigabit Ethernet, Ethernet and FCoE.

  10GbE Over Copper Wire (802.3ak)
  (Datacenter use)

  Version       Cable    Max. Distance
  10GBASE-CX4   Twinax        15 m


  10GbE Over Fiber (802.3ae)
  Version       Fiber    Max. Distance
  10GBASE-SR    MMF/850  nm   65 m
  10GBASE-LRM   MMF/1310 nm  220 m
  10GBASE-LRM   MMF/850  nm  260 m
  10GBASE-LX4   MMF/1310 nm  300 m

  10GBASE-LR    SMF/1310 nm  10 km
  10GBASE-ER    SMF/1550 nm  40 km
  10GBASE-LX4   SMF/1310 nm  10 km
  10GBASE-ZR**  SMF/1550 nm  80 km

  10GBE Over SONET Network
  10GBASE-SW    MMF/850 nm   65 m
  10GBASE-LW    SMF/1310 nm  10 km
  10GBASE-EW    SMF/1550 nm  40 km

   MMF = multimode fiber
   SMF = singlemode fiber
   ZR** = non standard