Power Consumption Problem of 10GBASE-T

Why Power Consumption Issue Is Important for 10GBASE-T

Since the originally planned application is located in the conversion blade system and server, Power Consumption Problem of 10GBASE-T power consumption is an important standard. The available power on the server notch used in the 10GBASE-T interface is strictly limited, and the cooling problem puts forward a lower critical value for acceptable power consumption. The blade in the Ethernet converter is not only limited by the information processing capacity, Power Consumption Problem of 10GBASE-T but also limited by the power and heat generated.

There are many reasons why network administrators pay attention to power consumption. First, when defining the total power requirement, the necessary power must be provided for the network electronic equipment. Secondly, power requirements need to be converted into heat consumption and other thermal problems, which must be paid special attention in equipment intensive areas such as data centers. The last is the environmental problem. The development trend of low-power systems meets the requirements of energy conservation.

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The module has a predetermined power limit. On the main engine switchboard, excessive power consumption requires additional thermal management and power supply regulation. As power increases, more expensive cooling solutions (cooling and fans) are required. Power consumption also determines the limitation of port density and may affect the stacking distance of racks.

Obviously, if 10GBASE-T needs more power than other optical fiber interfaces, the market of 10GBASE-T will be blocked. For this reason, developers will make every effort to ensure that the power consumption level is similar to that of 10G Optical fiber media. At present, the power consumption of 10GBASE-T is expected to be 8 ~ 12W, which is still higher than the current level of 3 ~ 6W of 10G Optical fiber link. See the table below for details.

10GBase-T:Power Requirement Estimates Source:IEEE

Company Process AFE Power DSP Power Total Power
Broadcom,Marvell,Cicada,Vativ 65nm 8~16W 2.2W 10~18W
Solarflare 90nm < 5 W 2 W < 7 W
NEC Electrorics 90nm









How to Overcome the 10GBASE-T Power Consumption Problem

Power consumption is no longer a new problem. When IEEE developed the 1000BASE-T standard, all participants predicted that 1000BASE-T could achieve the level of 3 ~ 4W. Although the initial batch of products is still in the range of 8 ~ 10W, the final achievable power consumption level of 1000BASE-T products is much lower than the level originally expected by the Committee. However, will 10GBASE-T also significantly reduce power consumption like 1000BASE-T?

10GBASE-T does adopt mixed signal design, and its analog front-end poses a challenge to semiconductor designers in terms of performance and power consumption. In the past few years, mainly with the progress of CMOS processing capacity, the power consumption of Gigabit Ethernet PHY has been reduced to less than 1W, because unlike 10GBASE-T, the power consumption of 1000BASE-T is completely controlled by digital circuits. Unfortunately, the speed of CMOS processing power improvement has slowed down. In addition, due to the difficulty of improving the processing capacity, the power of analog circuits has reached the limit. Each channel of the 10GBASE-T analog front-end requires an 800 MSPs digital / analog converter (DAC), a line driver, a hybrid circuit with echo canceller, an 800 MSPs analog / digital converter (ADC) and various line filters. Among them, the key circuits are ADC, line driver and DAC. When designers face problems, they can always find ways to improve the circuit structure, so as to reduce power consumption. However, innovation always carries uncertainties and cannot be quantified. The influence of simulated power consumption on 10GBASE-T in the future is very complex. CommScope believes that even if the digital power is reduced through the improvement and optimization of processing capacity, the power consumption of 10GBASE-T cannot be reduced to the same level as that of 1000BASE-T (see the figure below). However, over time, cable designers will find new methods or new structural formats so that 10GBASE-T can be used effectively. Some chip manufacturers have begun to study this technology.

power consumption

Considering the concerns about the initially expected power consumption and the decision to accelerate the acceptance of the 10GBASE-T market, the IEEE 802.3an working group added the operation of short-range low-power mode to the 10GBASE-T standard. The unofficial name of this mode is 10GBASE-T-S, and its operation specifically supports a distance of less than 30m. This length is long enough for many data center cabling. This mode makes full use of the performance advantages of category 6A / EA class 30m channel, thereby reducing the complexity of transceiver and corresponding power consumption. This research and development will enable 10GBASE-T to transmit at a power lower than 4W, and promote the adoption of 10GBASE-T in the data center. At the same time, the technology will continue to develop and optimize the power consumption of 100m solution.


It is more and more certain that the network speed will continue to improve in a controllable way, and the development of lower power processors and lower cost interfaces will drive the improvement of network speed. Under this development trend, the reasonable combination of high-performance UTP and optical fiber cabling will become a common and stable way of network infrastructure design today, especially in the data center. QSFPTEK.COM is able to provide high-performance 10GBASE-T SFP+ copper products and a full range of optical fiber products. Welcome to contact via sales@qsfptek.com.

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