Ethan Banks On productivity.

Burst: Pica8 Offers a 48x10GBASE-T + 16x10GbE Switch


pica8_logo10GBASE-T (IEEE 802.3an) is showing up in more and more products. Of course, the tricky bit is the cabling. If you’ve got Cat6A or higher, 10GBASE-T will work up to 100m – but 6A is relatively rare in my experience. Plain old unshielded Cat 6 will handle 10GBASE-T up to 55m, assuming the installation has been rated for 500Mhz, although a typical rating is only 250Mhz according to this note from Cisco. If all you’ve got is Cat5E, you’re out of luck.

In any case, 10GBASE-T server LOM shipments are starting to ramp up, and so it makes sense that additional switching products will come to market as well. Pica8 has released the P-3930, featuring 48x10GBASE-T ports, plus 4 QSFP+ ports that can be configured as a 4x40GbE or 16x10GbE. For more of the speeds & feeds, check out the product PDF covering the P-3930 and similar P-3922 which features SFP+ ports instead of 10GBASE-T.

And if you’ve never heard of Pica8, their play is low cost switches with a variety of programmability options. In the press release I received today, Pica8 positions themselves thusly:

Open network switches are now available through a growing roster of original design manufacturers (ODM) now qualified to operate Pica8’s Linux-based open network operating system (OS), PicOS™ over their hardware. PicOS includes both standards-based Layer 2 / Layer 3 protocols with industry-leading OpenFlow 1.3 / Open vSwitch (OVS) 1.10 integration. OVS runs as a process within PicOS, and provides the OpenFlow interface for external programmability.

If you’re seriously evaluating SDN as the way forward for your data center, or if you’re struggling with the high per-port costs offered by traditional switching vendors, Pica8 is worth a look. The P-3930 starts at $17,900.



Pica8 Unveils SDN Starter Kit


Deploying 10GBASE-T with Cisco Switches: Choose the Right Cabling

A “burst” is a quick post to raise awareness of a topic I found interesting.


  • 10GBASE-T has latency in the range 2 to 4 microseconds, which could be an issue for some applications (such as storage). But it is certainly cheaper than 10GbE SFP+ ports.

  • FWIW: The cabling doesn’t seem to be quite so critical as you make it out to be.

    With my Arista 10G-Base-T switches, I can run 40-50′ over Cat5e UTP at 10G speeds without any drops or problems. Same throughput, lack of errors, if I swap out to Cat6 cabling. This is pushing beyond what Arista recommends (which does include some smaller distance on Cat5e being possible), but then again, going beyond 100m on Cat5e at gig speeds is quite do-able as well, well past 100m..

By Ethan Banks
Ethan Banks On productivity.

You probably know Ethan Banks because he writes & podcasts about IT. For example, he co-authored "Computer Networks Problems & Solutions" with Russ White.

This site is Ethan on productivity--not tech so much.

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