Gigabit Ethernet adoption expected to soar

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Computer World –

Boosted by upcoming products based on the newly approved copper 1000BaseT standard, Gigabit Ethernet adoption will surge into next year with an expected 40% growth rate, according to a recently updated study by Infonetics Research Inc.

The initial study, "User Plans for High Performance LANs 1999," found 29% of the companies surveyed planned to adopt Gigabit Ethernet by 2000, said Mike McConnell, director of enterprise management and LAN programs at Infonetics. He attributed the 40% growth in Gigabit Ethernet with IEEE 802.3ab, the new 1000BaseT standard that allows companies to use existing copper wire in buildings for Gigabit Ethernet, as well as cheaper prices because "not everyone needs this much speed now," McConnell said.

For the new study, "High Performance LANs Snapshots 1999," Infonetics surveyed 225 companies: 75 small companies with under 100 employees, 75 medium companies with over 100 employees and 75 large companies with over 1,000 employees, McConnell said. Questions included what technology the companies use, what factors drive them to buy technology and their views about quality of service and service-level agreements, he said.

The San Jose-based research firm found several issues in the LAN market changed in six months.

Among the survey findings:

  • Eighty percent of companies will adopt Layer 3 switches by 2000. Companies "are more confident with Layer 3 products," and the products are fairly easy to use and priced lower, McConnell said. Layer 3 switches offer another option to routers, but they won't replace routers for bigger backbones, McConnell said.
  • Voice traffic on the LAN continues to make little headway into companies; in fact, user skepticism is growing. "There's more confusion," McConnell said, adding that voice traffic is proving to be complex with little benefits. If companies need to reboot their voice system, "they'll be freaking out," McConnell said. But voice traffic on the LAN should happen in the next three to four years, with the initial steps taking place on wide-area networks first, he said.
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