LightCounting Forecasts over 300% CAGR for 10GBASE-T Port Shipments from 2009 through 2014

10Gb Ethernet market is propelled by Optical SPF+, then by copper interconnects

EUGENE, OR - January 18, 2011 The 10GbE (10Gb Ethernet) market is finally taking off with shipments of SFP+ optical transceivers driving early growth. Several important trends are driving this market through 2014, described in "10GBASE-T to Dominate 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Eventually," the latest report from LightCounting,LLC, the premier transceiver and copper interconnect market research company.

"The design win opportunity for 10GBASE-T on the motherboard is rapidly closing for the next generation of Intel-based servers," says Kimball Brown, LightCounting's VP and Senior Datacom Analyst. "We do not foresee the opportunity for ubiquitous adoption of 10GBASE-T LOM for a few more years—in the meantime, look for thriving markets for 10GbE adapters based on 10GBASE-T PHYs or SPF+ technology using optical transceivers and direct attach cables."

LightCounting's report reveals several key findings, highlighted below.

Optical 10GbE port shipments have finally started to take off

Going forward, SFP+ will be the dominant optical interface. 10GbE SFP+ port shipments with a reach of less than 300 meters are used in server to switch and some switch-to-switch applications. Shipments have tripled over the past three quarters, and LightCounting expects the high-growth trend to continue.

10BASE-KR LAN on Motherboard (LOM) for blade servers has been shipping since 2009

In March 2009, HP announced the first 10GbE LOM in its blade servers under the BladeSystem brand when it refreshed its blade servers with Intel's Nehalem family of processors in March 2009. Once blade servers offered LOM implementations of 10GbE, 10GbE port volumes grew dramatically. The significance of LOM is huge. Prior to this generation of blade servers, 10GbE could only be enabled via adapter cards.

10GBASE-T for adapters becomes feasible in late 2011

Because the use of 10GBASE-T PHYs, on dual port server adapters (the predominant version of shipping optical 10GbE adapters) has not been feasible to date and optical interconnects are much more expensive than copper to end users, the market for 10GbE has been stunted. With the newest versions of 10GBASE-T PHYs, developed using the 40nm semiconductor process, the power constraints of 10GBASE-T are finally being overcome, enabling dual-port 10GbE adapter sales to begin in earnest once adapters using these parts are sold to end users next year.

The opportunity for 10GbE LOMs based on 10GBASE-T in 2011 is rapidly closing

10GBASE-T chipmakers will miss having their products built into Intel's upcoming Romley server platform, which is due out late in 2011. The design win window is rapidly closing for these server platforms, and LOM versions of 10GbE controllers with embedded dual 10GBASE-T PHYs are not available from multiple chipmakers. Hence, LightCounting's forecast for 10GbE based on 10GBASE-T remains constrained for the next few years.

About LightCounting

LightCounting is a market research company focused on in-depth analysis of high-speed communications device markets. Our research covers the whole supply chain including silicon and optical components, modules, systems and their applications in both copper and optical links. Our analysis is based on confidential sales data provided exclusively to LightCounting by leading component and module suppliers.

LightCounting built a strong reputation in the industry for providing solid market data and objective analysis. Our analyst team consists of industry veterans with expertise ranging from optical components and communication semiconductors to network design and operation.

To purchase LightCounting Reports, please contact Brad Smith at or Renee Isley at For press inquiries, contact Kimball Brown at

About Kimball Brown

Kimball Brown is the VP and Senior Datacom Analyst with LightCounting; his focus is on servers, switches and semiconductors for the enterprise networking market. Mr. Brown was previously VP of Business Development for ServerEngines Corporation, a fabless ASIC development firm recently purchased by Emulex. ServerEngines developed multiple ASICs, but the key chip was a 10 GbE controller, which is used by Emulex in all its Ethernet products. The ASIC is the only product today that fully offloads all major 10GbE protocols including TOE, vNIC, iSCSI, and FCoE. Mr. Brown was also VP of Business Development from 1999 to 2003 at ServerWorks, the fabless ASIC developer of Intel-based server chipsets that was acquired by Broadcom in early 2001. ServerWorks achieved 95% market share for Intel-based server chipsets.

Previously, Mr. Brown spent twelve years as a sell-side and industry analyst for Prudential, IDC, and Dataquest/Gartner covering the PC, mobile computing, and server markets. He began his career at IBM and then moved to Amdahl in the mainframe market. Mr. Brown received a BSEE from Duke University and an MBA from University of California, Berkeley.