10G Switches: Empowering High-Speed Connectivity for Efficient Networks

Data demands are increasing as businesses embrace digital technologies to drive their functions. Thus, businesses rely on faster, more efficient network connectivity solutions like 10G switches to meet these demands.

10G switches help avoid network congestion, improve employee productivity, and boost client satisfaction.

This white paper discusses 10G technology and the benefits of using 10G switches, their utility in data-intensive tasks, and how they help businesses build scalable networks.

An Overview of 10G Ethernet

10G Ethernet, also known as 10 Gigabit Ethernet or 10GbE, is an Ethernet standard under 802.3ae specification, which helps achieve data transfer rates of 10 billion bits per second. This standard is ten times faster than Gigabit Ethernet.

10G Ethernet on Fiber Optic and Copper Cables

10G Ethernet can be operated over fiber optic and copper cables. There are several options for achieving 10Gbe transmission over these cables. This section introduces you to these protocols and more.

Fiber Optic Cables

Single mode (SMF) and multimode (MMF) are the two common types of optical fibers used for 10G Ethernet. Generally, SMF is used for long-distance communication and MMF for short-distance communication.

  • 10GBASE-SR/SW: This is a short wavelength and short reach variant of 10G Ethernet, which uses multimode fiber optics to transmit data up to 400 meters. Thus, it is usually reserved for connecting points within a data center or to make connections in a campus where buildings may be situated at short distances.
  • 10GBASE-LR/LW: This is a long wavelength and long reach variant of 10G Ethernet that uses single-mode fiber optics to transmit data up to 10km. Generally, businesses use 10GBase-LR switches to establish connections between distantly located buildings.
  • 10GBASE-ER: This is an extra-long wavelength or extended reach variant of 10G Ethernet, usually used for making connections over a long distance. This type of Ethernet uses single-mode fiber optics to transmit data up to 40 km.
  • 10GBASE-LX4: This variant of 10GBase Ethernet is employed in LAN and DC applications and it uses wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) for data transmission over MMF.
  • 10GBASE-PR:This is a 10GBase Ethernet for passive optical networks, which uses SMF to transmit data up to 20 km.
  • 10GBASE-ZR: This is a 10GBase Ethernet that uses SMF to transmit data up to 40km.
  • 10GBASE-BR:This is a single-strand, bidirectional fiber optics Ethernet that can transmit data and power up to 80 km distance.

  • Copper Cables

  • 10GBASE-CX4: This is the first copper standard for 10GBase published by 802.3. The Ethernet is specified to work up to 15m.
  • 10GBASE-KX4: Designed for backplane applications, this Ethernet standard uses the same type of coding as 10GBASE-CX4. It usually operates over four backplanes.
  • 10GBASE-KR: Operated over a single backplane lane, this Ethernet standard uses the same coding as 10GBASE-CX4.
  • 10GBASE-T: This Ethernet can transmit 10Gbit/s over shielded or unshielded twisted pair cables up to 100 meters.
  • 10GBASE-T1: This Ethernet can transmit data over a single pair of conductors up to 15 meters.

  • How to Upgrade to 10G Ethernet

    If you wish to upgrade to 10G Ethernet, you would require various devices, including 10G Ethernet switches, transceivers, media converters, and more. Among these, switches require careful consideration because they are the most expensive and essential of the list. You can choose the ones that would help boost your infrastructure.

    An Overview of 10G Ethernet Switches

    As with other Ethernet switches, 10G switches feature multiple ports or pairs of ports, which are used to link multiple servers. These switches generally use RJ45 ports, which enable quick transmission. Each switch port is connected to the host directly and works in a duplex mode.

    The RJ45 ports help connect copper cables. However, many advanced 10G Ethernet switches feature high-speed uplink ports that support fiber optic cabling, which can be connected through modules.

    10G Ethernet switches assure significant data transfer speeds compared to traditional switches, which are operated at 1Gbps.

    Benefits of 10 Gigabit Ethernet Switches

    • High Speed: The 10GB network switches can achieve speeds more than regular 1GB switches. This is helpful in networks where quick data transmission speed and application performances matter.
    • Future Readiness: Today, business enterprises are driven to make huge investments to meet increasing data demands and technology upgrades. However, investing in advanced 10Gigabit Ethernet switches is important to meet these demands easily and get future-ready.
    • Backward Compatibility: Although designed to transfer 10 billion bits per second, these switches are compatible with the earlier Ethernet standards. It means, you can use these switches with low-speed Ethernet devices on the same network. This allows business enterprises to upgrade their infrastructure gradually without replacing all equipment.
    • Supports Multiple Media: 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches can be used in legacy, fiber optic, and blended networks as they can be operated over copper and fiber optic cables. They are compatible with Cat7 and Cat6a and fiber optic cables. When used with copper cables they can transmit data up to 100 meters and up to several hundreds of kilometers when used with fiber optic cables.
    • Scalability: 10G switches are scalable, and users can establish high-speed connections using multiple ports of these switches. Multiple 10G switches can be easily virtualized into a single switch for a throughput of 80Gbps.
    • Cost Effectiveness: 10GB network switches are more expensive than many other types of Ethernet switches, still, they are cost-effective in many ways. These switches help reduce the use of cables during network expansion, which helps facility owners save on infrastructure as well as costs of energy management.
    • Security: Many 10GB network switches feature IGMP snooping and storm control monitors. IGMP snooping helps reduce bandwidth in the network throughput by reducing the loading of L3 multicast routers. Storm control monitors are known to block multicast, broadcast, and unicast traffic that is known to flood the network when the threshold exceeds.

    Applications of 10G Switches

    • High-Performance Computing (HPC): Engineering firms, scientific research institutions, and completely automated manufacturing facilities or engineering firms have been utilizing 10G network switches for data management within their organizations. These switches facilitate data sharing and processing among computer nodes simultaneously. They also enable interconnectivity between HPC clusters.
    • Cloud Computing and Virtualization: Today, most business enterprises are keen to invest in virtualization and cloud computing as that allows them to meet the rising data processing and storage needs of their organizations. 10GB network switches are used by businesses to create scalable and high-performance virtualized environments. Primarily, these switches support various virtual machines and ensure the migration of virtual resources. They also help establish communication between physical and virtual servers.
    • Data Centers: In data centers, a mass volume of data is generated and managed every day, using storage systems, network devices, and servers. These systems demand high consistency and seamless connectivity between them. 10GB network switches can effortlessly meet this requirement of data transfer, speed, and uptime; they also support virtualization and ensure consistent communication between data center infrastructure elements.
    • Media and Entertainment: With the emergence of digital media platforms, data transfer and connectivity have emerged as prime concerns for media organizations in broadcasting, video production, and distribution business. This is where 10G switches can help. They enable high-speed data transfers, and ensure smooth video streaming, file sharing, and collaboration between media professionals.
    • Healthcare Organization: Nowadays, most healthcare organizations use several electronic devices for various treatments and improving patient experiences. These devices produce huge volumes of data, which need to be managed for compliance-related purposes. 10G Ethernet switches allow healthcare organizations to handle and store this high volume of data effectively for compliance and collaboration.

    Things to Consider While Choosing a 10GB Network Switch

    • Switch Port Type: The number of ports and their types are key considerations when choosing 10GB switches. The switches may comprise RJ45 Ethernet ports, 10G SFP/SFP+ ports, SFP combo ports, and control ports. These ports serve different purposes, for instance, 10G SFP+ ports are best for uplink transmission and combo ports for connecting different networks, and so on.
    • Power Consumption: Many growing enterprises and data centers may use high-density port switches in large numbers. These switches consume a lot of power when in operation. The power consumption would depend on the amount of data processed. Hence, it is essential to consider the power consumption of a switch according to your data processing needs. Some switches feature LED indicators that would display the power status. This feature allows users to make the right decision.
    • Switch Capacity: This factor indicates a switch’s packet forwarding rate and bandwidth of a switch. Choosing a switch with a fast-forwarding rate and bandwidth is the perfect solution for any business. It is a general misconception that 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches with high port densities can support fast data transmission. The port density has nothing to do with data exchange capacity.
    • Stackable or Standalone: 10GB Ethernet switches can be used as standalone or stackable. Standalone switches are ideal for start-ups and small businesses with gradual or phased-out expansion plans. However, stackable switches are ideal for businesses with rapid expansion plans. These switches facilitate network expansion and simplify network management.
    • Features: The features of 10GB Ethernet switches would vary across brands and configurations. Choosing switches that support functions like VXLAN, IPv4/IPv6, MSTP, NVGRE, SNMP, and so on is always better. You can also check for advanced traffic monitoring and security features.

    Glossary of 10G Ethernet Switches

    • IEEE: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
    • 802.3ae: This is the proposed standard for 10 Gigabit Ethernet by IEEE
    • 802.3z: This is the IEEE standard for Gigabit Ethernet
    • CWDM: Coarse Wave Division Multiplexing
    • DWDM: Dense Wave Division Multiplexing
    • Gbps: Billion bits per second or gigabits per second
    • IP: Internet Protocol
    • ISO: International Standards Organization
    • LAN: Local Area Network
    • MAC: Media Access Control Layer
    • MAN: Metropolitan Area Network
    • Mbps: Million bits per second or megabits per second
    • MMF: Multi Mode Fiber
    • OC-X: Optical Carrier Level
    • PCS: Physical Coding Sublayer
    • PHS: Physical layer device
    • RMON: Remote Monitoring
    • QoS: Quality of Service
    • SNMP: Simple Network Management Protocol
    • SONET: Synchronous Optical Network
    • TDM: Time Division Multiplexing
    • WAN: Wide Area Network
    • WDM: Wave Division Multiplexing
    • WIS: WAN Interface Sublayer
    • WWDM: Wide Wave Division Subplexing


    10G Ethernet is one of the widely adopted networking technologies in the world today. It helps businesses stay connected and profitable in the highly competitive digital landscape. This Ethernet standard stands out for various reasons including low total cost of ownership, high data transfer speeds, proven multi-vendor interoperability, and network management. If your network infrastructure is showing signs of aging, 10G switches would make the best investment. VERSITRON offers one of the largest selections of 10G Ethernet switches, including managed and unmanaged commercial grade switches, unmanaged and managed industrial grade switches, managed industrial and commercial grade PoE/PoE+ switches. These designs offer immediate benefits such as easy setup, simplified cabling, reduced power consumption, and a small footprint in denser networks. Learn more about 10GB switches by visiting https://www.versitron.com/pages/all-switches.