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Panduit Proves QLogic 10GBASE-T NICs Provide Performance and Reliability for 10GbE Enterprise Environments
Tom Kovanic|Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Solution Marketing Manager – HSDT, Panduit

For more than 20 years, Panduit has developed innovative physical infrastructure solutions that connect, manage and automate data center connectivity. Our focus continues on how the physical layer interacts with the logical layers of the network, so IT professionals can reduce network operating expenses, while sending data faster and more reliably. It’s no wonder Panduit is a valued member of the QLogic NETTrack partner program, as noted by QLogic Director of Technical Alliances, Joe Kimpler:

"Leading Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs) worldwide who form an alliance with QLogic® enhance their ability to deliver best-of-breed storage and networking solutions. As a NETtrack Partner, Panduit and QLogic work together to ensure product compatibility, reliability and industry-wide interoperability."

Part of our ongoing relationship is product testing and validation, so IT professionals feel confident choosing Panduit and QLogic solutions for upgrading or building out their data center. Recently, we evaluated QLogic's new 10GBASE-T NIC, the QLE3242-RJ-SP. The 3200 Series adapters are dual-port with line-rate 10Gb Ethernet (10GbE) throughput. This performance eliminates potential I/O bottlenecks in powerful multiprocessor, multicore servers. Additionally, features for supporting virtualization make this adapter ideal for virtualized environments that need excellent I/O performance to service a growing number of Virtual Machines (VMs).

Our setup for the test modeled a real-world scenario. The link was comprised of four patch cords of various lengths, a four connector model, and a horizontal backbone of 85m for a total length of 100m. This is the maximum reach specified for 10GBASE-T. The link that we used for testing the NICs was then surrounded by six other 10GBASE-T links. We use this “6 around 1” test configuration to simulate a 10GBASE-T link deployed in a crowded cable tray. This puts some stress on the Ethernet PHY as it has to work in an environment that may be teaming with alien crosstalk. Alien cross talk (AXT) is interference outside the link in question. Ethernet PHYs cannot compensate for AXT because it does not know anything about the alien link, whereas, the Ethernet PHY can cancel out Near-end Crosstalk (NEXT) and Far-end Crosstalk (FEXT). Full disclosure: Panduit’s TX6A™ CAT6A cable is designed to specifically eliminate AXT.

The test criterion was to achieve ≤ 10-15 Bit Error Rate (BER) with a 99% confidence.

The QLogic NICs performed flawlessly. They achieved a BER of ≤ 6.5e-16 with a 99% confidence level. In fact, the NICs did not exhibit one error in over a week of continuous testing. The test was also repeated with Panduit’s TX6A-SD, or small diameter CAT6A cable, out to a reach of 70m. Again, the QLogic NICs performed flawlessly.

This is great, but your question might be, “So why is this important to me?” There are a couple of ways one can take advantage of their performance. One way is network reliability. The other may be the implementation of more complex architectures, such as adding another cross-connect to the link in addition to the two patch panels near the equipment.

The demonstrated BER of ≤ 10-15 is even more than enough to support iSCSI storage using 10GBASE-T as the physical layer. For industry-leading, fully compatible solutions for your 10 Gigabit Ethernet network, Panduit and QLogic provide the ultimate performance and tested reliability you need.

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