HP Lets Gigabit Ethernet Run on Old Cable

Hewlett-Packard Co. this week unveiled one of the first 1000Base-T Ethernet switch modules that supports Category 5 twisted-pair copper cable.

The ProCurve 1000Base-T switch module lets the network manager use the horizontal Category 5 cable already installed between walls, in the ceiling or between wiring centers - all are places where new cable is difficult to install. The module can also let customers avoid new installations of fiber-optic cable, which HP says cost roughly three times as much.

The module allows connection of up to 100 meters. These connections can be within or between wiring closets or to interconnect switches or connect switches to servers. The module can also operate at 100M bits/sec.

Category 5 twisted-pair cabling is the predominant cabling installed in buildings today. In 1000Base-T, you can achieve a full duplex throughput of 1000M bits/sec by transporting data over each of the four pairs in the cable from both ends of each pair simultaneously. Each pair transmits at 250M bit/sec.

Alteon, Sysconnect and Extreme Networks are also working on copper-based Gigabit Ethernet modules for their switches.

The HP ProCurve 100/1000Base-T switch module works with the HP ProCurve Switch 8000M, 4000M, 1600M and 2424M and is about $300. It will be available in October.

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