I have been working in the computer industry a long time. Over the years network speeds have steadily increased far beyond what I thought was possible. I often pause to wonder if network speeds will ever level off due to limitations of equipment or physical limitations of cabling. Many years ago I thought there would be a hard switch over to fiber optic cable at a certain point. I kind of expected that with 1 gigabit speeds and again with 10 gigabit speeds. Somehow technology for transmitting over copper keeps evolving. Recently some of our connectivity vendors started introducing 40 gigabit copper solutions.
Even though the 40 gig standard isn’t officially ratified some manufacturers’ designs are going forward. I am sure it will be similar to when 10 gig and the long line of preceeding standards were introduced – the early offerings will be quite expensive, and as it becomes commonplace the price will drop.
What I think will eventually happen is that a fiber optic network will get less expensive, and the ultra-high speed copper will keep getting more expensive. At this point, not only the initial cost but the numerous other benefits of going to all fiber optics will drive a shift toward all fiber. What do you think? Give us your thoughts on this topic.