July 2, 2018

10 Gig Copper Networking is Finally Cost-Effective

Many indie post houses run on copper networks, and affordable 10Gb copper adapters are finally here from Sonnet.

Sharing media between computers requires some sort of network.  While many post-pro folks occasionally freelance at facilities with fiber optic networks, we imagine that most of you still work day-to-day on copper internet networks.  If you are a film student, independent filmmaker, or working at a small production company, 1Gb/s copper ethernet has been the primary method for sharing media for more than a decade. It's stable, robust, easy to set up (built into most Macs), and cheap. Its major drawback is that it is pretty slow, and as files get larger, many filmmakers have been looking to 10Gb ethernet as a solution, but it's generally been pretty expensive.  Among the many exciting features of the iMac Pro was a 10-gig ethernet port built right into the chassis, which was a good sign that 10Gb was on its way.

 If you are working in an environment that has 10GB, you can now easily add any computer for a price that won't kill you.  

Now, Sonnet offers the Solo 10G Thunderbolt 3 adapter for only $199. This means if you are working in an environment that has 10Gb, or if you are setting up your own 10Gb network, you can easily add any computer for a price that won't kill you.  If you want to get 10 new computers on a 10Gb network, you can do it.  If you want to freelance somewhere and roll up and patch your T3 laptop into their 10Gb network, you can get one of these for yourself.  Best of all, Sonnet is using the same card that is used in the iMac Pro, so Mac OS works natively with it no drivers required. Since the iMac pro is a Mac product, future OS updates are likely to continue to support it, making it nearly as plug and play solution for adding blazing-fast networking to your machine.

10Gb isn't going to overtake everything overnight. You'll still see 1Gb in a lot of facilities, but now, since the machine costs will be lower, it will mostly be cabling and network hardware that require investment. 10Gb can run short distances over plain old Cat6 cable, and longer distances over the still affordable when compared to fiber Cat6A cable, so you will just need to purchase a 10Gb-capable switch, plug all of the machines together, and away you go.  Or, alternatively, consider an all-in-one switch and storage solution like the Jellyfish.  For those of us running copper for home, fiber is always just out of the budget, so this is an exciting development.

Credit: Sonnet
Available now for $199.99.

Features

  • Adds 10GBase-T 10 GbE Connectivity
  • 40 Gb/s Thunderbolt 3 Interface
  • Supports NBase-T Standard
  • Small Form Factor at 3 x 4.5 x 1.1"
  • Silent Operation
  • Bus-Powered
  • Windows & Mac Compatible

Your Comment

3 Comments

Asus and Aquantia offer 10gb copper nics for under 100.00 for desktops. Prices for switches are falling as well, but still expensive.

July 5, 2018 at 5:15PM, Edited July 5, 5:15PM

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This kind of blind Mac-centric article really is kind of sad at this point. Here we have the writer going on and on about how GREAT (and cheap for $200!) all this "suddenly" is because a new version is available. And yet there are any number of solid 10GB network cards for HALF that price for the PC. And they AREN'T a big clunky dongle box to hang off your machine, but "surprise" are a thin NIC card that plugs right in and takes up no extra space. Yes, that is a "thing." Being able to upgrade and alter your computer when you so choose.

I mean, this is just one of the many reasons why such unquestioning loyalty to a company that abandoned media content producers YEARS ago is just so absurd. Everything you can get for that $5000 iMac Pro you can get more of for a LOT less on a custom built PC designed for high-end editing or animation. And it will be upgradable and flexible in ways the iMac could only dream of. And yet... once again, we get articles like this one.

July 5, 2018 at 6:27PM

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Douglas Bowker
Animation, Video, Motion-Graphics
284

Uh, no, not mac centric. I have a Dell xps 9550 which has a T3 port, newer XPS models have them as well. HP has similar models. Mobile workstations from both vendors have 2 if you have a Xeon on board. This thing is great for hooking up to a 10g network. Relatively affordable. Only a couple of years ago the cheapest 10g connection cost around 500.00 USD.

July 5, 2018 at 8:17PM, Edited July 5, 8:17PM

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