FastFrame™ NICs FAQs


Q: Why do I need 10Gb Ethernet?
A: The single biggest driver of upgrades to 10Gb Ethernet is virtualization – a 10Gb connection to a physical server allows the virtual servers it contains to each have a high-speed connection. However, bandwidth-hungry applications such as streaming media and content editing also benefit from 10Gb connectivity. In the case of content editing or streaming applications, a 10Gb network adapter in the workstation provides an extremely fast connection from the 10Gb switch to, for example, shared storage. Benefits may also be realized by eliminating switch-to-server bottlenecks, to support multiple full-speed 1Gb connections into shared storage or servers.

With 10 Gigabit Ethernet, organizations can:

  • Eliminate bottlenecks in the enterprise network backbone
  • Create high-speed virtual networks within campuses or data centers
  • Support high-bandwidth Ethernet connectivity across significant distances
  • Migrate to higher performance levels for voice, data, and video applications
  • Extend broadband applications to users throughout the enterprise
  • Implement rich media and other data-intensive applications
  • Experience robust, responsive network performance even during peak traffic periods
  • Economically connect enterprise LANs to metro and wide area networks

Q: What kind of cabling can I use with FastFrame 10GBASE-T NICs?
A: FastFrame 10GBASE-T NICs have RJ45 Connectors, so they don't require SFPs.
Any good-quality Cat 5e, 6, 6A, or 7 copper twisted pair cabling may be used, although the best choice for the maximum cable length of 100 meters is CAT-6a.
While FastFrame 10GBASE-T NICs support 10Gb Ethernet, they are also fully backward compatible with 1Gb or 100Mb switches, and can communicate with 1Gb or 100Mb NICs (for example, in servers or storage devices) without issues and with excellent performance. This allows customers to execute phased upgrades to 10Gb Ethernet.
The chart below shows speeds & max cable lengths for various cable types.
Type Speed Cable Committed Reach Committed BER (Bit Error Rate)
10GBASE-T 10 Gb/s CAT-7 Full reach: 100 m < 10-12
10GBASE-T 10 Gb/s CAT-6a Full reach: 100 m < 10-12
10GBASE-T 10 Gb/s CAT-6a Short reach: 30 m < 10-12
10GBASE-T 10 Gb/s CAT-6 55 m < 10-12
1000BASE-T 1 Gb/s CAT-5e Full reach: 100 m < 10-10
100BASE-T 100 Mb/s CAT-5e Full reach: 100 m < 10-8

Q: Where would I use a FastFrame 10GBASE-T NIC?
A: FastFrame 10GBASE-T NICs are ideal for environments in which any of the supported cabling types (CAT-6, CAT-6a, or CAT-7) have already been run. Networking professionals are generally familiar with the structured cabling and patch panels used with copper twisted pair cabling – this simplifies the upgrade to high-performance 10GBASE-T.
FastFrame 10GBASE-T NICs are also an excellent choice for rapid set-up and tear-down situations in the field, where cabling is likely to be subject to abuse, as in filming locations. Cat-6A cabling is inexpensive, easy to find/purchase, and can be custom-crimped to the desired length.
FastFrame Lossless Ethernet (CEE)/Data Center Bridging (DCB) support provides improved iSCSI quality of service, for reliable access to storage. This enhanced iSCSI support makes FastFrame the ideal solution for customers who have:
  • Wiring closet or data center installations where the customer either lacks Fibre Channel experience, or simply prefers to use Ethernet to access storage
  • An existing NAS-dominated network, and want to add network access to block data.
  • Remote offices, to support IP routing over longer distances and ease installation and management for local IT admins

Q: What is iSCSI, and what are its benefits?
A: iSCSI, short for "Internet SCSI," is a SAN protocol that allows clients (initiators) to transmit SCSI commands to storage devices over IP networks.
  • iSCSI is routable, so it may be used to access consolidated storage over LAN, WAN, or Internet connections, making storage look like a local disk to hosts a long distance away.
  • iSCSI runs over existing IP infrastructure and doesn't require special cabling, so it's often used as a affordable alternative to Fibre Channel. However, storage access can be degraded if iSCSI traffic must coexist with other network traffic.
  • iSCSI has proven particularly useful for storage consolidation and disaster recovery, and as an important enabler for key applications including collaborative digital video/audio workflows, laptop connectivity to SANs, and remote backups. With iSCSI, small businesses and workgroups can take full advantage of a SAN environment, even with limited IT budgets and resources.

Q: I'm sold on the benefits of iSCSI, but I need an iSCSI initiator for Mac OSX – where can I get one?
A: As a complementary product to FastFrame 10Gb Ethernet NICs, ATTO offers Xtend SAN. ATTO's Xtend SAN iSCSI Initiator for 32 and 64 bit Mac systems enables Mac OS X users to have a reliable, secure, highly interoperable connection to standard iSCSI storage. Xtend SAN is fully supported and updated as new versions of Mac OS X are released so downtime is never an issue. Furthermore, Xtend SAN has been rigorously tested against products from leading iSCSI manufacturers, ensuring a high degree of interoperability. The simplicity of iSCSI makes it the ideal storage networking protocol for Mac OS X users who are accustomed to the legendary ease-of-use of Mac OS X, as even non-technical users can set-up and manage a server with just a few mouse clicks. Xtend SAN provides a user interface that reflects the elegance and simplicity Mac OS X users have come to expect.

Q: Doesn't 10Gb Ethernet over copper cabling require a lot of power?
A: ATTO FastFrame 10GBASE-T NICs are engineered to consume up to 30% less power than competitive 10GBASE-T NICs. A lower power rating means lower energy costs, lower data center maintenance fees, and less heat to dissipate.

Q: Why doesn't ATTO sell 10GBASE-T CNAs?
A: The Bit Error Rate (BER) of twisted pair copper cabling makes it generally unsuitable for use with FCoE. FCoE is used in situations where a high degree of reliability is required – storage area networks – so a lost Fibre Channel command resulting from a higher-than-usual BER is non-optimal.

Q: Why ATTO 10GBASE-T NICs?
A: FastFrame 10GBASE-T NICs feature the latest-generation industry-leading Intel Ethernet technology. The FastFrame line includes dual- and single- port NICs.
  • Decades of experience in high-performance storage networking, particularly in video editing and broadcast, inform ATTO's innovative approach to high-performance networking & storage access. ATTO out-performs the competition in the Mac market, providing prompt driver support for the latest OSX versions, while also supporting a wide range of Linux & Windows server and workstation OSs.
  • ATTO FastFrame products are engineered for maximum performance with low power consumption, to reduce heat dissipation concerns as well as data center costs.
  • ATTO customers can rely on the informative, accurate information provided by the ATTO support team.
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