Ten Gig Is Here.


LAN Links

When I was still in college way back in 1999, gigabit copper ethernet was standardized as 1000BASE-T (802.3ab); it was 10x faster than its predecessor 100BASE-T, used the same wiring configuration (four twisted pairs, e.g. CAT-5 / CAT-5 cabling) and connector types (RJ45), and very quickly became a commodity connector for servers, desktops, and laptops.

The WAN Bottleneck

In the days of residential dialup, local connections were much faster than Internet connections (56kbps vs 100mbps in the mid 90’s; literally about a thousand times faster). This led to experiences like gaming that only made sense over a local network and the development of “LAN parties” where people would bring their desktops physically together to plug into the same network to play games, exchange music and video, etc. Over the following ~15 years, Internet connections rapidly increased in speed. In the US, gigabit fiber (GPON) & cable (DOCSIS 3.1) deployments started around 2005 and accelerated with the introduction of Google Fiber. As internet connections got faster people came to rely more on services outside their local network for backup, entertainment, and sharing; the purpose of the local network became mostly to connect devices with the Internet, moreso than connecting local devices together. Consequently, improving the speed of the local network beyond the speed of the Internet connection wouldn’t yield meaningful benefit. Why get a ten gigabit home network when all you’re ever going to do on it is connect to Internet services over a one gigabit link? Nothing will be any faster for you.

3mbps → 10,000mbps in 20 years. Wow.

The WiFi Bottleneck

Most devices in a home connect to the network over WiFi. In fact, most residential deployments are WiFi-only, with very few if any devices plugged into Ethernet (despite that fact that hardlining your connectivity is a very good idea: lower latency, less jitter, faster speeds, and more airtime for your other devices). WiFi as-implemented makes reaching speeds of over 1gbps of “goodput” (actual bits transported) improbable with typical consumer devices. Wi-Fi 6 helps, but IMO the real gamechanger is Wi-Fi 6E which opens up a vast amount of new spectrum in the 6GHz band (confusingly enough this has nothing to do with the “6” in “Wi-Fi 6”).


In order to cross-connect the XGS-PON device to my UniFi Dream Machine Pro at 10gbps I needed to plug the 10GBase-T into my SFP+ port which required buying an additional adapter. Sadly, the UDMP doesn’t support load-balancing multi-WAN so my hilariously overwrought plan to use both AT&T gigabit and Sonic multi-gig fiber together isn’t doable with this hardware setup. So the moment of truth involved unceremoniously unplugging AT&T to cause the UDMP to failover to my multi-gig WAN2.


We’re on the cusp of seeing multi-gig Ethernet finally deployed in US homes after two decades of plateauing at 1gbps. 10G ethernet technology is mature and ready for deployment on typical residential CAT-6 cabling. While WiFi will get much faster with 6E, consumers will need to get used to plugging in devices for which they want top speeds, which is a change in behavior from today, where WiFi was about the same experienced speed as plugging in. People doing construction on homes should consider pulling CAT-6A cable quality to support 10G copper runs; getting a nice cable only costs a small amount more than lower quality runs. To fully future proof, consider installing conduit to each room in the house to make pulling new runs easy as new connection standards are released; it’s not hard to imagine homes in just a few years switching to 25G or even 50G optical networking, which will mean pulling new cables through the house.



Founder+CEO: Medcorder, ex-GOOG, FB. Started: Drone.VC, Mexican.VC, Neuron.VC, PBwiki, DevHouse, and Hacker Dojo. Startup advisor. Chopper pilot. Dad. ❤�

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
David E. Weekly

Founder+CEO: Medcorder, ex-GOOG, FB. Started: Drone.VC, Mexican.VC, Neuron.VC, PBwiki, DevHouse, and Hacker Dojo. Startup advisor. Chopper pilot. Dad. ❤�