Aquantia, a producer of high-speed transceivers and basic proponent of high-speed community controllers above and past the gigabit-class NICs which might be included on nearly each motherboard nowadays, needs to push wired PC connectivity to the following stage. To that finish, they’ve introduced a brand new pair of add-in playing cards that might transfer ethernet help off of the motherboard and again on to separate PCI Specific playing cards — albeit at a lot quicker switch charges than something you should purchase within the shopper market immediately.

Aquantia’s new AQtion single-port community playing cards are available two flavors: AQN107 and AQN108. They use the AQC107 and AQC108 controllers respectively, simply to maintain issues easy. The chief distinction between them is that the AQN-108 tops out at 5GBASE-T (5 gigabit) whereas the AQN-107 presents help for 10GBASE-T (10 gigabit).


The AQN107 presents an x4 PCI Specific Gen three connector whereas the AQN108 is restricted to a single x1 connector. Each playing cards are backwards suitable with older PCI Specific slots, although you’ll see a commensurate fall-off in bandwidth. Aquantia is promoting that it may possibly help 10GbE with CAT6a cable and 5GGbE through Cat5e.

There’s only one downside…

Let me say this up entrance: I feel it’s form of ridiculous that residence networks mainly hit gigabit ethernet and stopped, as if no one ever had a cause for or an curiosity in larger velocity residence networks. However the elephant within the room for Aquantia isn’t its NIC value, although some clients could balk at $100 for the AQN108 and $130 for the AQN107: It’s the price of the community it’s worthwhile to make your dream of a 5-10GbE residence community a actuality.

A mud-cheap change on Newegg will be had for $10-$20. A Netgear XS708Ev2 Eight-port 10-gigabit managed change is a $700 piece of kit. Now, earlier than anybody argues that this represents an absurd piece of substances to stuff into a house or small residence workplace, I agree. However the truth is, as of this writing, there’s no shopper merchandise on this section in any respect. Nobody has constructed the “naked bones” 5GbE or 10GbE change or router you’ll wish to purchase for gaming or a centralized 4K streaming media / backup server. There’s a dizzying array of shopper routers and switches available on the market, with various commonplace help and their very own characteristic units, and nothing remotely equal in the case of constructing residence infrastructure at speeds above gigabit.

Again when particular person arduous drives have been the limiting issue on shopper storage efficiency, this made a specific amount of sense. Shoppers, in spite of everything, largely don’t use fancy storage arrays which may want greater than gigabit ethernet. However the creation of SSDs means we now have storage units that may maintain extraordinarily excessive switch charges. The corresponding enchancment in residence community efficiency by no means materialized, probably as a result of wi-fi firms are pouring extra vitality into discovering methods to construct gigabit wi-fi networks that may’t be defeated by atmospheric humidity and tissue paper somewhat, than constructing “boring” wired infrastructure that’s 10x quicker than what shoppers should purchase immediately.

Anybody contemplating an Aquantia NIC can purchase with this actuality in thoughts. Except you’ve picked up some 5-10GbE from enterprise hearth gross sales or when your individual firm cleaned out its racks, you’ll need to pay high greenback for networking to reap the benefits of these speeds.

Now learn: How do SSDs work?