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Intel unveils 10-gigabit Ethernet Thunderbolt Networking coming to Macs, PCs

post #1 of 66
Thread Starter 
Intel on Monday took the covers off of Thunderbolt Networking, an addition to the Thunderbolt 2 interconnect standard that will allow users to transfer data between two Macs and PCs at up to 10 gigabits per second over an emulated Ethernet connection.




Mac users with Thunderbolt 2-equipped Macs running the latest version of Apple's desktop operating system, OS X Mavericks, can already take advantage of the feature, the chipmaker said in a release. A PC driver allowing data transfer across operating systems will be available "soon."

Thunderbolt has long had the ability to carry networking signals, but was previously practically limited to throughput of just 1 gigabit per second. Thunderbolt Networking increases that limit by an order of magnitude, though the connection appears to be purely local -- limited to two computers -- for now.

There is no word on when Thunderbolt Networking will be available for PC, though Intel is giving demonstrations of the technology at the annual National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas. Video professionals will especially appreciate the boost in transfer speed as the industry moves toward ultra-high resolution 4K video, which means a significant increase in file sizes.

Apple, as a co-inventor of the Thunderbolt standard, generally ships new Thunderbolt features well in advance of the rest of the industry. However, only the newly-redesigned Mac Pro and MacBook Pro with Retina display are equipped with Thunderbolt 2-compatible chipsets.
post #2 of 66

“But no one will adopt Thunderbolt!”

 

Is it possible there are already more Thunderbolt devices in existence now than there are Cat7 devices?

Originally Posted by Slurpy

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post #3 of 66
Watch the BYOPC crowd collectively yawn at this while they trumpet the benefits of USB 3.0, because Thunderbolt will be forever stigmatized as an "Apple proprietary technology".

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post #4 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

“But no one will adopt Thunderbolt!”

 

Is it possible there are already more Thunderbolt devices in existence now than there are Cat7 devices?

I am in touch with technology, phones, computers, iOS, Android, etc.... but I have not heard of Cat7? lol

post #5 of 66
"MacBook Pro with Retina display are equipped with Thunderbolt 2-compatible chipsets"

Really?
post #6 of 66
Originally Posted by Seankill View Post
I am in touch with technology, phones, computers, iOS, Android, etc.... but I have not heard of Cat7? lol

 

That’s what they’re still calling 10gig Ethernet, right? Cat5 was 100 meg, Cat6 was gigabit…

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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post #7 of 66

From Apple's website:

 

Quote:
Thunderbolt gives you two channels on the same connector with 10Gb/s of throughput in both directions. Ultrafast, ultraflexible Thunderbolt 2 pushes that to 20Gb/s.

 

?

 

Sorry, NETWORKING. My bad,

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post #8 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seankill View Post

I am in touch with technology, phones, computers, iOS, Android, etc.... but I have not heard of Cat7? lol

10GBASE-T can utilize Cat6, Cat6a or Cat7. Which you choose will depend on distance. Cat6a/7 yields the old norm of 100m while the Cat6 is ~55m.
post #9 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

That’s what they’re still calling 10gig Ethernet, right? Cat5 was 100 meg, Cat6 was gigabit…

No not so much.

 

Cat5 / Cat6 / Cat6a etc are the quality (and type) of cable.  Higher speed networking usually requires a decent cable, but you can run 1000BASE-T with Cat5 perfectly fine.

post #10 of 66

Thunderbolt will be/is just like USB was...useless until Apple started using it, even though it had shipped with PCs for quite some time.

post #11 of 66
when apple ships a Time Capsule/Airport Extreme with this so your router is 'the other computer' and the disk within the time capsule is a couple TB of SATA III 6Gb/Sec disk this will make sense as a product 'for the rest of us.'
 
I for one would love for it to take 2 minutes to scan/compare/backup/verify my backups instead of 20 as they do now over my Gbit connection, but with the molasses slow drives Apple employs in their Time Capsules.
post #12 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Landcruiser View Post

"MacBook Pro with Retina display are equipped with Thunderbolt 2-compatible chipsets"

Really?

 

Well, maybe he meant ports.  LOL!

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post #13 of 66
but does nothing for my time warner connection which is off line half the time and slower than an elderly snail the rest.

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(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #14 of 66
I use TB in target-mode when copying 20GB files between macs. I got spoiled doing this. Doing it via Ethernet would be great! I'd love to have Apple incorporated this into Time Capsule.

Of course, the Thunderbolt haters are remaining very quiet right now. Whiners.
post #15 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

That’s what they’re still calling 10gig Ethernet, right? Cat5 was 100 meg, Cat6 was gigabit…

Actually Cat6a (augmented) is rated for 10G but it is a lot thicker cable though then Cat6 (1G). For new installations, Cat6 is getting the lions share right now but some institutions and universities are putting in Cat6a for future proofing. I have never heard of any Cat 7 installations yet so I don't think any cable manufacturer has released that yet. Cat 7 provides 10G speed but with less cross-talk over the pairs of wires due to its strict shielding requirements so it is suitable in high EMF areas.

 

You are correct though. There is more thunderbolt cables out there than Cat 7

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post #16 of 66
This sounds like a great way to add 10GigE to "PCs".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

That’s what they’re still calling 10gig Ethernet, right? Cat5 was 100 meg, Cat6 was gigabit…

As @ChristophB notes above CAT6a was improvement to CAT6 to allow it to support 10GigE. Still, I think your point probably holds with referring to 10GigE interfaces in general as even now I have only seen it on the newer, high-end routers. If you really need 10Gib/s there are better solutions, like optical, which might even be cheaper at this point. (Haven't priced these components in a long time)

PS: Even Cat5e can handle 10Gib/s up to 45 meter.
Edited by SolipsismX - 4/7/14 at 12:45pm

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post #17 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

I use TB in target-mode when copying 20GB files between macs. I got spoiled doing this. Doing it via Ethernet would be great! I'd love to have Apple incorporated this into Time Capsule.

Of course, the Thunderbolt haters are remaining very quiet right now. Whiners.

I got a new Mac Mini at work and transferred all my O/S, files and settings from my old Macbook Air over to it via thunderbolt 1. It took 15 minutes for a 256GB drive. The Mac interface to do it was so freakin easy and fast. Loaded up my Mac Mini and everything was right there. This is how computers should work.

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post #18 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

That’s what they’re still calling 10gig Ethernet, right? Cat5 was 100 meg, Cat6 was gigabit…

CAT 5 is Gigabit Ethernet. The higher standard cables are for different carry rate signals. But standard Gigabit Ethernet works just fine on CAT 5.
post #19 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceek74 View Post
 

Thunderbolt will be/is just like USB was...useless until Apple started using it, even though it had shipped with PCs for quite some time.

Are you saying Apple popularized USB? I still remember the FireWire vs. USB war.

post #20 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negafox View Post

Are you saying Apple popularized USB? I still remember the FireWire vs. USB war.

Yes, Apple was the first major PC vendor to go all-in with USB 1.0 and to eschew expensive, large and slow serial and SCSI connectors.

edit: I believe it was the original iMac in May 1998 that first came with 2x12Mib/s USB 1.0.

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post #21 of 66

If you read the Intel press release linked in the article, this article has a few mistakes. First, this is not exclusive to thunderbolt 2; works fine with thunderbolt 1. Second, this is already available on Macs running Mavericks. What Intel is releasing is a PC driver bringing a compatible feature to Windows opening up PC to PC connections and Mac to PC connections; we can already do Mac to Mac.

post #22 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Landcruiser View Post

"MacBook Pro with Retina display are equipped with Thunderbolt 2-compatible chipsets"

Really?

Really! Thunderbolt, just as FireWire and USB, requires a chip, or chipset, for their use. Texas Instruments made most of the FireWire chipsets, and Intel makes the ones for USB and Thunderbolt. Otherwise, USB is sometimes implemented on the chipsets for the bus and memory.
post #23 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post
 

I got a new Mac Mini at work and transferred all my O/S, files and settings from my old Macbook Air over to it via thunderbolt 1. It took 15 minutes for a 256GB drive. The Mac interface to do it was so freakin easy and fast. Loaded up my Mac Mini and everything was right there. This is how computers should work.


I've been "converting" a lot of users from Wintel to Mac.  They are not quite ready to go full OSX as we are all software developers that still have dependencies to Windows.  So we run all our macs with Windows as a virtual machine.  Another colleague bought his first iMac and we moved his 80GB Windows system as a virtual machine.  After firing-up his new iMac and installing Fusion, it took (I think) 9 minutes to transfer his system over, and he was up and running.  

 

This is exactly how computers should work.  Apple makes it easy, and the competitors simply keep falling face-first on concrete from their own clumsiness.  

post #24 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by blokey View Post
 

No not so much.

 

Cat5 / Cat6 / Cat6a etc are the quality (and type) of cable.  Higher speed networking usually requires a decent cable, but you can run 1000BASE-T with Cat5 perfectly fine.

Yeah but you'll get 100Mb speed... I guarantee.  If you run CAT6 you'll get the 1Gb speed for sure!  I just re-wired all my machines to make such a difference, and I doubt I had CAT4, I am almost positive what I ran prior was CAT5, (custom job from my bro)... so, that's my experience.

 

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post #25 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negafox View Post

Are you saying Apple popularized USB? I still remember the FireWire vs. USB war.

There were a number of reasons why USB didn't work properly on Windows PCs. But when Apple came out with the first candy iMacs, they dropped their own keyboard connector and ports for USB. For whatever reason it was, it worked fine. That embarrassed Microsoft, which had promised that USB would work properly (finally) with Windows 98, but didn't. After Apple found success with it, Microsoft came out with a revision to 98 that fixed most, but not all, of the problems with USB.

One reason it was an embarrassment was that Microsoft and Intel initially promised that it would work with Windows 3.1!
post #26 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by melgross View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Landcruiser View Post

"MacBook Pro with Retina display are equipped with Thunderbolt 2-compatible chipsets"

Really?
Really! Thunderbolt, just as FireWire and USB, requires a chip, or chipset, for their use. Texas Instruments made most of the FireWire chipsets, and Intel makes the ones for USB and Thunderbolt. Otherwise, USB is sometimes implemented on the chipsets for the bus and memory.

Yes and no -or- really and not really. Only the Late-2013 MBPs include TB2. The Mid-2012, Late-2012, and Early-2013 MBPs only have TB1.

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post #27 of 66

Seems like Microsoft was researching this back in 2010 already... http://research.microsoft.com/pubs/144715/4208a109.pdf

post #28 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Negafox View Post

Are you saying Apple popularized USB? I still remember the FireWire vs. USB war.

Apple bet the farm on USB, replacing the proprietary ADB, RS-232, and even floppy and SCSI ports found on older Macs, way back in 1998 when the first Bondi blue iMac shipped. And Mac OS X had full driver support for all standard USB devices classes (HID, sound devices, printers, etc).

Meanwhile, PCs were still shipping with legacy PS2 mouse and parallel printer ports.

So yeah, rewrite history as you see fit. Make the PC the star of the show.

EDIT: year of first iMac was 1998, not 2001. And yes, Apple was criticized for adopting USB back then.

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post #29 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by rrabu View Post
 

If you read the Intel press release linked in the article, this article has a few mistakes. First, this is not exclusive to thunderbolt 2; works fine with thunderbolt 1. Second, this is already available on Macs running Mavericks. What Intel is releasing is a PC driver bringing a compatible feature to Windows opening up PC to PC connections and Mac to PC connections; we can already do Mac to Mac.

 

I think you read the press release wrong:

 

Quote:
At this year’s NAB show, Intel takes Thunderbolt 2 capability further, with the addition of Thunderbolt™ Networking, a new and exciting way to directly connect computers together with a standard Thunderbolt cable.

 

That clearly points to a Thunderbolt 2 requirement. The Thunderbolt cable is common between rev. 1 and rev. 2, but the chipset is not. Your second point is right, though.

post #30 of 66

Video demo: http://on.aol.com/video/intel-thunderbolt-networking-demo-518187257 and I swear he said on both thunderbolt 1 and 2...

post #31 of 66
And remember, FireWire was much faster than USB 1.1 standard of the 2000-2001 time frame, and Apple favored it for moving multi-gigabytes to and from external HDDs (like the original iPod). USB 1.1 was too slow for that.

It's easy to criticize Apple in hindsight, but to Apple's credit, they began abandoning FireWire despite popular demand for it from Mac users. Apple had abandoned it on iPods years earlier. It's finally gone from Apple's laptop line, available only via a Thunderbolt dongle.

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post #32 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by rrabu View Post

Video demo: http://on.aol.com/video/intel-thunderbolt-networking-demo-518187257 and I swear he said on both thunderbolt 1 and 2...

I see what you mean. His use of standard Thunderbolt and 10Gb connection make it sound like it would work on TB1 which also supports 10GiB/s in one direction.

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post #33 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

And remember, FireWire was much faster than USB 1.1 standard of the 2000-2001 time frame, and Apple favored it for moving multi-gigabytes to and from external HDDs (like the original iPod). USB 1.1 was too slow for that.

It's easy to criticize Apple in hindsight, but to Apple's credit, they began abandoning FireWire despite popular demand for it from Mac users. Apple had abandoned it on iPods years earlier. It's finally gone from Apple's laptop line, available only via a Thunderbolt dongle.

And supported power which was important for the first iPod.

I seem to recall that once iTunes for Windows arrived iPods were sold with both a FW400 and USB1.1 cable (as well as a PSU that had a FW400 port) which meant nearly all WinPC users had to sync with USB slowly and then change with FW400. Once USB2.0 was standard then Apple deprecated FW400 to only include USB2.0 cable and PSU, and then a couple years after that changed the pinout which made the FW400 chargers/cables on the 30-pin connectors no longer work, which was updetting because it offered more power than USB2.0 was even then cable of supplying.

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post #34 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Yes and no -or- really and not really. Only the Late-2013 MBPs include TB2. The Mid-2012, Late-2012, and Early-2013 MBPs only have TB1.

Thanks! That helps. I did not know TB2 was on the latest MBPr.

post #35 of 66
Interesting that no one has mentioned FibreChannel 4Gb/ or 8Gb/s. This Intel announce was made at NAB, the crowd that is the biggest user of FibreChannel, beside some data centers. I think Intel sees ThunderBolt2 as a potential replacement for FibreChannel.
post #36 of 66

Also, I have used this feature between 2 macs with thunderbolt 1 ports so do know that it works Mac to Mac with both TB1 and TB2. I'd assume that if Apple has a driver that works with both, then so would this driver from Intel. Also, if they are compatible so you can run an adhoc network from PC to Mac as stated, then the spec between Intel's driver and Apple's must match. However, it may be possible that Intel is only releasing this for TB2 on PCs...

post #37 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by rrabu View Post

Also, I have used this feature between 2 macs with thunderbolt 1 ports so do know that it works Mac to Mac with both TB1 and TB2. I'd assume that if Apple has a driver that works with both, then so would this driver from Intel. Also, if they are compatible so you can run an adhoc network from PC to Mac as stated, then the spec between Intel's driver and Apple's must match. However, it may be possible that Intel is only releasing this for TB2 on PCs...

Sure, you can connect two Macs via TB to do file transfer but was that specifically Intel's Thunderbolt Networking at 10Gib/s speeds? He states that it's supported in Mavericks. What protocol was used over TB in ML?

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post #38 of 66

It would be interesting to do a cost comparison between Thunderbolt 2 and Cat6A network wiring assuming a Thunderbolt 10G network switch will be released sometime in the future. One thing to consider is you would have to buy a Cat6A 10G NIC card for the computer vs having Thunderbolt built-in every mac computer.

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post #39 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by rezwits View Post
 

Yeah but you'll get 100Mb speed... I guarantee.  If you run CAT6 you'll get the 1Gb speed for sure!  I just re-wired all my machines to make such a difference, and I doubt I had CAT4, I am almost positive what I ran prior was CAT5, (custom job from my bro)... so, that's my experience.

 

SAN! SAN! SAN! SAN!

 

You may have had other issues with your existing cabling. Certain miswirings will allow for slower mbps speeds.

 

It is true that Cat5 cable is capable of supporting 1000mbps in certain circumstances. I have this in my own home network. When I first began wiring my home 10 years ago, Cat5 was the standard. As I have upgraded Macs and Switches, my connections have automatically taken advantage of Gigabit speed.

 

I'm expecting that with my short cable runs it may be possible to reach 10gbps once I have a Mac and Switch capable of those speeds.

 

The thing is, the number of conductors and the fact that they are arranged in twisted pairs hasn't changed since Cat5 at least. So the speed is something the networking hardware negotiates upon establishing link using only the electrical characteristics the networking hardware can quantify. If both ends determine they can send and receive a certain speed over a given connection, they will settle on that speed regardless of the cable's rating.

 

It is even possible that a wiring fault or poor quality installation could reduce a Cat6 cable to 100mbps or 1000mbps on a 10gbps hardware network.

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post #40 of 66
Quote:
Originally Posted by GadgetCanadaV2 View Post

It would be interesting to do a cost comparison between Thunderbolt 2 and Cat6A network wiring assuming a Thunderbolt 10G network switch will be released sometime in the future. One thing to consider is you would have to buy a Cat6A 10G NIC card for the computer vs having Thunderbolt built-in every mac computer.

With Ethernet the problem isn't the cost of the cable, but the cost of the HW. As noted you can use Cat5e up to 45M but even Cat7 cabling is inexpensive compared to the cost of TB cables. It's the devices with the 10GigE ports that will cost you. Depending on your port to cable ratio you may be better off with TB.


Edited by SolipsismX - 4/7/14 at 2:23pm

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