During the past week, Packet Engines has been able to transmit data at the rate of 1 billion bits per second (one gigabit) between a desk-top computer and a computer network hub.
“We are likely the only company in the world that has been able to set up that kind of gigabit ethernet communication,” said Octavio J. Morales, director of product management for the Spokane company.
“We have been able to successfully connect our two pieces of equipment, and transfer data back and forth - really quite an accomplishment this early in the game,” Morales said.
Packet Engines is a cutting-edge high-tech company in a race with similar companies around the world to produce products that allow computer networks to operate 10 times faster than is now possible.
The pace of this competition is phenomenal.
Only a few weeks ago Packet engineers delivered the custom-designed microchip that allows a personal computer to assimilate information at that rate of speed.
Last week, Packet Engines broke new ground by setting up the first simple end-to-end connection between a computer, using its brand name “G-NIC” computer card, and a network hub - its full-duplex repeater - to transmit data at one gigabit per second.
And by the end of this week, Morales says, the company will become the first to set up a full network - a link among 13 or 14 computers with the hub - capable of exchanging data at that extreme rate of speed.
And Packet Engines will deliver the whole network package to a variety of sites in Spokane and around the country for beta testing in May.
Packet Engines is one of Spokane’s youngest and fastest-growing high-tech companies. The company was founded by Bernard Daines, its president and chief executive officer, in June 1995 with a single employee. Today, the company employs 70 and plans to double that number by the end of the year.
Daines is a pioneer in the field of high speed computer networks. He helped created the technology that allowed those networks to exchange information at the rate of 100 megabits per second, rather than the original pace of 10 megabits per second.
The next step is ten times faster at 1,000 megabits, or one gigabit, per second, and companies like Packet Engines are racing to perfect the technology.
The standard platform upon which the networks are based is called ethernet; thus the term gigabit ethernet technology.
A number of companies are in the race to make gigabit ethernet possible and commercially viable. But, says Morales, Packet is the only one developing products representing all the components of the gigabit ethernet network. Competitors are focusing on individual components of the system.
That is why this week’s successful transmission of data from one end of the system to the other is so important.
“It’s a very significant step in accelerating the deployment of gigabit ethernet,” Morales said.
All companies involved in the technology are rushing to get their products ready for an important trade show to be held during the first week in May in Las Vegas.
In other developments, Packet Engines announced Tuesday that it will offer a “gigabit ethernet start-up kit” by early July.
The kit will include the company’s “full duplex repeater” - the hub that is undergoing its testing this week - and six G-NIC adapter cards that adapt individual desk-top computers to gigabit ethernet capability. The price of the package will be $19,000.
“This is an unbelievably aggressive and unheard of price point,” Morales said. “It will be many months before our competitors can catch up to that.”
The full duplex repeater allows the high speed transmission of data in both directions at the same time throughout the network. And Packet officials said the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers standards board last week approved that capability as a standard for the gigabit ethernet industry.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
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