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At Interop Las Vegas in April 2015, Intel took part in the NBASE-T Alliance public multi-vendor interoperability demonstration. Carl Wilson, Product Marketing Engineer, walks through the demo to show how it leveraged Intel's next generation single-chip 10GBASE-T controller supporting the NBASE-T intermediate speeds of 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps.


The demonstration showed NBASE-T™ technology deployed in the three key components of an enterprise network: wireless access points, switches and client devices. Specific products on display included NBASE-T technology-enabled wiring closet/campus LAN switches, 802.11ac Wave 2 Wireless LAN Access Points (WLAN APs), Network Interface Controller (NIC) in Personal Computer (PC), Network-Attached Storage (NAS), Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), network and embedded processors and Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) chipsets. Connectivity between these products were based on a wide range of cabling configurations including Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat6A, with lengths extending up to 100m. For more information, check out the NBASE-T Alliance press release.


Intel Network Division is pleased to deliver Release 20.0 (codenamed FVL3), a package that contains a new NVM images and Software that will provide customers with numerous new features and benefits when using the Intel® Ethernet XL710 and X710 controllers and adapters.


Highlights of Release 20.0 include:  

  • QSFP Configuration Utility (QCU) to allow customers migrate from 4x10 to true 40 GbE
  • Intel NVM Update Package (NUP), allowing customers to update older NVM’s in the field
  • Support for Intel® Ethernet Modular Optical Cables(MOCS)  and Active Optical Cables 
  • XLAUI backplane support for our valued embedded customers
  • Major performance and maintenance improvements


Release 20.0  Download links:

NVM Update Utility for Intel® Ethernet Converged Network Adapter XL710 

NVM Update Package (NUP) must be used with Intel® Network Connections software release 20.0.  This package intended to be used to update existing LOM/Embedded NVM’s, which are using the default dev starter NVM’s and can be used to update Intel® Ethernet Controller XL710 based Network Adapter Cards. This will update the NVM version to 4.42.


Intel® Network Connections software release 20.0 CD download

This Zip file contains all of the Intel® Ethernet network drivers and software for currently supported versions of Windows*, Linux* and FreeBSD* for most Intel® Ethernet adapters as found on the CD that


Administrative Tools for Intel® Network Adapters 

Includes QSFP Configuration Utility. This requires the NVM already be updated to NVM version 4.42.


Intel® Ethernet Connections Boot Utility, Preboot images, and EFI Drivers

Includes updated Preboot images and EFI drivers.


Please note Intel recommends updating the NVM, SW driver and pre-boot images together as they are tightly coupled in XL710.  For more details see the documentation provided at the link above for the NVM Update Utility.



Matt Eszenyi, Intel® XL710 (Fortville) PME



by David Fair, Product Marketing, Networking Division, Intel Corporation


Odd title for a networking article, don’t you think?  It’s odd for a couple of reasons, but reasons that reveal the vibrancy of Ethernet.  For four decades, Ethernet advanced on a “powers-of-ten” model from an initial 10 Mbps to 100 to 1GbE to 10GbE.  Part of why that worked was that the ratified IEEE Ethernet speeds kept well ahead of most market requirements.  Moving an entire Ethernet ecosystem to a new speed is expensive for everyone.  The “powers-of-ten” model helped control those costs.


What changed?  Well, my theory is that Ethernet simply got too successful for the powers-of-ten model.  By that I mean that the volumes got large enough for some specific requirements at more fine-grained speeds to warrant infrastructure upgrades to support those speeds. 


It is the rapid growth of wireless access points and increases in their speed specifically that creates the problem leading to a desire Next Generation Enterprise Access BASE-T.   Not in the data center but rather in the office.  Most have built out a wireless infrastructure with CAT 5e or 6 in the ceilings connecting wireless access points at 1GbE, in addition to connecting wired desktops and workstations.  But the latest wireless spec, IEEE 802.11ac can drive bandwidth back on the wire well beyond 1GbE.  And some of those desktops and workstations may be chomping at the bit as well, so to speak, to go faster than 1GbE.  The problem is that the next “powers of 10” solution from the IEEE, 10GBASE-T won’t work on CAT 5e and will work on CAT 6 only to 55 meters.


As often happens in these situations, alliances establish themselves to build momentum to influence the IEEE to consider their proposal.  In this case, there are now two such groups calling themselves the “NBASE-T Alliance” and the “MGBASE-T Alliance” respectively.  Both are proposing intermediate “step-down” speeds of 2.5 Mbps and 5 Mbps.


To learn more about 2.5G/5G technology and standardization related efforts, please join the Ethernet Alliance for its upcoming “Ethernet 104: Introduction to 2.5G/5G BASE-T Ethernet” webinar on Thursday, May 21, 2015, at 10am PDT. Additional information is available, and registration is now open at .

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