Aquantia Launches Multi-Gigabit NICs For Enthusiast-Class PCs and Professional Workstations

aquantia chip

Gigabit Ethernet has been a long-running standard on desktop PCs and in mainstream networking gear. In fact, it’s been almost two decades since gigabit network controllers appeared on desktops systems. Aquantia Corporation is looking to muscle into the space, however, with a pair of brand new network interface cards that offer multi-gigabit network speeds – and they can do so on existing wiring.

“Historically, networking capabilities, such as Gigabit Ethernet introduced in PCs in 2000, defined a significant stepping stone in the PC evolution. But for the past 17 years, that Ethernet port has stagnated at 1 Gigabit, and become a bottleneck for IT professionals, gamers, and performance users at large,” said Linn Huang, IDC Research Director. “With data workloads increasing rapidly and with PC gaming rising in popularity, breaking the gigabit plane and moving to multi-gigabit PC Ethernet speeds should be a game changer for high-performance users.”
aquantia 108
The Aquantia AQtion AQN-108

The new Aquantia AQtion NICs support 5Gbps and 2.5Gbps Ethernet speeds over standard Cat 5e and Cat 6 copper cables. This is a big deal, because other multi-gigabit controllers typically require newer, more expensive Cat 7 cabling. Aquantia AQtion NICs are compliant with the IEEE 802.3bz standard ratified in September of last year, and they’re also backward-compatible with legacy 1000BASE-T Ethernet.

There are two cards in the initial lineup: the AQtion AQN-108, which supports speeds up to 5GbE and the AQtion AQN-107, which supports up to 10GBASE-T Ethernet and is compliant with the IEEE 802.3an standard. The AQtion AQN-108 is a PCIe x1 device, while the faster AQtion AQN-107 has a PCIe x4 connection.
aquantia 107
The Aquantia AQtion AQN-107

“Aquantia expects to see a strong ramp in demand for Multi-Gig Ethernet LAN for client platforms used by power-users, professionals, gamers, prosumers and any individual who wants to enjoy fast data-transfer and quick response-times,” said Kamal Dalmia, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Aquantia Corp. “Proliferation of Mulit-Gig Ethernet is the logical next step as Enterprise and home networks get upgraded from legacy Gigabit technology.”

In addition to offering more bandwidth, these new Aquantia network controllers should offer somewhat improved latency characteristics as well. Because the controllers have faster internal pathways, we’re told there should be latency benefits in some circumstances, which is ideal for gamers looking for every possible advantage. Aquantia’s NICs offer stateless offloads for reducing CPU utilization too.

Aquantia AQtion NICs should be available in the Americas and Europe immediately. The AQtion AQN-107 10GbE NIC is priced at $129.00, while the AQtion AQN-108 5GbE NIC arrives at $99.00.