Realtek may finally bring 2.5G networking to the masses

Greg S

Posts: 1,607   +442

Going back to Computex 2018, Realtek unveiled a line of single-chip 2.5G ethernet controllers. These are the first of their kind that do not require firmware, external flash memory, or a heat sink. Three different variants have interfaces specific to use on motherboards, dongles, and within routers and switches.

A few months later, Realtek may have found its first customer to implement 2.5G ethernet. ASRock has teased 2.5G LAN on an upcoming Phantom Gaming motherboard that is launching soon. Aquantia is one of the few other candidates that ASRock could turn to in the business of making controllers faster than 1Gbps, but has been more focused on 10G options. Another possibility is that Rivet Networks has an unannounced controller that has been sold to ASRock.

Instead of making the jump to 5Gbps or 10Gbps, Realtek's chips only reach 2.5Gbps. It is believed that keeping costs low is the reason behind this decision. Even though 10G networking equipment is readily available now, it is still too expensive for most to implement it in their homes. A single 10G port on a PCIe card costs just shy of $100 and requires a switch that is around $200, plus any cabling expenses.

Realtek's RTL8125 features a PCIe 2.0 interface and can be embedded on motherboards. The RTL8156 offers USB 3.1 support for docking applications and dongles. Finally, the RTL8266 provides 2500BASE-X, SGMII+, and USXGMII interfaces for use in routers, switches, or other networking hardware.

Upgrading from gigabit to 2.5G is possible without replacing any existing cables provided that Cat5e or higher is installed currently. File transfers over local networks could see quite noticeable performance boosts by switching to a faster standard.

Image Credit: Network cable by a_v_d

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GreenNova343

Posts: 437   +330
So...instead of taking a massive 42 milliseconds to transfer my 5MiB photo over Gigabit, 2.5G will massively reduce that to just under 17 milliseconds....

Oh, wait, that's right,I forgot: /sarcasm

The most benefit is going to be from super-large file transfers -- I.e. if I'm attempting to copy the contents of a completely-filled 1TB drive to another, instead of taking me 2 hours 27 minutes it'll "only" take me just under 59 minutes...yeah, I can see how that really saved me some time sitting in front of my PC twiddling my thumbs (/sarcasm)
 

bandit8623

Posts: 219   +95
So...instead of taking a massive 42 milliseconds to transfer my 5MiB photo over Gigabit, 2.5G will massively reduce that to just under 17 milliseconds....

Oh, wait, that's right,I forgot: /sarcasm

The most benefit is going to be from super-large file transfers -- I.e. if I'm attempting to copy the contents of a completely-filled 1TB drive to another, instead of taking me 2 hours 27 minutes it'll "only" take me just under 59 minutes...yeah, I can see how that really saved me some time sitting in front of my PC twiddling my thumbs (/sarcasm)
Your sarcasm doesn't fit. Many people transfer multiple gig files and cutting that time to less than half is great. Just because you like to twiddle doesn't mean others like to as well :)
 

Dextruction5

Posts: 14   +10
Or you could just buy a 10G enteprise NIC on ebay that is like one or two generations old, where you would get 4 times the speed without the flaky realtek ethernet, without having to spend too much in comparison to getting a new mobo with this feature.
 

tipstir

Posts: 2,854   +199
10 MBpS = 6 MBpS
100 MBpS = 60 MBpS
1000 MBpS = 600 MBpS
10000 MBpS = 7000MBps

10GB Switch is way to go.. 2.5GB never going to get standardize. Maybe 5GB
 
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GreenNova343

Posts: 437   +330
So...instead of taking a massive 42 milliseconds to transfer my 5MiB photo over Gigabit, 2.5G will massively reduce that to just under 17 milliseconds....

Oh, wait, that's right,I forgot: /sarcasm

The most benefit is going to be from super-large file transfers -- I.e. if I'm attempting to copy the contents of a completely-filled 1TB drive to another, instead of taking me 2 hours 27 minutes it'll "only" take me just under 59 minutes...yeah, I can see how that really saved me some time sitting in front of my PC twiddling my thumbs (/sarcasm)
Your sarcasm doesn't fit. Many people transfer multiple gig files and cutting that time to less than half is great. Just because you like to twiddle doesn't mean others like to as well :)
A small group of users out there. Perhaps "many" in total numbers, but not "many" in terms of overall PC users. The majority of users might "transfer" (I.e. download) large, multi-GiB files for installation, but those are going to be massively throttled by their ISPs (only a handful of countries have 1Gbps as their "standard", & most users in countries like the USA are lucky to have even 100Mbps connections). Same with Twitchers & other streamers; they'll see zero benefit from a 2.5Gbps port when their connection is much, much slower than that.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,410   +3,486
Or you could just buy a 10G enteprise NIC on ebay that is like one or two generations old, where you would get 4 times the speed without the flaky realtek ethernet, without having to spend too much in comparison to getting a new mobo with this feature.
And now your cost just increased 10 fold. Unless you already have a 10gig switch laying around....
Enterprise 10 gigabit switches are also available on e-bay for what sounds like very reasonable pricing.
 
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Kotters

Posts: 331   +225
So...instead of taking a massive 42 milliseconds to transfer my 5MiB photo over Gigabit, 2.5G will massively reduce that to just under 17 milliseconds....

Oh, wait, that's right,I forgot: /sarcasm

The most benefit is going to be from super-large file transfers -- I.e. if I'm attempting to copy the contents of a completely-filled 1TB drive to another, instead of taking me 2 hours 27 minutes it'll "only" take me just under 59 minutes...yeah, I can see how that really saved me some time sitting in front of my PC twiddling my thumbs (/sarcasm)
Your sarcasm doesn't fit. Many people transfer multiple gig files and cutting that time to less than half is great. Just because you like to twiddle doesn't mean others like to as well :)
He's a twiddler.
 
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bandit8623

Posts: 219   +95
A small group of users out there. Perhaps "many" in total numbers, but not "many" in terms of overall PC users. The majority of users might "transfer" (I.e. download) large, multi-GiB files for installation, but those are going to be massively throttled by their ISPs (only a handful of countries have 1Gbps as their "standard", & most users in countries like the USA are lucky to have even 100Mbps connections). Same with Twitchers & other streamers; they'll see zero benefit from a 2.5Gbps port when their connection is much, much slower than that.
Then in this analogy 100mbps is good enough. yes 2.5 gig is for the power home users. why bash it? price wise and speed wise it makes sense.
 

psycros

Posts: 3,197   +3,394
2.5gbit for what? Who is already complaining by 1gbps?
Gigabit ISP connections are already common and if you have fiber your LAN might already be a bottleneck. This is mostly of concern to businesses, though - most consumers seem content to whine about their laggy WiFi connections instead of getting a real network. Of course almost none of them ever back up their data either.
 

yeeeeman

Posts: 332   +278
I understand that we have to do the transition at some point since we have 1gbps network cards from 20 years ago on mainstream motherboards. But given the push in improving compression and saving bandwidth, I don't see a need to do any change here. And most businesses don't even have higher than 100mbps ethernet connection still.
Those who really want better stuff, buy enterprise products. The only reason is for bragging rights and raising prices on new motherboards, which have gotten so simple today (so many stuff is integrated on the cpu/chipset already that motherboards could be 1/10th of the size.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 1,984   +2,435
2.5gbit for what? Who is already complaining by 1gbps?
Gigabit ISP connections are already common and if you have fiber your LAN might already be a bottleneck. This is mostly of concern to businesses, though - most consumers seem content to whine about their laggy WiFi connections instead of getting a real network. Of course almost none of them ever back up their data either.
Fake news sir. Gigabit is available in a select few cities, but the majority of the US is stuck with 50-100 Mbps. Even if you have gigabit, most sites will not saturate it.
 
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Yes, there is no need to change furthermore if we are ambitious to improve compression and saving the bandwidth. Their one and only objective is just to raise the prices and nothing else.
 

bandit8623

Posts: 219   +95
Yes, there is no need to change furthermore if we are ambitious to improve compression and saving the bandwidth. Their one and only objective is just to raise the prices and nothing else.
Compression is fine for a few aspects. But it adds latency. You can't compress certain files when they are alreadya compressed format. Examples compressed movie files and photos.