Aquantia AQtion NICs bring 5 Gbps Ethernet to a PCIe slot near you

Gigabit Ethernet has been around for what seems like forever. The standard is so ubiquitous that TR staff has discussed no longer mentioning the presence of standard-issue network adapters in motherboards and other PC hardware. The 10GBASE-T standard has been in place since the middle of the last decade, but the requirement for pricey Cat 6 cable and the substantial work needed to replace existing installations has stymied its adoption. Meanwhile, the IEEE 802.3bz 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T standards ratified last year allow for extra bandwidth on existing cabling, but desktop NICs with support for the new technology have been few and far between. We've only seen a few mobos with the new adapters, and Asus' ROG Areion NIC. Aquantia, a high-end network transceiver manufacturer, has announced a pair of cards that will make it easier to upgrade network speeds on existing PCs.

The Aquantia Aqtion AQN-108 is a PCIe card capable of pushing Ethernet packets at Gigabit, 2.5 Gbps, or 5 Gbps speeds over standard Cat 5e cabling. The higher-end AQN-107 model adds compatibility with 10GBASE-T networks when the appropriate Cat 6 wiring is used.

The company says both NICs are available immediately, though we were unable to find them at our favorite e-tailers just yet. The AQtion AQN-108 5Gbps NIC will go for $100, while the faster AQN-107 unit with broader compatibility should cost $130. In light of those prices, buyers might just want to wait until their motherboard maker of choice integrates an 802.3bz controller into its designs.

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