S095_10_1_gigabit

2 minute read

If your video team is going to start working from a server or any sort of NAS, one of the most important things to decide is whether you’re going to connect to your server via 1 Gigabit Ethernet (1GbE) or 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE). What this really means to an editor is, based on the type of work you plan to do, can you get away with having a pretty fast connection of 100MB/s, or do you need a really fast connection up to 1,000MB/s?

As a general rule of thumb, if you’re workflow tops out at HD you can get by with a 1GbE connection. This even holds true for higher quality HD ProRes codecs like 4444XQ and multicam projects. Nearly every laptop and desktop out there can take a 1GbE connection by either plugging directly into it, or in the case of Apple laptops with a $15 dongle. Additionally, if your facility already has Ethernet cabling installed it’s very likely 1GbE compatible cable (CAT 5 or 6) running through the walls. A 1GbE is also the perfect way to connect up graphic designers, VFX, and your audio team as their bandwidth requirements tend to be minimal.

Where 10GbE starts to make the most sense for your team is when you’re consistently working with 4K footage. For reference 1GbE tops out at a single stream of 4K ProRes 422HQ in 24 frames per second while a 10GbE connection can handle 5 concurrent streams of 4K ProRes 4444 HQ at the same frame rate. Until recently connecting a Mac to a server over 10GbE required a special Thunderbolt peripheral that could cost upwards of $500, however Apple has started including a 10GbE port on their iMac Pro and even the latest Mac Mini which is proof that 10GbE is definitely the way things are headed. Worth noting is that in order to carry a 10GbE signal your Ethernet cable must be rated CAT6 or higher depending on your distance from the server.

At the end of the day it comes down to your need for speed, not only in the timeline but with ingesting and copying to and from your server. We can say that 10GbE is becoming more of a standard and if you’re making a sizeable investment in your gear it’s worth trying to futureproof as much as possible.

Here’s a handy guide from Apple on ProRes data rates to help calculate your bandwidth requirements: https://www.apple.com/final-cut-pro/docs/Apple_ProRes_White_Paper.pdf

Don’t mix up your bits and bytes!

1Gb = 1000Mb = 125MB

10Gb = 10000Mb = 1025MB

Gb – Gigabit

Mb = Megabit

MB = Megabyte

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