PCI Express hardware will be available late this year, but PCI Express Advanced Switching is even further down the road. InfiniBand and Gigabit Ethernet are alternatives that are here now. However, neither provides a PCI-style interface like PCI Express. StarFabric is currently available and does provide a PCI-style interface. It's part of the PICMG 2.17 and 3.3 AdvancedTCA standards. A number of sources offer StarFabric Chips and hardware. Best of all, it can be linked to PCI Express Advanced Switching.
StarFabric shares many features with PCI Express Advanced Switching. For example, both use path routing, courtesy of StarGen (www.stargen.com), and support QoS and hot swapping. StarFabric operates over CAT5 cabling with a maximum distance between nodes of 40 feet.
StarFabric is an excellent choice for those needing a robust switch fabric now or a lower-cost alternative to PCI Express Advanced Switching.