I see more and more shielded systems being installed globally, even in the countries that have been predominantly unshielded by tradition. Crosstalk goes away with shielded systems. Concerning the newer chips, manufacturers have figured out that power consumption and chip complexity are both lowered with shielded systems.
My prediction is that you will begin seeing chips that are developed only for shielded systems due to these benefits. If a data center can cut power consumption by a watt or two per port, over an entire data center, this is significant! Energy is the single largest expense. Cabling is the single lowest expense, is passive and requires no maintenance fees. Hmmmm--rather a no brainer!
There are also grounding and bonding improvements. The newer shielded systems self terminate the shield in the connector and share a common bonding bar for 24 ports. The advancements in shielded technologies have eliminated many of the problems from the past and the systems have bandwidth to spare for faster speeds in the future.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As the Global Network Applications Market at The Siemon Company, Carrie Higbie supports the end-user and electronics communities. She has won the "Communication News" Editor's Choice Award for the last two years.