Network OS Systems for Bare Metal Switch

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As you may know that a network switch with no network operating system (NOS) is referred to as a bare metal switch. Unlike a white box switch with vendor’s own or 3rd party already loaded NOS, a bare metal switch allows you to load a network OS according to your own will. After installing the NOS, these two types of switches are normally regarded as the same. Then, how to choose network OS systems for bare metal switches? Listed below are three popular choices, namely Cumulus Linux, IP Infusion OcNOS™ and Pica8 PICOS.

Option 1: Network OS Cumulus Networks Cumulus Linux

Cumulus Linux is a powerful open network OS designed by Cumulus Networks to help build and operate large data center networks. Therefore, the Cumulus Linux is a perfect match for a data center switch which operates in bigger networks such as enterprise, data center and metro Ethernet scenarios. It is a true Linux distribution with a hardware abstraction layer that runs on a variety of commodity hardware. Cumulus Linux uses automated tools to manage the network infrastructure and hopes to automate the configuration of network switches with these existing tools.

Cumulus Linux network OS

Additionally, Cumulus Linux offers economical scalability and choice flexibility to run multiple network paths without the need for multiple switches. The main features of Cumulus Linux lie in the following aspects:

  • Economical Scalability: Customers can get increased operational efficiency with commodity hardware and a standardized Linux stack.
  • Built for the Automation Age: This Debian-based Linux distribution offers a completely open architecture and is designed for easy automation.
  • Standardized Toolsets: It allows open source and commercial Linux applications to run natively. You can use your own automation or other tools to improve efficiency and multiply the number of switches per operator.
  • 70+ Hardware Platforms for Choice: You can choose compatible hardware based on your needs and your budget flexibly.

Cumulus Linux enables modern data center architectures while providing a transition path for traditional data center architectures. It supports layer 2, layer 3 and overlay architectures. This open architectural approach enables a wide range of solutions such as Clos, L3 network, L2 network, campus expansion, out of band management, etc.

Cumulus Linux architecture

Option 2: Network OS IP Infusion OcNOS™

OcNOS™ is designed to address the needs of public, private or hybrid cloud networks. It offers Carrier-grade network OS for bare metal switches. It includes many advanced capabilities such as extensive switching and routing protocol support, MPLS, SDN, etc.

In addition to providing industry standard CLI, OcNOS™ supports all standard MIBs , other standard operation and management tools as well. The main features are:

  • Support Multiple Deployments: The several abstraction layers allow seamless portability across diverse network hardware.
  • Modular Software Design: This design can make it customized, built and packaged with minimal software features to reduce CapEx and device footprint.
  • Wide Interoperation: With CLI and SNMP management, the the OcNOS-based network node is easy to operate and interoperate with another vendor node.
  • Support for disruptive networking technologies: It enables SDN support through OpenFlow and can provide custom programmable network operations.

Option 3: Network OS Pica8 PICOS

The PICOS is also an open Linux-based network OS built on the robust Debian Linux environment for bare metal switches. It supports all major L2 and L3 switching. What’s more, it can leverage a vast array of standard Linux tools and supports IPv4 and IPv6 static routing as well.

In addition to the basic features mentioned above, the PICOS supports other functions depending on its two different editions. For PICOS enterprise edition, it supports CrossFlow dual control plane technology for improved OpenFlow integration, scale, and management. For PICOS SDN edition, it uses OpenFlow to control MPLS, GRE, NVGRE or VXLAN tunnels, delivering on the promise of open programmability.

Conclusion

From all the above, you may have a general understanding of the three main network OS systems. You can choose a proper one according to your actual needs. For example, if you need a Debian-based Linux distribution NOS with Clos solution for a 40GB switch, Cumulus Linux is a wise choice.

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12-Port 10GbE SFP+ Switch Recommendation

Nowadays, network users tend to have multiple requirements on a single network switch, especially on the functions and ports. Much evidence shows that the 10GbE SFP+ switch is getting more popular with greater demand. Listed below are some typical examples gathered from different forums on what switch they really need:

– “I want a 10G switch (8 or 12 SFP+ ports are better) with several Gigabit RJ45/SFP ports. And the switch must support VLAN and STP/RSTP. Any suggestions?”

– ”Looking for a layer2/layer3 10GbE switch with 8-12 ports and in the US$2,500 range. By the way, I prefer SFP+ rather than copper 10GbE since all the cables I have got are SFP+ DACs.”

– “Help! Need a 12-port or 16-port 10GbE SFP+ switch with relatively cheap price. Any suggestion would be appreciated!”

From the three thread descriptions above, the common Gigabit Ethernet switch can no longer meet the needs of many people. To meet all the requirements mentioned above, several 10G switches are recommended below:

FS S5800-8TF12S 12-Port 10GbE SFP+ Switch

The S5800-8TF12S 12-port 10 GbE SFP+ switch provided by FS.COM can meet all the demands mentioned above. This switch is a high-performance Ethernet switch with several highlights. It offers 8 x 1GbE SFP/RJ45 combo ports and 12 x 10GbE uplink ports in a compact 1RU form factor, which is ideal for hyper-converged infrastructure. In addition, this 10G switch supports both L2 and L3 packet processing. It has very low system power consumption of 65W at most.

FS S5800-8TF12S 12-Port 10GbE SFP+ Switch

D-link DXS-1210-12SC 10GbE SFP+ Switch

D-link DXS-1210-12SC is also a 12-port 10G switch. However, it can not meet all the demands mentioned from the three threads. This 10GB SFP+ switch only has 2 x 10GBASE-T/SFP+ combo ports. While, it has 10 x 10-Gigabit SFP+ Ports. It supports auto surveillance VLAN, L2 and L3 packet processing as well.

Mellanox SX1012X 10GbE SFP+ Switch

Mellanox SX1012X is an ideal 10GbE ToR switch with 12 ports. It is a high-performance small-scale switch in a half-width 1U form factor. It has 12 QSFP+ ports for uplink connection. If you buy this switch, you have to buy the corresponding DACs and optical modules together since it does not have other port for simple copper connection.

Netgear XS712T 10GbE SFP+ Switch

The Netgear XS712T is a 12-port 10-Gigabit copper smart switch with 10 dedicated 10GBase-T copper ports and 2 copper/SFP+ combo ports. The 10GBase-T copper ports can support 10G/1G/100M speeds and the combo ports are used for 10G connection. It is designed for SMB network with advanced L2+/Layer 3 lite features.

FS S5800-8TF12S vs D-link DXS-1210-12SC vs Mellanox SX1012X vs Netgear XS712T

How to choose a proper 10GbE SFP+ Switch for your network? Look at the following chart to compare the four different 10Gb SFP+ switches mentioned above:

10GbE SFP+ Switch comparison

From the comparison chart, it is clear that the biggest differences between these 10GbE SFP+ switches are the port types and numbers they support. You can choose a switch according to your actual needs. Of course, the price is another big factor which may affect your decision.

Conclusion

For the four 10GbE SFP+ switches recommended above, you can choose from the ports and the functions you need. For example, if you need the switch for hyper-converged infrastructure with 12 x 10 Gbps SFP+ ports, the FS S5800-8TF12S is a better choice. By the way, this switch offers a competitive price of US$ 1,899.00.

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FS S5850-32S2Q 10GbE 32-Port Switch With Two 40G QSFP+ Uplinks

Network switch has become unprecedented important in today’s networking market for its rapid update in performance. In the meanwhile, network users tend to have more requirements on a single switch, such as more port numbers, bigger switching capacity, higher bandwidth, etc. Here, we will introduce FS S5850-32S2Q 10GbE 32-port switch featuring all these requirements.

FS S5850-32S2Q 10GbE 32-Port Switch Overview

FS S5850-32S2Q 10GbE 32-Port Switch Ports

The S5850-32S2Q switch has 32 ports for 10Gb SFP+ connection and 2 ports for 40G QSFP+ Uplinks. That is to say, it has a non-blocking bandwidth of up to 400Gbps. In addition, It offers a switch fabric capacity of up to 800Gbps and forwarding rate up to 596Mpps.

FS S5850-32S2Q 10GbE 32-Port Switch
FS S5850-32S2Q 10GbE 32-Port Switch Key Features

The key features of this 32-port switch lie in that it provides high-performance, high interface density, and low latency to facilitate the rapid service deployment. The detailed key features are listed below:

  • Supports advanced data center features including MLAG, VXLAN, IPv4/IPv6, SFLOW, SNMP, Priority Flow Control (PFC) and data center TCP.
  • Provides L2 and L3 network service.
  • Supports a complete set of security features like IEEE 802.1x, DHCP Snooping and L2/L3/L4 multi-layer ACLs (Access Control Lists).
  • In case of an Ethernet ring network failure, the backup link will quickly recover the communication between the ring network nodes.
FS S5850-32S2Q 10GbE 32-Port Switch Main Uses

The two main uses of this 32-port switch lie in that it is not only an aggregation or access switch in Metro L2 ring network but also a leaf switch in enterprise data center.

1)Metro L2 Ring Network Application:

Ring network, also known as ring topology, is one of the network topologies in which each node is exactly connected to two other nodes. Therefore, it can form a ring-like pathway by transmitting signals through each node. The ring network reduces chances of data collision since each node releases a data packet after receiving the token. The picture below shows FS S5850-32S2Q switches for Metro L2 ring network topology as aggregation or access devices. These aggregation switches mainly use QinQ or ERPS features to deliver Metro Ethernet service.

S5850-32S2Q 10GbE 32-Port Switch in ring network

2)Enterprise Data Center Network Application

The S5850-32S2Q 10GbE 32-port switch can provide access ports for high density 10GE servers and 40GE uplink ports to aggregation or core switches as well. It can be used as leaf switch in data center access network topology with features such as VLAN, LACP, RSTP&MSTP, MLAG, DCB, etc.

32-port-switch-as-leaf-switch

FS S5850-32S2Q Buyer’s Guide

In addition to the information mentioned above, there are other specifications you need to know about FS S5850-32S2Q when choosing a 32-port switch. Listed below are the most important specifications for reference before buying this 10GB switch.

S5850-32S2Q-10GbE-32-port-switch-specifications

Conclusion

All in all, it is clear that the FS S5850-32S2Q 10GbE 32-port switch supports comprehensive protocols and applications. It plays an important role in data centers, Metro, enterprise network, campus network, etc. This 10GB switch is ideal to facilitate the rapid service deployment in both traditional L2 or L3 networks. You can enjoy a non-blocking bandwidth of up to 400Gbps! By the way, if you want an additional Gigabit switch for other use, FS offers multiple choices for you as well.

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FS 1U Rack Mount Enclosure Comparison: FHD-1UFMT-N vs FHD-1UFCE

Nowadays, rack mount enclosure (or rack enclosure) is widely used in enterprise data centers, server rooms, schools, etc. to manage network cables. As one of the most popular options, 1U rack mount enclosure is a priority choice in many situations. While, normally, there are two styles (slide-out style and removable style) of enclosures in the same 1U rack space. Then, how to choose a proper one for your cabling? Next, let’s take the comparison on two types of FS 1U rack mount enclosures as an example.

1u rack mount enclosure

FS FHD-1UFMT-N 1U Rack Mount Enclosure

FHD-1UFMT-N is one of the FHD series products that self-developed by FS.COM. The FHD series products focus on easy-to-manage high density fiber cabling. It is a cost-effective and reliable solution for fiber cable management in data centers, server rooms, CATV (Cable TV), etc.

FS FHD-1UFMT-N 1U Rack Mount Enclosure Technical Information
  • Net Weight: 3.65KG
  • Dimensions: 44mm(H) x 430mm(W) x 281.9mm(D)
  • Material: Steel with black powder coating
  • Modular Design: 4 x FAPs or 4 x HD MTP/MPO cassettes can be loaded, up to 96 fibers
  • Accessories: Mounting hardware and accessory kit with labels included
FS FHD-1UFMT-N 1U Rack Mount Enclosure Key Feature: Removable Lid in Design

FHD-1UFMT-N is a 1U rack mount enclosure with an easy-to-move cover. That is to say, this rack mount fiber patch panel has a removable lid. You can remove its cover and then organize your cables with different solutions. It can hold up to 4 x fiber adapter panels or 4 x MTP/MPO cassettes of up to 96 fibers for cable management.

FS FHD-1UFMT-N 1U Rack Mount Enclosure Three Main Uses

This FHD-1UFMT-N enclosure can provide you with multiple solutions on fiber optic patching, terminating and splicing applications. Here are the three main uses of this 1U rack mount enclosure:

1) It enables fiber splice tray installation and removement. In addition, one FHD-1UFMT-N enclosure can hold up to 4 splice trays.

2) It can hold up to 2 slack spools for cabling.

3) It supports high-density cabling management with up to 4 MTP or MPO cassettes.

FS FHD-1UFMT-N 1U Rack Mount Fiber Enclosure Inside Cabling

FS FHD-1UFCE 1U Rack Mount Enclosure

FHD-1UFCE enclosure is also one of the self-developed products provided by FS.COM. This 1U rack mount enclosure offers you easy and quick installation within its 1U space.

FS FHD-1UFCE 1U Rack Mount Enclosure Technical Information
  • Net Weight: 5.6KG
  • Dimensions: 44mm(H) x 448mm(W) x 467.5mm(D)
  • Material: Steel with black powder coating
  • Modular Design: 4x FAPs or 4x HD MPO/MTP cassettes can be loaded, up to 96 fibers
  • Accessories: Mounting hardware and accessory kit with labels and bend radius bracket included
FS FHD-1UFCE 1U Rack Mount Enclosure Key Feature: Slide-out Style in Design

FHD-1UFCE is a 1U rack mount enclosure with a parallel sliding drawer. Compared with the normal design with removeable lid, this unique design saves your time and energy without removing the top cover whenever installation is needed. You can slide the drawer out and then install matching products to organize your cables with ease. It can hold up to 4 x fiber adapter panels or 4 x MTP/MPO cassettes of up to 96 fibers for cable management as well.

FS FHD-1UFCE 1U Rack Mount Enclosure Uses

The main uses of this 1U rack mount enclosure are the same as FHD-1UFMT-N rack enclosure. The FHD-1UFCE supports patch cord connections with slack spools, storage of spliced fiber pigtails and cabling management with MTP or MPO cassettes as well.

FS FHD-1UFCE 1U Rack Mount Enclosure Cabling Solution

Buyer’s Guide: FHD-1UFMT-N vs FHD-1UFCE

Normally, these two styles (slide-out style and removable style) of enclosures have much in common. However, they still differ from each other.

FHD-1UFMT-N vs FHD-1UFCE

Conclusion

For 1U rack mount enclosure choosing, you can take many factors into consideration. As for FHD-1UFMT-N vs FHD-1UFCE, the main applications are the same. They both can be used for patch cord connections, storage of spliced fiber pigtails and high-density MTP or MPO cabling management. Therefore, you can focus on their differences in price, installation design, dimensions, weight, etc. By the way, FS offers other rack mount enclosures such as 2U, 4U as well. You can choose a proper fiber enclosure according to your actual needs.

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FS 24-Port Managed Switch With Both Fanless & Stackable Features

From an application point of view, the current market demand for products is becoming more and more multi-functional. For example, different industries have different functional requirements for network switches, especially for the currently popular 24-port managed switch. You may often see the questions on Reddit seeking for help like the situations below:

– “I am looking for a quiet or fanless switch to install in my office. It is better to have at least 24 ports and support SFP+ uplinks. Any suggestions on where to buy one?”

– “Looking for a 24-port stackable switch for home lab. It would be nice if it could support 10G interconnection. Any advice would be appreciated!”

It seems that a 24-port fanless switch or stackable switch is a popular trend for network construction. Then, can I own a 24-port managed switch with both the characteristics of these two switches? Yes, FS S3900-24T4S 24-port managed switch can meet your needs.

FS S3900-24T4S 24-Port Managed Switch Meets All Your Needs

Key Features: Fanless & Stackable in Design

The key features of FS S3900-24T4S 24-port managed switch are that it is not only a fanless switch but also a stackable switch.

The fanless design of S3900-24T4S ensures noiseless operation and increases the reliability and energy efficiency of the system. And the stackable feature of S3900-24T4S simplifies network administration. Whether it operates alone or “stacked” with other units, there is always just a single management interface for the network administrator to deal with. This simplifies the setup and operation of the network. The S3900-24T4S 24-port managed switch is almost an omnipotent switch for choice under many circumstances.

S3900-24T4S 24-port managed switch

In addition to the two main features mentioned above, this 24-port managed switch has other significant features.

Specification of S3900-24T4S 24-Port Managed Switch
S3900-24T4S-specification

How to Install and Use FS S3900-24T4S 24-Port Managed Switch?

Installation Tips:
  • Temperature: Check if the operation temperature is within the specified operating temperature range. Make sure to keep a sound air flow of the rack environment.
  • Avoid additional weight: Do not place any other device or equipment on this switch.
  • Grounding: Keep this switch well grounded.

Note: If you want to mount this switch on a rack, pay attention to the circuit capacity as well. Check whether the circuit will be overload or not before installing S3900-24T4S on the rack. If the circuit can not bear the load of the switch, do not install it at your own will.

How to Use S3900-24T4S 24-Port Managed Switch:

For copper connection: You can use Cat5 cable for 10/100Base-T connection and use Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a or above to reach 1000Base-T connection.

For fiber connection: Since the S3900-24T4S 24-port managed switch has four 10G SFP+ ports, you can use a variety of 10G optical transceivers and cables to connect with other network devices. The supported transceivers include 10G SFP+, BiDi SFP+, CWDM SFP+, DWDM SFP+, 10GBASE-T SFP+, etc. While the supported cables could be 10G DAC cable and AOC cable. In addition, this switch allows backwards compatibility on 1G SFP. All third-party modules and DAC/AOC cables can be used on the SFP+ ports of this switch, which can save a lot of deployment costs.

Conclusion

From all the above, you may have a general understanding of FS S3900-24T4S 24-port managed switch. Endowed with so many powerful features such as fanless and stackable design, this switch offers unique advantages over many switches in the market. If you want a switch with both fanless and stackable features, FS S3900-24T4S is a priority choice!

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SFP Slot Definition and Its User Guideline

It is obvious that optical transceiver is widely used in telecommunication and data center. Speaking of this, SFP module is inevitably involved. However, have you ever heard of SFP and SFP slot? Do you have any idea about how to use SFP slots? If not, read through this post to find what SFP slot is and how to use it.

What Is SFP Slot?

What is SFP port/slot? To figure this out, you must know what SFP is in the first place.

SFP, an acronym of small form-factor pluggable, is a compact and hot-pluggable transceiver used for both telecommunication and data communication applications. It connects motherboards of network devices (such as switches and routers) with optical or copper cables. By doing this, it converts Gigabit electrical signals into optical signals, and vice versa.

Therefore, just as its name implies, SFP slot is designed for use with SFP transceivers or modules. It offers a place where a SFP transceiver can plug into and then support fiber connection or copper cable connection. Different connection can support different transmission speed and distance. Normally, a Gigabit SFP inserted into a SFP port can reach a speed of up to 1 Gbps!

what is sfp slot

How to Use the SFP Slot?

SFP slot is also known as SFP port. Thus, this question can be referred to as how to use SFPs with SFP ports. SFP and SFP port usually work in pairs. That is to say, you should use SFP slot with a corresponding SFP. Normally, optical transceivers used in SFP slots can be divided into optical and copper SFPs. They can be used on a wide variety of products and intermixed in combinations of 1000BASE-T, 1000BASE-SX, 1000BASE-LX/LH, 1000BASE-EX, 1000BASE-ZX, or 1000BASE-BX10-D/U on a port-by-port basis.

The common match for SFP ports are copper SFP module applied with network cable and fiber SFP module applied with fiber optic cable. Network cable or copper cable includes Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, etc. While, fiber optic cable includes single mode fiber and multimode fiber. Therefore, if you want to know how to use SFP slot, you need to know how to choose right copper SFP modules or fiber SFP modules for SFP slots. As for how to choose the right SFP modules, go ahead for more details in the next two paragraphs.

Copper SFP module for SFP Slot

A copper SFP module inserted into a SFP port has a RJ45 connector. It can transmit data within 100m over copper twisted pair cable. And the data transmission rate can reach up to 1000 Mbps. It is normally divided into two types, 1000BASE-T and 1000BASE-TX copper SFP. The former uses the IEEE 802.3ab standard using four bidirectional copper pairs, and each pair supports a data rate of 250 Mbps. While, the latter uses the TIA/EIA-854 standard using two unidirectional copper pairs (one pair for transmitting, one for receiving), each of which supports a data rate of 500 Mbps.

Fiber SFP module for SFP Slot

A fiber SFP module inserted into a SFP port has a LC duplex interface. It consists of seven types, namely 1000BASE-SX, 1000BASE-LX, 1000BASE-LX10, 1000BASE-LX/LH, 1000BASE-LH, 1000BASE-EX and 1000BASE-ZX. They are used under different circumstances shown in the picture below:

sfp-ports-with-fiber-sfp-modules

Conclusion

From all the above, you may have a general understanding of what a SFP slot is and how to use it properly. SFP ports are found in Ethernet switches, routers, firewalls and network interface cards, etc. If you want to transfer data in 100m, then either a copper SFP or fiber SFP is a right choice to match the SFP port. If you want to transfer data over 100m, then a fiber SFP is needed.

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What Is Layer 3 Switch?

Layer 3 switch has roused much attention with the quick renovation of the network upgrade. It plays an important role in data exchange inside a large local area network. Then, what is layer 3 switch? Read this post to learn more about layer 3 switch involved with the comparison of layer 3 switch vs layer 2 and layer 3 switch vs router.

What Is Layer 3 Switch and Layer 3 Switching?

What is layer 3 switch? Simply to say, a layer 3 switch is a network switch with some router functions. The most important purpose of the layer 3 switch is to speed up the data exchange within a large LAN. The routing function is also used for this purpose. It can accomplish one route and multiple packet forwarding processes.

what is layer 3 switch

Regular processes such as packet forwarding are implemented by hardware at high speed, while functions such as routing information update, routing table maintenance, route calculation, and route determination are implemented by software. Layer 3 switching technology is layer 2 switching technology combining with layer 3 forwarding technology. The traditional switching technology is operated in the second layer of the OSI network standard model (the data link layer), and the third layer switching technology implements the high-speed forwarding of data packets in the third layer of the network model. It not only realizes the network routing function but also achieves optimal network performance according to different network conditions.

Layer 3 Switch vs Layer 2

Why Is Layer 3 Switch Popular?

Normally, for the sake of safety and management with convenience, a LAN is divided into small LANs according to different factors such as function or geography to reduce the harm of broadcast storms. Therefore, VLAN technology is applied in a large number of networks. However, communication between different VLANs must be forwarded through routers. Such inter-network access is limited because of the limited number of ports and the slower routing speed. Based on this situation, a three-layer switch emerges. The layer 3 switch is designed for IP. The interface type is simple and has strong layer 2 packet processing capability. It is very suitable for data routing and switching in large LANs. In the third layer of the protocol, the function of the traditional router is replaced or partially completed, and at the same time it has almost the speed of the second layer exchange, and the price is relatively cheaper.

Advantages of Layer 3 Switch

From the paragraph above, you may have a blurry concept when it comes to layer 3 switch vs layer 2. Don’t worry. Here are the main advantages of layer 3 switch when comparing layer 3 switch vs layer 2:

  • Function: A layer 2 switch can only switch packets from one port to another, whereas a layer 3 switch is capable of both switching as well as routing.
  • MAC vs. IP Address: Layer 2 switches use devices’ MAC addresses to redirect data packets from source port to destination port. While, layer 3 switches use IP addresses to link various subnets together utilizing special routing protocols.
  • Applications: Layer 2 switch is hardware-based switch and uses ASICs (application specific integrated circuits) to maintain MAC address table. It uses layer 2 switching to break up a large domain into multiple smaller domains. Layer 3 switch is a mix of switch and router, which is commonly used for routing within virtual LANs (VLANs).
  • Speed: Normally, switches operating at layer 2 take less time than that operating at layer 3. Layer 2 switches just need to assign MAC addresses to reroute packets from source port to destination port in layer 2 switching.

Layer 3 Switch vs Router

In addition to layer 2 switch, router is another concept which is usually referred to when concerned with layer 3 switch. This is obvious to find from layer 3 switch definition. Then, what are their differences when comparing layer 3 switch vs router? Look at the following aspects:

  • Main function: The main function of a router is the routing function. The same is true for layer 3 switch as well. It is still a switch product but with some basic routing functions. Its main function is still data exchange.
  • Main applicable environment: The routing function of a layer 3 switch is usually relatively simple, because it is mainly a simple LAN connection. The router is designed mainly to meet different types of network connections including LANs and WANs. Its main function is routing and forwarding.
  • Differ in performance: Technically, routers and layer 3 switches have significant differences in packet switching operations. Routers typically perform packet switching by a microprocessor-based software routing engine, while layer 3 switches perform packet switching through hardware.

Conclusion

After all the above, you may get clearer about “what is layer 3 switch” and the main difference between layer 3 switch vs layer 2 and layer 3 switch vs router. In short, a layer 3 switch can implement both switching as well as routing function. It can define a plurality of ports as one virtual network, and it has no limit to the transmission bandwidth between networks.

What Is an Ethernet Switch and How to Use It?

Nowadays, Ethernet switch has become an important part in data center or computer networking to meet different needs. You may heard about it but not so familiar with it. Then, what is an Ethernet switch? How does an Ethernet switch work? Let’s find out the answers in the following text.

what is an ethernet switch

What Is an Ethernet Switch?

Ethernet switch, the most common form of network switch, is a computer networking device used in Ethernet to connect various Ethernet devices. It connects devices together by using packet switching to receive, process, and forward data from one source device to another destination device.

Ethernet Switch Types

There are various types of Ethernet switches designed for different needs. Normally, they are divided into two main categories, namely, modular switch and fixed configuration switch. The former one allows you to add expansion modules into the switch as needed while the latter one is not expandable with a fixed number of ports.

Nowadays, fixed configuration switches are the mostly used. They can come in various different speeds with particular names such as fast Ethernet switch with a speed of 10/100 Mbps, Gigabit Ethernet switch of 10/100/1000 Mbps, 10GbE switch of 10/100/1000/10000 Mbps. Currently, Gigabit Ethernet switch is still the most common one and is the most widely used switch among its kind. In additional, 10GbE switch is also very popular for its higher transmission speed of up to 10 Gbps and a relatively not expensive price. Of course, there are other switches of 25G, 40G or even 100G for you to choose as well. You can choose the best Ethernet switch according to your actual needs.

How Does An Ethernet Switch Work?

As a hardware device, Ethernet switch centralizes communications among multiple connected Ethernet devices in one local area network (LAN). Normally, multiple data cables are plugged into an Ethernet switch to enable communication between different networked devices. Then, the Ethernet Switch manages the flow of data across the network by transmitting a received network packet only to the one or more devices for which the packet is intended. An Ethernet switch can identify every device connected to it and direct the traffic flow of the device, which maximizes the security and efficiency of the network. Therefore, it is more intelligent and efficient than an Ethernet hub which is unable to distinguish different recipients.

how-does-an-ethernet-switch-work

How to Choose and Use an Ethernet Switch?

How to Choose an Ethernet Switch?

As for how to choose an Ethernet switch, there are different factors you should consider:

  • Transmission speed: Although there are different transmission speeds for you to choose, you still need to use an Ethernet switch according to the actual speed you need.
  • Number of ports: Fixed configuration switches typically come in 5, 8, 10, 16, 24, 28, 48, and 54-port configurations. You should choose a switch with the number of ports equal to, or greater than that of computers you are connecting.
  • Network infrastructure: For small network of up to 50 users, one Ethernet switch might enough. While, additional switches are needed if more users are added in.
  • Specific feature: If you have special requirements for your switch, you can search it accurately. For example, you can only search managed or unmanaged switch for precise localization among various switches.
  • Reliable vendor: There are many popular brands of networking equipment, such as Cisco, 3com, Linksys, FS, etc. Just choose a company you trust and buy the switch you want.
  • Price difference: Normally, price might be the priority over everything when choosing a product. You can search a certain switch of the same external conditions and then compare them in price. If the functions are nearly the same, you can choose a relatively cheaper one.
How to Use an Ethernet Switch?

Speaking of how to use an Ethernet switch, you can follow the guidance below:

  • Configure your switch: Set up the IP address for the switch with switch manual.
  • Configure your switch with right VLANs setup if needed. If multiple VLANs are being used, make sure the computers are on the correct VLAN.
  • Log into your switch to hard code each port if necessary.

For more details, you can refer to the post of how to use a network switch.

Conclusion

After the introduction of “What is an Ethernet switch?” and “How does an Ethernet switch work?” above, one can have a general understanding of an Ethernet switch. In short, An Ethernet switch is a telecommunication device used to connect multiple computers or devices together and can expand network with ease.

Related articles:

Switch Mac Address: What’s It and How Does it Work?

Network Switch vs Network Router vs Network Firewall

Understanding Network Latency in Ethernet Switches

Server Rack Cable Management: What Is the Best Practice?

Data centers today consist of rows of server racks and network cabinets to support an abundance of data cables, power cords and network devices. Deliver proficient cable management within a confined and tightly-spaced server rack is quite difficult. However, cable management is no longer a nightmare if you follow the right guide and work with some test-and-tried tools. Here we’d like to offer useful advice for server rack cable management, and recommend some efficient and reliable management tools.

server rack cable management

Server Rack Cable Management Benefits

Server rack cable management, if not being handled properly, could bring you a succession of problems – it would result in cable damage and failure, which directly lead to data transmission errors, performance issues and system downtime. On the contrary, successful cable management in server rack can benefit you in every aspects, including:

Improved system performance: server rack cable management demands to separate power and data cables within the racks, which greatly decrease the chance for crosstalk and interference.

Enhanced availability: Effective server rack cable management allows easier access to cables and IT devices, yet to reduce human error.

Improved maintenance and serviceability: Effective rack cable management also ensures easier and safer access to individual components.

Increased cooling efficiency: let hot exhaust air out from the back, server rack cable management keeps cables organized and out of critical airflow paths.

Improved scalability: cable management in server rack simplifies moves, adds, and changes, making it easier to integrate additional racks and components for future growth.

Server Rack Cable Management Guide

Since we’ve made clear the benefits of server rack cable management, here is a step-to-step guide for you to further explain how to do it correctly:

  • Plan appropriately. It greatly contributes to smooth server rack management process. Consulting a professional cabling contractor can always be beneficial.
  • Determine the routes for power and data cables. Determine if they enter from the top or bottom of the server rack. Then plan the routes to separate power and data cables, and copper data cables and fiber.
  • Identify cables. Use colored cables as well as cable labers to ensure easier cable identification.
  • Route and retain cables. Cables must be protected at points where they might encounter sharp edges or heated areas. Cable ties and cable managers can be used to this end.
  • Secure cables. Cables and connectors should be secured to prevent excessive movement and to provide strain relief of critical points.
  • Avoid thermal issues. Ensure the airflow path is rather important, since restrained airflow can cause temperatures rise that would shorten devices’ expected lifespan.
  • Document and maintain organization. Documenting the complete infrastructure including diagrams, cable types, patching information, and cable counts is important.

Efficient Tools for Server Rack Cable Management

Here are top five management tools that can facilitate cable management in server racks:

1. Horizontal Cable Manager

Horizontal cable managers are excellent for any kind of cable – fiber, coax, patch cables, copper wiring and more to ensure that your cables are well-organized and protected. Horizontal cable managers come with rack-mountable 1U or 2U design, and some of them are built with finger duct and D-rings for easier finger access in server rack.

2. Vertical Cable Manager

Vertical cable manager work very well to organize and hold cables to ensure proper air flow, avoiding overheating in complex server rack environment. They’re also great for installations where you need to save space or need to make more room in the future to expand your network.

3. Cable Hangers and Trays

If you need to organize cabling within server racks, cable hangers can come in handy. Cable trays are excellent for running wires from one place to another and can be mounted on the floor or overhead in the ceiling.

4. Copper Patch Panels

For data and telecommunications networks a copper patch panel is essential. A patch panel is a board with a number of different ports to connect network wiring. Ethernet patch panels are available in a variety of different configurations depending on your cable types and needs: there are Cat5e patch panel, Cat6 patch panel and Cat6a patch panel, each with different port counts such as 24-port patch panel, 48-port patch panel, etc. Copper patch panel is also great for consolidating cables so that your server rack looks neat and organized.

5. Fiber Optic Patch Panels

Similar to data patch panels, fiber patch panels are designed specifically for fiber optic cables. Also known as termination units they can accommodate connectors, patch cables and more. Network technicians can easily connect cable fibers through cross connection, test the cable patch panel, and connect it to other network equipment. Grouping by the connector type, there are single mode and multimode LC/SC/MTP fiber patch panels with various port counts. You can also choose blank patch panel to mix and match your fiber and copper cabling.

Conclusion

Effective server rack management helps to improve physical appearance, cable traceability, airflow, cooling efficiency and troubleshooting time while eliminates the chance for human error. Hope our guide on server rack cable management would help solve your problem. FS.COM provide tailored cable management solutions for our customers, as well as management tools like cable manager, patch panelcable organizer and cable tie. If you need any help, please contact us at sales@fs.com.

GUI vs CLI: Which for Managing Network Switch?

Network switch is the major building block of many business networks, as they connect multiple PCs, printers, access points, servers, and other hardware to make your business up and running. Switches enables you to send and receive information and access shared resources in a smooth, efficient and highly secure way. It happens at some points we need to make settings or adjustments on switches to perform certain function, like configuring VLAN or check status of switch ports. So how to get the configuration access to a network switch? Does GUI or CLI work better for you? What’s the difference between GUI vs CLI? We’ll address these issues and guide you to manage switch via GUI and CLI.

gui vs cli for configuring network switch

What Is GUI (Graphical User Interface)?

GUI is short for Graphical User Interface – it uses graphics like windows, scrollbars, buttons, etc. to allow users to communicate with the data switch or GUI operating system. It facilitate users, especially novice users in an intuitive and easy-to-learn way. GUI access need recognition and good exploratory analysis and graphics, which is more suitable for users who requires no access to advanced tasks.

what is command line cli

What Is CLI (Command Line Interface)?

CLI stands for Command Line Interface, which allows users to write commands in a terminal or console window to communicate with an operating system. CLI acts as the medium between operators and the network switch: Users have to type command to perform a task. CLI is more accurate than GUI, but it has a very steep learning curve. CLI is appropriate for users who uses it in a regular basis, or for the costly computing where input precision is the priority.

what is gui graphical user interface

GUI vs CLI: What Is the Difference?

GUI vs CLI, both as the mainstream interface for accessing network switch, differs in the following aspects:

Ease of Use: CLI enable users to type manual command in order to perform the desired task whereas in GUI users provided visuals to communicate with the data switch. So the beginners will pick up a GUI much faster than a CLI.

Control: With a GUI, there’s control over files and the operating system – but advanced tasks may still need CLI. While CLI enables all the control over file system and operating system, making tasks simple.

Speed: In GUI, using the mouse and the keyboard to control is slower than using the command line. With CLI, the operator simply use the keyboard and may need to execute only few commands to complete the task.

Hacking: In terms of hacking, all the vulnerability exploits are done from command line. All the remote access and file manipulation are done from the command line.

Scripting: CLI excels in this field since it allows you to create a script that contains few lines of command and it will do the work for you.

Here we use the chart to summarize GUI vs CLI differences.

BASIS FOR COMPARISON
CLI
GUI
Basic
Command line interface enables a user to communicate with the system through commands.
Graphical User interface permits a user to interact with the system by using graphics which includes images, icons, etc.
Device used
Keyboard
Mouse and keyboard
Ease of performing tasks
Hard to perform an operation and require expertise.
Easy to perform tasks and does not require expertise.
Precision
High
Low
Flexibility
Intransigent
More flexible
Memory consumption
Low
High
Appearance
Can’t be changed
Custom changes can be employed
Speed
Fast
Slow
Integration and extensibility
Scope of potential improvements
Bounded

GUI vs CLI: How to Use Them to Manage Network Switch?

CLI and GUI are different kinds of user interfaces with their own merits and drawbacks. It is important to understand where each one excels so you can pick the right tool. Using the defining features of two different tools provides the best of both worlds. The following video, using FS S5850-32S2Q 10GbE switch as an example, offers a complete guide on how to use command line and GUI to access a network switch, through which you may figure out which one fits better for you.

Conclusion

In all, the GUI provides a higher degree of multitasking and more efficiency, whereas CLI offers more control, precision and repeatability. The decision on choosing GUI vs CLI to configure the network switch should better based on user requirements. FS.COM offers a comprehensive product line of network switches, including Gigabit Ethernet switch, Gigabit PoE switch, etc. If you are seeking network switch configuration or management solutions, feel free to contact us at sales@fas.com.