Author Archives: Chloe Wang

Five Common Parameters about Buying PoE Switch

FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInRedditTumblrShare

A PoE switch (Power over Ethernet) is a network switch that carries data along with power over Ethernet network cables like Cat5 or Cat6. And PoE switch is often found in IP camera systems in home or business networks due to its low maintenance costs, less downtime, easy installation, etc. Since there are various articles telling you how to buy a PoE switch, here I just explore five parameters as a reference when buying PoE switch. No matter buy 8-port, 16-port, 24-port PoE gigabit switch, the following five parameters are necessary to consider.

PoE-switch, PoE switch gigabit

Switch Stacking

Switch stacking is a common technology in network design. It offers a good solution for network designers to maximize scalability and optimize performance of networks at the same time. Therefore, when it comes to buying gigabit PoE switch, many users will take this parameter into consideration. But not all PoE switches are created equal. Most Cisco PoE switches support stacking. That’s one reason why Cisco PoE switches are more popular than others even if their price is several times higher than other similar PoE switches. However, if buying PoE switch for home or small size networks, there is no need to seek for stacking functions by spending extra money.

Acoustic Noise from Fan

Since PoE switches, especially 8-port, 16-port, and even 24-port PoE switch, are often used at home or office, the acoustic noise can be placed an important role when buying PoE gigabit switch. Because it’s really a bad experience if the PoE switch near to you is buzzing all the time. Different PoE switch comes with different acoustic value. Still take Cisco 24-port PoE switch SFE2000P as an example. This 24-port PoE gigabit switch may cause 50dB noise at the maximum, which like a person speaking to you without stopping. Of course, many vendors like FS.COM and Cisco, have supplied fanless PoE switch to offer a better usage experience for users.

Transmission Distance

In some applications, administrators have to deploy PoE switch up to 250m. Generally speaking, PoE switches can extend the transmission distance of data and power up to 100m via Cat5 or Cat5e network cables, which is enough for home or office applications. In this condition, a PoE repeater can deal with it perfectly. With one PoE repeater, the transmission distance can be added to 100 meters.

Numbers of Power Supply

In the PoE gigabit switch market, there are two types power supplies: a single power and dual power. Usually dual power is designed for power redundancy. When one of the DC power inputs has failed, the other will be triggered and working for the switch. Does it mean dual power is necessary for PoE switch? May not be. Considering the power redundancy, most vendors have strengthened their switch power supply, which can support the switch working for years. And some switches like Cisco catalyst 3850 series PoE switches offer dual power supplies, but it requires extra order to get it working.

Airflow Direction

This factor is often considered by those who have or work in data centers or service room where have numbers of network switches. Generally there are three types of airflow of network switch: back-to-front, front-to-back and side-to-side. Keep in mind to consider this factors when buying a PoE switch, especially buy 48-port PoE gigabit switches that are often used for enterprise networks. There are examples in tech forum that some users ignore the airflow direction of the network switch, which causes the switch fans drawing air from its hot air exhaust.

Summary

Buying a suitable PoE switch is not an easy task. Both the switch price and functions are needed to be taken into consideration. FS.COM offers PoE managed switches with different ports like 8-port, 24-port and 48-port. All of them are compatible with IEEE802.3af/at. And professional buying advice is also provided if need. Welcome to visit www.fs.com for more details.

Related article: PoE Switch VS. PoE+ Switch, Which Will You Choose?

How to Deploy 48 Port 10GE Switch in Data Center?

10 Gigabit network becomes popular as the business is growing, which enhance the deployment of 10G copper or SFP+ switches in data centers. With the rapid evolvement of IoT (Internet of things), cloud computing and other media-rich applications such as Skype, Amazon video, Snapchat and Youtube, the shift from 10G network to 40G has become the new trend. In this process, 10GE switch with 40G QSFP+ uplink port makes a difference. In this post, the applications of 48 port 10GE switch for data center design will be explored.

Overview on Popular 48 Port 10GE Switch

10GE switches provide high-density 10GE access to help enterprises and carriers build a scalable data center network platform in the cloud computing era. When it comes to 48 port 10GE network switches, Cisco 10GE SFP+ switches maybe the first choice that many users prefer. However, not all network vendors will choose Cisco switches due to their high price. And there are various types of 10GE switches in the market for network designers to choose from. The table below shows the main details of several 48 port 10GE switches that can be used as ToR or leaf switches in data centers. Network designers can take it as a reference when choosing 10GE switches.

10GE Switch Mode Port Switching Capacity Forwarding Rate Typical/Max. Power Price
Cisco Nexus 3172PQ 48 SFP+ Port & 6 QSFP+ Port 1.4Tbps 1 bpps 206W/293W $14339
Arista 7050SX-72Q 48 SFP+ Port & 6 QSFP+ Port 1.44Tbps 1080Mpps 127W/251W $21,295
Dell S4810 48 SFP+ Port & 6 QSFP+ Port 1.28Tbps 960Mpps 220W/350W $11334
Huawei CE6851-48S6Q-HI 48 SFP+ Port & 4 QSFP+ Port 1.44Tbps 1080Mpps 216W/245W $6,783
FS.COM
S5850-48S6Q
48 SFP+ Port & 6 QSFP+ Port 1.44Tbps 1070Mpps 150W/190W $3,999

Deploy 48 Port 10GE ToR/Leaf 10GE Switch in Different Size Network Applications

To illustrate how to design the 48 port 10GE switch in practical applications, here take FS.COM S5850-48S6Q ToR/Leaf 10GE switch as an example.

Data Center Applications

48 port 10GE switches are often used as leaf switches in large data center design. In today’s data center, leaf-spine topology and ToR design are the commonly used architectures. And ToR switches are used as leaf switches and they are connected to the spine switches. Just as the following picture shows, FS.COM S5850-48S6Q 10GE switches work as ToR switches and connected to the spine switches (FS.COM 100G switches) using the 40G/10G port.

48-port 10ge switches

Campus network Applications

Of course, 48 port 10GE switch also can act as aggregation or core switches for enterprise campus networks. In the following application diagram, FS.COM S5850-48S6Q 10GE switches work as aggregation switches and connected to core switches and 1G Ethernet switches.

48 port 10ge aggregation switches

Scaling Network with 40G Uplink Port on 48 Port 10GE Switch

For a spine-leaf network, usually the uplinks from leaf to spine are 10G or 40G, and they can migrate over time from a starting point of 10G (Nx10G) to 40G (or Nx40G). The 48 port 10GE ToR switches listed above offer this flexibility, because the 40G QSFP+ uplink port can be configured as either 1x40G or 4x10G and using optics breakout to individual 10G links, allowing many designs easily evolve from 10G uplinks to 40G uplinks or support a combination.

FS.COM S5850-48S6Q 48-port 10GE switch

Summary

The next generation data center network will continue to evolve rapidly over the few years. While with both 10G SFP+ port and 40G QSFP+ uplink port, 48 port 10GE switch provides cost-effective and high-density data center and campus network solutions, and can meet the ever-increasing demand for network bandwidth at the same time.

Related article: Can We Use Third-party Optical Transceiver Modules for Dell Switches?

25G Switch Comparison: How to Choose the Suitable One?

Driven by the undeniable growth in demand for bandwidth of private and public cloud data centers, 25G Ethernet over a single lane has become the new trend for sever-to-switch interconnections. And the increasing requirements of higher speeds in data centers have enhanced the adoption of 25G switch, which is the new buzz in recent years. In this post, a simple analysis of 25G switch market and comparison of commonly used 25G switches will be explored.

25G Switch Market Analysis

As we know, before 25G technology advent, the existing options are one lane for 10G, four lanes for 40G, or four lanes at 25Gbps for 100G. The 25G technology meets the specification for existing module form factors like SFP28 and QSFP28, and allows for a breakout connection between 25G and 100G without changing the port on the front of many 100G switches. Besides, driven by the high speed and bandwidth, various switch manufacturers have announced their new 25G switches in recent three years, just to occupy more market shares.

  • Cisco delivered their Nexus 9300-FX platform switches for 10G/25G/100G switching;
  • Mellanox launched 25G Ethernet switch SN2410 series for 25G/50G/100G Ethernet networks;
  • Dell put forward EMC networking S-series 25/40/50/100GbE to help data centers migration;
  • Broadcom announced its BCM56960 Series 25G switch for cloud-scale networking;
  • FS.COM introduced N-Series spine/leaf 25G/100G switch for cost-effective data center solutions.

At the same time, 25G optical transceivers, DACs, and AOCs also spring up like mushrooms. According to a study by Dell’oro, Ethernet switch revenue will continue to grow through the end of the decade, with the biggest sales forecast for 25G and 100G ports.

25G switch market

Notes: the source of the research: Crehan research.Inc

From the research we can see, at least in the next three years, 25G/50G/100G bandwidth will continue to grow and occupy half of the total network bandwidth, which in turn enhances the development of 25G switch market. Though challenges still exist for 25G Ethernet, it’s not denied that the trend for ToR 25G switches cannot be blocked.

Comparison Between Commonly Used 25G Switches in the Market

As have mentioned above, 25G switch market is booming due to the growing speed and bandwidth as well as switch vendors promotion. Then how to achieve the optimized network performance with existing 25G Ethernet switches, and control the total investment at the same time? Firstly, let’s have a look at the 25G switches in the market.

25G Ethernet Switch Port Switch Capacity Packet Buffer Memory Max power consumption ONIE Support Price
Brocade
SLX 9140
48*SFP28 Port
6* QSFP28 Port
1.8 Tbps 24 MB 489 W Yes $19703.99
Cisco Nexus 93180YC-FX 48* SFP28 Port
6* QSFP28 Port
3.6 Tbps 40 MB 425 W No $11681.99
Dell S5148F-ON 48* SFP28 Port
6* QSFP28 Port
3.6 Tbps 16 MB 516 W Yes No Infro
FS.COM N8500-48B6C 48* SFP28 Port
6* QSFP28 Port
3.6 Tbps 16 MB 550 W Yes $6,199.00
Mellanox SN2410 48* SFP28 Port
6* QSFP28 Port
4 Tbps / / Yes $16910.00

All the 25G SFP28 switches listed in the table have the same port configuration: 48 SFP28 ports and 6 QSFP28 uplink ports. And there are ToR/Leaf switches. Usually 25G switch is often used for switch-to-server applications, as for how to realize this, please read the article: How to Use 25G Switch for Switch-to-Server Connection.

For choosing ToR 25G switch, if you have no limited cost budget, Cisco 25G switch maybe a not bad choice, because except for the expensive price, it has high-level performance and configuration as well as its good reputation. All these make Cisco switches are perfect for data centers. Of course, other 25G switch vendors like Dell, Brocade and Mellanox also provide good options for migration from 10G, 25G to 50G and 100G networks.

However, for those who have a tight budget or do not pursue brand, a more wise choices is to select 25G switch like FS.COM N8500-48B6C. This switch supports ONIE installer for 3rd party network operating systems and compatibility with SDN (Software Defined Networks) via OpenFlow 1.3.11. And it also supports the advanced hardware based VXLAN feature to support over 16M virtual networks, making it a suitable option for cost-effective data center solutions.

25G switch

Summary

25G switch offers a more convenient way to migrate to 100G network. Because it reduces the numbers of cables and switches needed in network designs, which in turn decrease the CAPEX and OPEX. Facing with the fast evolving 25G switch market, are you ready for it?

How to Select Transceivers for White Box Switches?

White box switches, also known as open switches, have gained popularity in data centers. Because they provide high performance switching and enable users a broader choice in software and hardware purchase at the same time. However, it’s the openness of open switches that leads to other problems: is there any limitation on the use of optic modules for white box switches? How to choose an optical transceiver for open switches?

white box switches

Considerations When Selecting Transceiver for White Box Switches

As we know, open switches vendors usually sell switches either as bare-metal devices or preloaded with any compatible operating system, as requested by the purchaser. And there are many hardware and software vendors on the market. In order to achieve the desired performance with white box switches, some users may purchase hardware and software from different vendors. For example, one network operator may buy a white box switch from Dell, FS or HPE, but he will get a network operating system from Cumulus Linux. There is no fault of this action, but it will bring another problem—which type of optical transceivers can be used for the switch?

optical transceiver

According to the situation of white box switches on the market, there are two considerations should be taken into account when choosing an optical transceiver for white box switches.

The first one is the operating system (OS) of the switch. It’s known to us that there are various OS vendors like Cumulus Linux, Pica8 and HPE. They develop their own OS for their white box switches to get more market shares. Some of these companies also have their own optical transceiver production line. And some of them do not preclude the use of any industry-standard transceiver, which provide a freely choice for users to source standard components directly from manufacturers or from a broad range of re-sellers. Therefore, the transceivers from the corresponding OS vendor can be used for their open switches.

Another one is the optical transceiver itself. Not all white box switch vendors can provide transceivers for their switches. And some brand OEMs add enhancements to their standardized optic modules, which increases more cost on optics. However, some open switch vendors look forward to seeing an open standard without vendor lock-in. Therefore, cost-effective compatible optical transceivers that follow MSA SFF specification is another choice for white box switches. Among these compatible optical modules, most generic optical transceivers on the market can be used for white box switches.

Optical Transceiver Solution for White Box Switches

White box switches have been the way for web-scale data center operators who are able to drive down the cost and drive up efficiency and flexibility of their IT infrastructure, especially in some big companies like Facebook, Google or Amazon. And there is a growing group of companies that also want the same level of efficiency web-scale operators have achieved. How to realize this? More white box switches are required without question.

Under this situation, providers like FS.COM supplies several types of 10G, 25G, 40G and 100G network switches preloaded with FS OS or Cumulus OS for small and medium size networks or data centers. And all the generic optical transceivers in FS.COM are available for white box network switches.

Connectivity Options Comparison for 10G Servers/Switches Networking

Much of the enterprise market is still running on 1GbE speeds and will be looking to migrate to 10GbE over the next several years. As we know, usually there are three types of connections between switches and servers in 10G networking—SFP+ DAC, fiber cables with SFP+ optics, and 10GBASE-T. And in theses connections, network interface card (NIC), also called network adapter, plays an paramount role. In this post, three connections that upgrade to 10G networking will be explored in details.

Connectivity Options

Today, IT managers can select 10GbE interconnect and switch options based on specific intended uses—using copper or fiber cables. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Here are the three connection options.

Fiber Cables with SFP+ Transceiver

Fiber optic connections are well suitable for areas that have heavy traffic aggregations like EoR (End of Row) switches. In these connections, SFP+ modules are used together with fiber patch cables, just like the following picture shows. In some SFP+ connections, SFP+ NIC is also needed to link servers and switches such as in MoR (Middle of Row) or EoR (End of Row) connections. Though cabling with fiber is great for latency and distance (up to 300m), it also costs more.

fiber

SFP+ Direct Attach Copper Cable (DAC)

Connections with DACs are a good choice for deploying 10GbE within blade server enclosures or racks over short distances. But its reach is limited to 7m and it is not backwards-compatible with existing GbE switches. Of course, an add-in 10GBASE NIC is required for these connections.

dac

10GBASE-T NIC (Network Interface Card)

Nowadays, IT managers have 10GBase-T as a third option for either ToR switch or EoR usage models. 10GBASE-T with Cat 6a UTP cabling makes 10GbE available to a much broader market at a lower cost. It offers the most flexible solution for more data center 10GbE networking applications. Besides, 10G SFP+ copper transceiver also uses Cat 6a or Cat 7 copper cables, but it only supports link length of 30 meters.

10GBASE-T NIC

Comparison

As have mentioned above, 10G connections between servers and switches can be realized with both fiber and copper cables. Here is a simple comparison chart.

10G network

No matter fiber cable, 10G SFP+ copper cable or 10GBASE-T NIC, they can be used in ToR, EoR and MoR connections. Apart from the difference listed in the chart, another factor that should be considered is the cost. Even if the fiber cable has advantages on distance and latency, the use of SFP+ transceiver can add up to 30%-40% to server, switch and storage interface costs. And more SFP+ connections mean more add-in network adapters, which add cost and maintenance overhead.

While the raw cost of the 10GBASE-T is far less than either optical fiber or direct attach twinax copper cables. Cat 6a cable is easy to install and maintain, allowing for customized length, and it can be field installed. The most important point is that Cat 6a cable is compatible with existing 1GbE switches. Many networks today already have Cat 6 or Cat 6a cabling in place, so they are 10GBase-T ready. And today’s 10GBase-T network adapters are also cost-effective, enhancing the adoption of 10GBASE-T NIC.

Summary

10G Ethernet is no longer limited to fiber optic media. DAC cable is a popular choice for short distances; 10GBASE-T allows for more economical and easier deployment than ever before. With the price of 10GbE network getting more affordable than ever, many IT managers are sizing the opportunity to upgrade their networks and keep pace with these increasing bandwidth demands. After reading this post, fiber or copper, which would you choose?

Still Have Problems with Quanta LB4M and LB6M 10G Switches?

With the growth of virtualization, cloud-based services and applications like VoIP, video streaming and IP surveillance, various 10G switches with diverse functions spring out on the market. Quanta LB4M and LB6M 10G switches are two types popular 10G switches among them. However, there is few user manuals on the Internet, which brings inconveniences for users. This post intends to give a simple introduction to Quanta LB4M and LB6M 10G switches and some solutions for the common problems that may arise in their operating process.

Basis of Quanta LB4M and LB6M 10G Switches

The Quanta LB4M is a modular Gigabit Ethernet backbone switch designed for adaptability and scalability. This switch supports up to 48 Gigabit Ethernet ports to function as a central distribution hub for other switches, switch groups, or routers. And it offers 2 SFP+ interfaces for 10G port on the daughter board. While the Quanta LB6M switch provides 24 10GbE SFP+ ports and 4 1000BASE-T ports, which makes it more popular than LB4M. For these two switches, many users think highly of its performance. But there are also some passive remarks due to the limited documentation.

quanta lb4m & lb6m

Problem & Solution

If you have searched on the Internet, you will find that there are so many questions about Quanta LB4M and LB6M switches in all aspects like lack of instructive manuals, the operating issues, IP setup problems, etc. Here is a collection of several popular ones in discussion forums and blogs. Hope it will help you.

Quanta LB4M MAC Entry Problem

Use the LB4M in an active/passive configuration for SAN (Storage Area Networking). The two SAN nodes of the user have HA (fail over) and for that it uses a virtual IP which is moved between the two head nodes in case of failure. But the virtual IP MAC is missing from the LB4M switches “mac-addr-table”, which in turn leads to this virtual IP to be mirrored to all ports on that vlan.

Solution: right MAC (Media Access Control) mapping is the core of Ethernet switches. The first choice is to determine whether the MAC address of the switches is valid. Then pick a random address with the same 3-byte prefix as one of your physical MAC addresses and see if the switch accepts it. Another choice is to check the port security where the switch only accepts traffic from a single MAC address, either hard-coded in the config or the first one “seen” on that port.

LB4M Ports Are Deactivated and Backup Image Is Corrupt

Bought a Quanta LB4M and configured a management IP for the Web interface. After rebooting the switch as told, the screen showed that the crc-checksum for both the first and the backup image are corrupt, and another image is needed via the modem.

Solution: try to get upload an image via the modem to fix the problem. And then test it to check if the switch works.

Connect Dell 2848 with SFP to Quanta LB6M?

Dell 2848 switch has four SFP ports, while the Quanta LB6M has 24 10GbE SFP+ ports and 4 1000BASE-T ports. And other devices also need to be connected with. Then how to connect Dell 2848 with Quanta LB6M? The data center is currently running on a 1Gb Cat 6 cables.

Solution: using 10Gb SFP+ LC modules for the Quanta LB6M, 1Gb SFP LC modules for the Dell 2848 and then run MM fiber. Since SFP+ and SFP ports are not compatible, OEM services are another choice to solve this type of problem. FS.COM offers various kinds of customized service to meet customers’ different demands.

How to Avoid the Problems Mentioned Above?

It is undeniable that the Quanta LB4M and LB6M 10G switches are popular among users, which can be seen from the remarks in some forums. But since there is few instructive documents to describe these two types of switches, it will be difficult to solve the problems met in the operating process immediately. FS.COM supplies various kinds of 10G switches to meet the demand of Gigabit access or aggregation for enterprise networks and operators customers. Other 10G optics like 10G transceiver and 10G DAC & AOC are also available. Welcome to visit our website www.fs.com for more information.