Author Archives: Fracy.Yin

SFP Slot Definition and Its User Guideline

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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.

Related articles:

Can I Connect Fiber Optic Transceivers of Different Brand?

Understanding Combo SFP Port on Ethernet Switch

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