Category Archives: Fiber Optic Transceivers

10GBASE-T Copper Switch Recommendation

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In the past few years, network speeds have increased dramatically as applications like video and technologies like virtualization need higher speed and performance. Therefore, 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) is widely deployed for inter-switch and server-to-switch links. Generally, there are two 10G switch solutions for the aforesaid 10GbE link: 10GBASE-T copper switch and 10G SFP+ switch. And since the 10GBASE-T copper switch is more favored by the market, this post will focus on 10GBASE-T copper switch recommendation.

10GBASE-T vs SFP+: Why Choose 10GBASE-T Copper Link?

Many people may wonder why 10GBASE-T copper link is more favored by the market. This part will discuss this topic in a brief way.

As we all know, 10GBASE-T copper switch uses copper cables to transmit 10Gbps data. This may help to save much money because copper cable infrastructure is far less expensive than the fiber optics of 10 SFP+ switch. In addition, 10GBASE-T network is easier to be employed and allows users to make the best of their existing Cat6a UTP structured cabling ecosystem. Despite all this, 10G SFP+ link also has such advantages as lower latency and lower power budget. For detailed information, you may read 10GBASE-T VS SFP+: Which to Choose for 10GbE Data Center Cabling.

10GBASE-T Copper Switch Recommendation

Since 10GBASE-T network is favored by many IT managers, lots of RJ45 10GBASE-T copper switches has been supplied in the market. These switches are either 2/4/8/16 port copper switch for home networks or 20+ port 10GBASE-T switch for enterprise and data center networks. This part will introduce a high performance 48 port 10GBASE-T copper switch with 40Gbe QSFP+ UpLink – S5850-48T4Q – for your reference.
10GBASE-T Copper Switch

S5850-48T4Q is a 1U managed L2/L3 Ethernet switch. It is designed to meet next generation Metro, Data Center and Enterprise network requirements. Featuring 48 10GBASE-T RJ-45 ports and 4 40G QSFP+ ports, it can provide 1.28Tbps switching capacity. And it has a forwarding rate of 952.32Mpps. The following table compares the key parameters and prices of S5850-48T4Q and other similar switches:

48 port 10GBASE-T Copper Switches

Seen from the above table, you may find that the ports and performance of the three 10GBASE-T copper switches are nearly the same, but Cisco Nexus 3064-T and Brocade VDX 6740T switches are much more expensive than the S5850-48T4Q. This is because their prices include both the actual value of the switch and their specific brands which are always costly. And their after-sale services may be better than most small companies. However, this FS S5850-48T4Q switch is also guaranteed with free tech support and back up support.

S5850-48T4Q 10GBASE-T Copper Switch for Spine-Leaf Application

Unlike most 10GBASE-T copper switches, S5850-48T4Q can be used for Spine-Leaf network which is a popular architecture design for data center. To be specific, S5850-48T4Q is often used as the leaf switch in a 40G Spine-Leaf design. As shown below, the 4OG QSFP+ ports of S5850-48T4Q often used to connect to the spine switch (S8050-20Q4C). And the 10GBASE-T copper ports are connect to servers and routers. Read more about Building Spine-Leaf Network with 10GBASE-T Switch

ToR

Conclusion

For lower cost and ease of use, 10GBASE-T copper switch is popular among 10G network switches. If you plan to migrate to 10GbE network, 10GBASE-T copper network is a good choice. It will help to reduce the cost complexity and cabling issues around the migration to 10GbE in the data center.

10G Twinax vs Fiber: SFP+ Copper Cable or SFP+ SR Module?

Over the years, 10GbE has successfully stretch its reach from enterprise data centers to midmarket networks due to the increased bandwidth requirements and the growth of enterprise applications.   As the deployment of 10GbE is going boarder, it is important to understand how to effectively leverage the technology to better satisfy your network demand. Thus, all elements should be carefully reviewed to choose the appropriate cabling solution for your workloads. Many customers facing the problem to choose from 10G twinax vs fiber (SFP+ copper cable vs SFP+ SR) as both are viable options for short range. This is what we are about to figure out in this article.

10G Twinax vs Fiber: SFP+ DAC Cables Is Simple and Cost-Effective

10G twinax vs fiber for short reach connection? Before we go any further, it’s better to take a glimpse of what  SFP+ direct attach cable (DAC)are and what role they play. A SFP+ DAC cable, also known as SFP+ twinax copper cable, is effectively viewed as a transparent cable to the switch. It is a cable invented with each end physically resembling an 10g SFP+ transceiver, but with none of the expensive electronic components. Although being even more pricy than fiber optic cables, SFP+ Copper Cables effectively eliminate the expensive optical transceiver required in the equipment they connected.

10g twinax vs fiber - 10g dac

SFP+ Copper Cables comes to two different flavors: passive and active. Passive SFP+ Copper Cables requires little to no direct power to operate, and are extremely affordable with the length ranging from 0.5m all the way up to 7m. Active SFP+ Copper Cables integrates signal processing circuitry into its built-in connectors and actively powering those circuits with DC power provided by the switch. The circuitry in active sfp+ cable thus brings up the overall cost. This partly explains why active sfp+ cable is usually more expensive than its passive counterparts.

10G Twinax vs Fiber: SFP+ SR Is Flexible and Future-Proofing

For 10G twinax vs fiber, we cannot make our decisions until we clear knows each function. SFP+ SR are similarly used for short runs, and that is exactly “SR” stands for – short reach. SR transceivers are almost always multimode, and optimized for high speeds over relatively short distances. It operates at 850 nm, and can reach up to 300 m with laser-optimized OM3 and 400 m with OM4. The 10G SFP+ SR transceiver module offer a flexible connectivity option for data centers, enterprise wiring closets, and service provider transport applications. The price is the major issue that some customers turn to SFP+ Copper twinax cable instead of SFP+ SR transceivers for short runs, especially for those who are under tight budget. Fortunately, third-party optics has narrowed down the price gap by providing decent performance transceiver modules with only a fraction of the cost at the original ones.

10g twinax vs fiber - 10gbase sfp+ sr transceiver module

10G Twinax vs Fiber: Application Considerations

When choosing between 10G twinaxs vs fiber, the following factors have to be well considered.

10g twinax vs fiber - 10g direct attach cable dac vs 10g sfp+ sr module

Distance: Advocators of SFP+ twinax copper cable  insist that, if distance is not a problem, they tend to choose SFP+ cable  because of the lower power needs and lower latency it provides, and the power saving alone is significant. Not to mention that the cable itself is less fragile and more durable. As SFP+ twinax cable  only reach up to 10m, when distance happens to be a factor, SFP+ SR transceiver can get much longer reach and more compatibility anyway. Or if the switches are connected via patch panel, then your hand is forced to 10G SFP+ SR transceiver and fiber. To sum it up, SFP+ cables are used within the rack to connect servers and storage to ToR switches, it is an “intra-rack” thing, whereas SFP+ SR in for connection between racks – known as “inter-rack” cabling.

Cable management: in terms of managing cables, fibers are believed easier to work with – it has no limit of cable length as with SFP+ cables. As for bulky and thick SFP+ cables it is fine for same rack FEX extension or one or two servers, but load half a rack with a top of rack FEX/switch with twinax, you will have mass of inflexible copper at the back of the rack. And that can be a nightmare.

Cost: 10G optical transceivers are much expensive than 10G SFP+ copper cable – these might be the driven course for people using twinax over SR optics. However, the booming of third party optics well addressed the issue by providing full compatible and trustworthy transceiver modules, which on the other hand, significantly reduces the cost of optics. Since the price gap between SFP+ cables and SR SFP+ optics is reduced, it bestowed customers more chances to weight other affecting factors.

Uniformity: users prefer to use SFP+ SR when working with different vendors, it’s less likely to run into issues if you use optical transceivers. Truly, SFP+ SR indeed makes multi-vendor environment cabling much easier: imagine that you have to connect two switches from different vendor, simply use two SR transceivers that compatible with each brand switch can well solve the problem. However, if cost really matters, you can equally choose this special made SFP+ twinax cable from FS – different brands can be made at each ends, which are compatible with the major vendor on the market.

fs 10g dac twinax cable

Conclusion

10G twinax vs fiber, from a network perspective, the SFP+ twinax cable is fine and a lot cheaper for very limited short runs – typically intra rack cabling, while for mass adoption, they become absolutely thick and unmanageable. So it’s worth the savings if your switch is in the same rack as the equipment you are connecting, and if it goes to another rack, SFP+ SR with fiber and a patch panel can be a sound option. With SR optics, you have much more flexibility in the placement of servers and how you lay out your racks. It is the obvious choice once the demand for bandwidth and length becomes more acute and cable management and future growth becomes critical.

Related Articles:

SFP+ Direct Attach Copper Twinax Cable Deployment Considerations

SFP+ cable vs 10GBASE-T

Can I Connect Optical Transceivers of Different Brand?

Data centers generally accommodates hundreds or even thousands of network switches, it happens when you have to connect switches from different vendors (i.e. switch X from Cisco and switch Y from HP). As the switches only fit their own brand-based optical transceivers, the main issues thus falls into this: is it possible to contact two different vendor’s optical transceivers and form a viable link? The answer is yes – but you still have to take some critical aspects into account.

connect optical transceivers from different brand

A Basic Case Study: Standard of Optical Transceivers is the Key

Sometimes people have to mix switches and optical transceivers, mainly because the following reasons:

  • They already have brand X and they need more switches and they shop on price. Hence different brands
  • They need to replace switches but do not have money for all and they buy brand X and plan on going to brand X completely but it takes time to get there.

There exist quite a lot standards and protocols concerning optical transceivers. Although many installers are very familiar with linking different vendor’s switch, the others are still worried that the incompatibilities of two transceivers may impede the link performance. They may come across the questions like “Can I order a 1000BASE-LX transceiver from any source and it will be compatible with all others 1000BASE-LX?” or “Would a link with a Juniper 1000Base-LX and a Cisco 1000BASE-LX transceiver work?”

1000base-lx optical transceivers

Ideally it should work. 1000BASE-LX is a standard the same way 1000BASE-T is, except that it uses fiber as the transmission medium. You’ve already known that any copper interfaces with 1000BASE-T is interoperable since they are defined by the same 1000BASE-T standards. So you can expect the same with fiber 1000BASE-LX interfaces –  which are all defined by 1000BASE-LX. While this is true on the fiber side of the system, and should be true on the thing with the transceiver socket. In fact, you can rest assure as SFP is multi-vendor standard that specified by a multi-source agreement (MSA). And it is a popular industry format jointly developed by many network component vendors.

Further Consideration of Optical Transceivers: Protocol, Transmission Wavelength and Cable Type

Connecting SFP optical transceivers from two different vendors still have some other restriction, since SFP transceivers differs from one another in protocol, interface type and transmission distance.

Ethernet Protocol: You have to pay attention that you use optical transceivers of the same protocol at each end, for example: both sides with SX, LX or whatever is currently in use. Otherwise, you have to undertake the risk of link failure.

Cable Type: The optical transceivers on each end must use the same fiber type. An SFP made for multimode fiber isn’t going to work well, if it does at all, with single-mode fiber. Same applies with other multimode fiber types: although mixing various 50 um fibers (OM2 and OM4) may work OK depending on data rate and distance. As long as each end is the same fiber type, you can mix vendors and even connector types, such as SC on one end and LC on the other end.

Wavelength: It is vital the wavelength of the optical transceivers (850nm, 1310nm) matches on each end, as a 1310nm transceiver will NOT talk to a 850 nm transceiver. MMF has a lot of loss, and the wrong wavelength may cause loss and degradation on the longer runs. As for SMF, you need to be even more careful about wavelengths though, especially for long distance. So, if you are on the working range, all the transceiver will work normally.

wavelength for optical transceiver

Conclusion

It is hence safe to say that when connecting two optical transceivers from different vendors, you can expect you fiber patch cable to lead a consistent link as long as you use modules of the same Ethernet protocol, cable type and working wavelength. FS provides fully compatible optical transceivers with affordable price and decent performance. For more information, please visit www.fs.com.

Cisco WS-C2960X-24PS-L vs WS-C2960S-24PS-L

A network switch is ubiquitous in data center: it functions as a multi-port network hardware device that bridges and routes data across multiple devices and corporate network segments. Cisco is one of the most famous and reliable switch vendors throughout the world. Among its dazzling switch product line, WS-C2960X-24PS-L and WS-C2960S-24PS-L are two Gigabit Ethernet switches that optimal for enterprise-class access for campus and branch applications. Merely judging from their physical appearance, these switches are nearly the same: configured with 24 10/100/100 Ethernet interface and 4 SFP uplinks. So when it comes to WS-C2960X-24PS-L vs WS-C2960S-24PS-L, what the differences is?

WS-C2960X-24PS-L vs WS-C2960S-24PS-L

As a member of Cisco Catalyst 2960-X series, WS-C2960X-24PS-L includes a single fixed power supply and are available with either the Cisco IOS LAN Base or LAN Lite feature set. It is designed for operational simplicity to lower total cost of ownership, enabling scalable, secure and energy-efficient business operations with intelligent services and a range of advanced Cisco IOS Software features. WS-C2960X-24PS-L also support Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+) with up to 740W of PoE budget.

WS-C2960X-24PS-L vs. WS-C2960S-24PS-L

As for WS-C2960S-24PS-L, however, belongs to Cisco Catalyst 2960-S series. It enables reliable and secure business operations with lower total cost of ownership through a range of innovative features including FlexStack stacking with 20 Gbps of stack throughput (optional), Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+) up to 740W, and Cisco Catalyst Smart Operations. WS-C2960S-24PS-L is ideal for deploying cost-effective wired connectivity in traditional desktop workspace environment, and enforcing basic security policies to limit access to the network and mitigate threats.

WS-C2960S-24PS-L

The linecard configuration of WS-C2960X-24PS-L vs WS-C2960S-24PS-L is nearly the same: both have 24 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and 4 SFP uplink interface. And they are all stackable switches. The difference is that the switching capacity of WS-C2960X-24PS-L is slightly larger than WS C2960S-24PS-L, as shown in the following chart.

Model 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports Uplink interfaces Cisco IOS software image Available PoE power Switching capacity Stackable
WS-C2960X-24PS-L 24 4 SFP LAN Base 370 W 216 Gbps Optional
WS-C2960S-24PS-L 24 4 SFP LAN Base 370 W 176 Gbps Optional
WS-C2960X-24PS-L vs WS-C2960S-24PS-L: Connectivity Solution

Both configured with 24 10/100/1000Base Ethernet interface and 4 SFP uplinks, WS-C2960X-24PS-L vs WS-C2960S-24PS-L supports SFP transceivers to be fitted in the ports. The following chart show all the compatible SFP modules provided by FS.

WS-C2960X-24PS-L Compatible SFP Module
Product ID Description
11795 Cisco GLC-BX-D Compatible 1000BASE-BX-D BiDi SFP 1490nm-TX/1310nm-RX 10km DOM Transceiver
11802 Cisco GLC-BX-U Compatible 1000BASE-BX-U BiDi SFP 1310nm-TX/1490nm-RX 10km DOM Transceiver
11775 Cisco GLC-LH-SMD Compatible 1000BASE-LX/LH SFP 1310nm 10km DOM Transceiver
20358 Cisco GLC-EX-SMD Compatible 1000BASE-EX SFP 1310nm 40km DOM Transceiver
11779 Cisco GLC-ZX-SMD Compatible 1000BASE-ZX SFP 1550nm 80km DOM Transceiver
11773 Cisco GLC-T Compatible 1000BASE-T SFP Copper RJ-45 100m Transceiver
11773 Cisco GLC-TE Compatible 1000BASE-T SFP Copper RJ-45 100m Transceiver
11779 Cisco GLC-ZX-SM Compatible 1000BASE-ZX SFP 1550nm 80km Transceiver
11774 Cisco GLC-SX-MM Compatible 1000BASE-SX SFP 850nm 550m Transceiver
47241 Cisco CWDM-SFP-1470 Compatible 1000BASE-CWDM SFP 1470nm 80km DOM Transceiver
12672 Cisco GLC-GE-100FX Compatible 100BASE-FX SFP 1310nm 2km Transceiver for Gigabit Ethernet SFP Ports
11774 Cisco GLC-SX-MMD Compatible 1000BASE-SX SFP 850nm 550m DOM Transceiver
11775 Cisco GLC-LH-SM Compatible 1000BASE-LX/LH SFP 1310nm 10km Transceiver
WS-C2960S-24PS-L Compatible SFP Module
Product ID Description
11773 Cisco GLC-T Compatible 1000BASE-T SFP Copper RJ-45 100m Transceiver
11773 Cisco GLC-TE Compatible 1000BASE-T SFP Copper RJ-45 100m Transceiver
11774 Cisco GLC-SX-MM Compatible 1000BASE-SX SFP 850nm 550m Transceiver
11775 Cisco GLC-LH-SM Compatible 1000BASE-LX/LH SFP 1310nm 10km Transceiver
11779 Cisco GLC-ZX-SM Compatible 1000BASE-ZX SFP 1550nm 80km Transceiver
11779 Cisco GLC-ZX-SMD Compatible 1000BASE-ZX SFP 1550nm 80km DOM Transceiver
11795 Cisco GLC-BX-D Compatible 1000BASE-BX-D BiDi SFP 1490nm-TX/1310nm-RX 10km DOM Transceiver
11802 Cisco GLC-BX-U Compatible 1000BASE-BX-U BiDi SFP 1310nm-TX/1490nm-RX 10km DOM Transceiver
47241 Cisco CWDM-SFP-1470 Compatible 1000BASE-CWDM SFP 1470nm 80km DOM Transceiver
11774 Cisco GLC-SX-MMD Compatible 1000BASE-SX SFP 850nm 550m DOM Transceiver
11775 Cisco GLC-LH-SMD Compatible 1000BASE-LX/LH SFP 1310nm 10km DOM Transceiver
20358 Cisco GLC-EX-SMD Compatible 1000BASE-EX SFP 1310nm 40km DOM Transceiver
Conclusion

The switching capacity of WS-C2960X-24PS-L is larger than that of WS-C2960S-24PS-L, but they are both decent network switches that easy to operate. WS-C2960X-24PS-L vs WS-C2960S-24PS-L, the final decision should base on your specific networking environment. All the compatible SFP optical modules presented in the above chart are available at FS. FS manufactures a variety of high-standard optical transceivers, each of them are strictly tested for fully compatibility with the original brand. For more details, please visit www.fs.com or contact sales via sales@fs.com.

Compatible Optical Solution for HPE Procurve 3500yl-48G POE Switch (J8693A)

The HPE Procurve 3500 and 3500 yl switch series is a group of advanced intelligent-edge switches available with 24-port or 48-port fixed ports. These switches are with a variety of Gigabit Ethernet and 10/100Mbps interfaces. Both 24-port and 48-port switches have POE+, POE and non-POE options. Moreover, Gigabit Ethernet switches are with optional 10GbE module slot. HPE Procurve 3500yl-48G POE switch is one popular model of the 3500 yl switch series. This post will focus on this switch model and introduce compatible transceivers and cables that can be used in it.

HPE Procurve 3500yl-48G POE Switch

HPE Procurve 3500yl-48G POE switch has 44 autosensing 10/100/1000BASE-T ports and 4 dual-personality ports. Each of these four ports can be either an RJ45 10/100/1000 port with POE or an open mini-GBIC slot. It can be used as an advanced access layer switch or small distribution layer switch. With 44 fixed RJ45 10/100/1000BASE-T POE ports, it can support a considerable number of end application. And with an open module slot that supports a maximum of four 10GbE ports, it is flexible and promising when there’s need to upgrade to higher data rate or longer transmission distance.

HPE Procurve 3500yl-48G

Figure 1: 48-port HPE procurve 3500yl-48G POE switch.

It should be noted that each of the four mini-GBIC slots is shared with the associated 10/100/1000Base-T RJ45 port. If a mini-GBIC is installed in a slot, the associated RJ45 port is disabled.

4 dual-personality ports of HPE 3500yl-48G-POE

Figure 2: 4 dual-personality ports of HPE procurve 3500yl-48G POE switch.

Supported Transceivers and Cables in HPE 3500yl-48G POE Switch

The HPE Procurve 3500yl-48G POE switch is a multi-rate device that can support various types of network cable; when using the 4 mini-GBIC ports, different optical transceivers and cables can be used in them. For the 44 autosensing RJ45 ports, they can be used for 10/100BASE-T connectivity in half or full duplex mode, or for 1000BASE-T connectivity in full duplex mode. Ethernet cable like Cat5 can achieve the 10/100/1000BASE-T link. In terms of the mini-GBIC port, since there are three optional choices (X2, CX4 and SFP+) for the open module slot, 10G transceivers including X2, CX4 and SFP+ are possibly to be used. The following table explains what network optics and cable can be used. By the way, J8177B Gigabit 1000BASE-T mini-GBIC is not supported on the 3500 switch series.

Table: HPE compatible optical transceivers and cables.

HPE Part Number Description
J9054C HPE J9054C Compatible 100BASE-FX SFP 1310nm 2km DOM Transceiver
J9099B HPE J9099B Compatible 100BASE-BX-D BiDi SFP 1550nm-TX/1310nm-RX 10km DOM Transceiver
J9100B HPE J9100B Compatible 100BASE-BX-U BiDi SFP 1310nm-TX/1550nm-RX 10km DOM Transceiver
J4860C HPE J4860C Compatible 1000BASE-LH SFP 1550nm 80km Transceiver
J4859C HPE J4859C Compatible 1000BASE-LX SFP 1310nm 10km Transceiver
J4858C HPE J4858C Compatible 1000BASE-SX SFP 850nm 550m Transceiver
J9142B HPE J9142B Compatible 1000BASE-BX-D BiDi SFP 1490nm-TX/1310nm-RX 10km DOM Transceiver
J9143B HPE J9143B Compatible 1000BASE-BX-U BiDi SFP 1310nm-TX/1490nm-RX 10km DOM Transceiver
J8438A HPE J8438A Compatible 10GBASE-ER X2 1550nm 40km DOM Transceiver
J8437A HPE J8437A Compatible 10GBASE-LR X2 1310nm 10km DOM Transceiver
J9144A HPE J9144A Compatible 10GBASE-LRM X2 1310nm 220m DOM Transceiver
J8436A HPE J8436A Compatible 10GBASE-SR X2 850nm 300m DOM Transceiver
J9153A HPE J9153A Compatible 10GBASE-ER SFP+ 1550nm 40km DOM Transceiver
J9151A HPE J9151A Compatible 10GBASE-LR SFP+ 1310nm 10km DOM Transceiver
J9152A HPE J9152A Compatible 10GBASE-LRM SFP+ 1310nm 220m DOM Transceiver
J9150A HPE J9150A Compatible 10GBASE-SR SFP+ 850nm 300m DOM Transceiver
J9281B 1m (3ft) HPE J9281B Compatible 10G SFP+ Passive Direct Attach Copper Twinax Cable
J9283B 3m (10ft) HPE J9283B Compatible 10G SFP+ Passive Direct Attach Copper Twinax Cable
Summary

The above mentioned compatible optical transceivers and network cables can work well in HPE Procurve 3500yl-48G POE switch as the original models do, but are much more affordable. These compatible modules are tested in the switch and are ensured to work on it. If you know other working devices in this switch model, welcome to share with me and my readers.

How to Build a 10G Home Network?

The network has become the lifeblood for home and small business. It changes the way we live, work and communicate. Nobody today would deny the importance of the network, while it keeps evolving to satisfy the requirement of people. 10G home network, in this case, are no longer restricted to use in small and middle-sized business. It’s not uncommon for home to start with a 10G network setup. So how to get 10G home network? You may find some clues in this article.

Begin with Needs Assessment

Pretty much everything nowadays rely on a fast and reliable network, which leads to tremendous traffic and applications running on the networks and it keeps growing at high pace. Deploying 10G home network at home eliminates network congestion at busy times while improves your productivity.   Better planning before deployment to ensuring your network can handle your business needs. You should ask yourself a few questions, such as how many computers, printers and other peripherals will connect to your network? How much wireless coverage will you need at your location? What type of mobile devices will need access to your network?

10g-home-network-needs-assessment

What Makes a 10G Home Network?

10G Ethernet makes streaming and sharing files over local network much faster. And 10GBASE-T standard is going mainstream into the consumer segment thanks to its lower power consumption and compatibility with existing infrastructure.

10g home network

To build a 10G home network, several components are indispensable: 10G core switches, access switches with 10G uplinks, and 10G network interface cards for servers and storage devices. The past few years had witness the price dropping of 10G network switches. For example, the cost of Ubiquiti Unifi and Eageswitch switches are only $200. And FS 10G network switch like S3800-48T4S only cost $480 by offering 48 100/1000Base-T and 4 10GE SFP+. When it comes to access switches with 10G uplink, FS S3800 series switches offers 24 ports with 4 10G uplinks at very decent price. These switches are well suited for home network use.

fs 10G network switch

What About 10G Cabling – 10GBASE-T, DAC or SFP+?

Upgrading the existing 1G network to 10G can be simple. As 10G switches also support 10GBASE-T, you can use the same RJ45 network cable to connect the 10G switch with your servers, storage and some other switches. The only difference is to use Cat6a network cable instead of Cat5e and Cat6 cable, or choose SFP+ 10GBASE-T modules with 2.5W power consumption and a maximum distance of 30 m.

10g-copper-fiber

For 10G switches that support 10G SFP+, you should use these ports if you have devices that come with 10G SFP+ port, or you need a 10G connection to other switches over 100m away. SFP+ ports look just the same as SFP ports on your Gigabit switches, but they’re now running at 10 Gigabit. For servers or storage devices with 10G SFP+ port, the most cost efficient way to connect is to use 10G DAC (direct attach twinax cable). These are basically copper cables with SFP+ connector on both sides, and they come in various lengths.

10g-dac-cable

To connect switches over 100 m apart, a pair of SFP+ modules and the matching fiber cable are needed between them. Depending on the length required in home network, you can use 10G optics such as 10GBASE SR SFP module and multimode fiber to reach 300 meters. FS offers a wide range of 10G SFP+ modules and fiber patch cables for short and long distance transmission.

Conclusion

This article presents you some basic facts about 10 Gigabit Ethernet and how you can build a home network over 10 Gigabit. FS provides comprehensive 10G solutions: all the components mentioned to build a 10G home network are available at FS.COM, including Cat6a Ethernet cables, fiber patch cables, DACs and 10G SFP+ modules. For more details, please visit www.fs.com.

40G Deployment: The Cost Difference Between SMF and MMF

40G network are now being extensively adopted within LANs and data centers. 100G is still predominantly in the carrier network, but could soon extend its stretch to your local network. There exists much confusion as to whether to choose single-mode fiber (SMF) or multimode fiber (MMF) for deploying 40G bandwidth, and how to get fully prepared for scaling to higher-speed 100G. If you are hesitating to make the choice, you may find this article helpful.

40G Cost: Difference Between SMF and MMF

Multimode Fiber (MMF): Cost-effective With Higher Tolerance to Dirt

Cost-effectiveness: Multimode fiber (MMF) has been evolving to handle the escalating speed: OM3 has been superseded by OM4 and OM5 is there ready to use. MMF has a wider array of short distance transceivers that are easier to get. One of the liable argument that in favor of using MMF is that multimode optics use less power than single-mode ones, but only in condition that you have tens of thousands of racks. In essence, MMF still has its position under certain circumstances, like cabling within the same rack, in Fiber Channel and for backbone cabling in some new construction buildings.

smf mmf

Tolerance to Dirt: Multimode fiber tends to have a lot more tolerance to dirty connections than single-mode fiber. It can handle very dirty couples or connectors to ensure reliable and consistent link performance. Besides, it is easy to terminate, and more accommodating bend radius. So MMF is preferred by links that change frequently or are less than permanent.

smf mmf

Single-mode Fiber (SMF): Higher Capability and Better Future-proofing

Speed capability: Capacities are really vital for network growth. SMF does so with relatively larger capability than that of MMF. The gap between SMF and MMF cabling is much wider for high-density, high-speed networks. If you want to go further with SMF, say scaling to 100G or beyond, you simply need to upgrade the optics. Unlike using MMF, in which you have to upgrade the glass (OM3 to OM4 to OM5), the labor cost concerning this cannot be underestimated. The capacity for scaling of SMF alone makes it worth the cost. You can use single-mode for almost everything, no need for media conversion. SMF offers enough bandwidth to last a long time, making it possible to upgrade 100 Gbps to Tbps with CWDM/DWDM.

smf mmf

Future proofing: Despite the fact that SM optical transceivers usually cost higher than MM optics, SMF cabling is cheaper and can support much longer distance and reliable performance. Not to mention that bandwidth on SMF keeps going up and up on the same old glass. The good news is that the cost of SMF is dropping in recent years, and it is redesigning to run with less power, thus advocators of SMF think that it is pretty much the only rational choice for infrastructure cabling and the sure winner for today and tomorrow.

SMF and MMF: A Simple Comparison of Cost

There is no doubt that SMF is a better investment in the long run, but MMF still has a long way to go in data center interconnections. In fact the price difference of SMF optics and MMF optics can be minimized if you choose the right solution. Assuming to connect two 40G devices at 70 m away, let’s see the cost of SMF and MMF in the following chart.

Module Connector Type SMF or MMF Price 2 Connections 4 Connections 6 Connections
40GBASE-SR4 MPO12 MMF, OM4 $49.00 $564.48 $1128.96 $1693.44
40GBASE-BiDi LC MMF, OM4 $300.00 $1534.24 $2734.24 $3934.24
40GBASE-LR4 LC SMF, OS2 $340.00 $1,609.84 $2,969.84 $4,329.84
80 Gbit 160 Gbit 240 Gbit

 

Conclusion

Choosing the right fiber for your network application is a critical decision. Understanding your system requirements in order to select the appropriate fiber will maximize the value and performance of your cabling system. Be sure to select the right cable on the basis of aspects including link length, performance, and of course costs. FS provides a broad range of 40G optical transceivers and fiber patch cables with superior quality and fair price. For more details, please visit www.fs.com.

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.

Are White Box Switches Equal to OEM Switches?

With a low cost and excellent performance, white box switch has been a hot topic in the past few years. However, the basic definition of white box switch is still vague and ambiguous as a result of various reasons. Firstly, no one has ever made an accurate and standard conception of white box switches before; secondly, manufacturer with different interests and demands will deliberately obscure the definition of white box switch; thirdly, people who are unaware of the truth of Internet tend to be wrongly informed, which also lead to chaos in its definition. Some even simply equate a white box switch with an OEM switch. So what is a white box switch exactly?

white box switch

How to Understand White Box Switches?

According to its literal meaning, white box switches refer to switches without a label. However, there exists a deep connotation in white box switches which means this kind of switches doesn’t focus on brand. Based on this core idea, to better understand white box switches, here we might as well divide them into the following three models:

  • Bare-mental switch. It is the fundamental type of white box switch with no network operating system loaded on them except a boot loader. Customers can purchase a software through a third party like Big Switch, Cumulus, and Pica8 or even write a software by themselves. They ask for hardware support from hardware vendors and software support from software vendors.
  • White box switch. In this model, the supplier will offer switches with both hardware and software (the supplier only provide one of them, either hardware or software, but they got the authority of another from their partners). So customers can seek support for both hardware and software from one supplier. Besides, there are options for customers to choose for both hardware and software.
  • OEM switches. The hardware and software of the switch are manufactured and provided by an OEM (original equipment manufacturer). These OEMs design and manufacture a switch as specified by another company to be rebranded or not branded. This kind of switch is also called white box switch by many people. And suppliers offering this service are called white box supplier, especially when the supplier is small and not well-known.
The Market for White Box Switches

With a wide choice of networking software based on low-cost, commodity hardware, white box switches are bound to have a vast market in the future. Also, with the deployment of SDN, there is an increasing interest in white box switches within the IT community. In the previous text, we have divided white box switches into three types. Next, I will analyze the market for white box switches based upon this classification.

The market for white box switches

  • Bare-mental switches have been most widely used with a customer group mainly from networking giants like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft. They purchase a bare-mental switch and develop networking software by themselves. In china, large companies like Baidu, Alibaba, Tecent, and JD also tried this model, with Baidu being the most successful example. The reason why these giants chose such a kind of white box switch is that they are confident and capable enough to handle the development and operation of the software for a switch. Besides, these major technology firm have an extremely large-scale network, which requires them to control the network completely by themselves.
  • The customers for the second type are mainly distributed abroad with only a few in China. They mainly come from large financial companies, international data corporation and some network operators, whose size may only behind those internet giants. Cost saving is the most important driving force for them to buy a white box switch. Also, part of these enterprises chose it just for the differentiated operating system provided by white box suppliers who are willing to satisfy their specific demands through customized service.
  • The customer for the third type is distributed both at home and abroad. Although the market for this part is smaller than the first two, it has the largest potential for its customer group involving a large number of VARs (value added resellers), system integrators, IT products providers and many medium-sized clients. They adopt a white box switch for varied reasons such as improving the production line and saving costs.
Summary

Through this essay, we can see clearly that white box switch is much more than an OEM switch and the latter can be classified as one kind of the former. With a lower cost, excellent performance and huge market potential, white box switch will definitely grow up as the mainstream for switch adoption.

100G PAM4 QSFP28 or Coherent CFP?

The ever-increasing need for higher data rate in mobile data traffic, data centers and cloud services has pushed the access streams from 2.5Gb/s to 100Gb/s, and is demanding for 100Gb/s beyond without a stop. In today’s core network that has deployed 100G rates, there are QSFP28 optical transceivers including SR4, PSM4, CWDM4, LR4, ER4, etc., serving for a maximum 25km transmission distance. And there are 100G AOC, DAC and breakout cables generally for applications of tens of meters. 100G CFP/CFP2 modules including SR10, LR4 and ER4 support transmission distances of 150m to 40km. Until recent years, the telecom service providers are adopting new 100G DWDM technologies in their high capacity and long distance backbone applications. Coherent 100G DWDM transceivers are the first to be deployed for 100G long-haul applications, and then new technologies like PAM4 (Pulse Amplitude Modulation) are developed to meet lengths requirements for 100G metro network. This post is to discuss the issues on coherent and 100G PAM4 DWDM transceivers.

Overview on 100G DWDM Transceivers

In the past few years, the adoption of 100G DWDM technologies is mainly focused on coherent DWDM optical transceivers, including CFP and CFP2. Until the year 2016, Inphi (a specialist in this area) offers pluggable 100G PAM4 QSFP28 DWDM transceivers to support 80km data center interconnect (DCI). The alternative for 100G DWDM coherent transceiver is given much attention. Besides, this new option for 100G DWDM transceiver also arouses hot discussion on which to choose. Knowing the characteristics and suited applications of them could help in selection.

100G PAM4 QSFP28 and Coherent CFP/CFP2

There are significant differences between QSFP28 PAM4 transceivers and coherent CFP/CFP2 transceivers, but they also have some relations in 100G applications. Contents below will go to details of these optical modules.

QSFP28 PAM4

Before the announcement of PAM4, binary NRZ (non-return to zero) modulation format is used for 40G and 100G long-haul transmission systems. PAM4 has four distinct levels to encode two bits of data, essentially doubling the bandwidth of a connection. Currently the single-wavelength PAM4 modulation scheme is considered the most cost-effective, efficient enabler of 100G and beyond in the data center. The 100G DWDM transceiver utilizing PAM4 signaling is in QSFP28 form factor. The advantage is that the customers who want to build an embedded DWDM network can use this transceiver directly in the switch. On this side, it is simple and cost-effective solution. But there are some prerequisites: it needs amplification to get out of the blocks and dispersion compensation to go beyond 5-6km. Therefore, a separate DWDM multiplexer with an amplification system and dispersion compensation is required to connect data canters together.

single wavelength 100G PAM4

In another case, if the QSFP28 PAM4 module is added to an existing DWDM network, it must be a network already having right dispersion compensation modules (DCMs) and amplification system in place; if it is not, changes are required when QSFP28 PAM4 is later added.

Coherent CFP

CFP digital coherent optics (DCO) have a high speed digital signal processing (DSP) chip built in. They do not require separate DCMs. This is what makes CFP different from QSFP28. Instead, they have electronic dispersion compensation built in. Although the built-in DSP requires more power and adds cost in components, it releases the switch vendors from adding DSPs to their equipment. Coherent CFPs enables transmission distance of more than 1000km between sites.

CFP2 analog coherent optic (ACO) is half the width of the CFP. Existing CFP2 coherent DWDM optical transceivers are analog and require a separate DSP on the host board to take the full advantages of the coherent features. So it is suited for switch vendors who have fitted such a DSP, but it adds additional cost and power consumption on the main board.

CFP2 digital coherent optic (DCO), expected to be released in the coming two years, is more optimized than CFP2 ACO in that it has built-in DSP. This component will open up to all switch vendors using CFP2 without DSP. With different coherent CFPs optional, customers can pay only for what they need when they need it.

100G PAM4 QSFP28 or Coherent CFP?

This really should depend on the applications. According to ACG research (an analyst and consulting firm that focuses on the service providers’ networking and the telecom industry), the 100G PAM4 solution and coherent DWDM solution, together with IEEE802.3ba, cover different portions of the optical fiber reach in the data center interconnect. So when deploying a long distance 100G DWDM network with DWDM transceivers, the required transmission distance and available equipment should be taken into consideration when choosing a suitable pluggable module.

IEEE, PAM4, OIF coherent optical reaches

Conclusion

Using pluggable transceivers for embedded DWDM, where the DWDM functionality is in the transceiver and not a separate DWDM converter platform, offers the ultimate solution in terms of cost and simplicity. Both 100G PAM4 QSFP28 and coherent CFP/CFP2 are all suited to this approach. They can be used for embedded DWDM networking or as part of an existing DWDM installation. They all enable the advantages of pluggable modules: simple installation, easy spares handling, lower cost of ownership and quick return on invest.