Category Archives: Switch & Transceiver

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.

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 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.

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.

What Is IPv4 & IPv6 Dual Stack and MPLS Technique?

We usually see the switch products description as the following “Hardware support for IPv4 & IPv6 dual stack and rich MPLS features provide customers with a wealth of business features and routing functions, as well as hardware-based security features”. Then, what’s the IPv4 & IPv6 dual stack? What does the “MPLS” mean?

What Is IPv4 & IPv6 Dual Stack?
As we all know, the entire Internet world is currently running IPv4 (Internet Protocol Version 4). But we’ve run completely out of current IPv4-type addresses. So a new IP address format called IPv6 appears. The IPv6 format creates an IP address with a much longer number, which allows for a great many more IP addresses—so many, we should never run out again! Here’s an example of the difference between the two formats:

  • Sample IPv4 address: 192.168.1.2
  • Sample IPv6 address: 2001:0578:0123:4567:89AB:CDEF:0123:4567

One significant problem is that the two IP address formats aren’t compatible and total conversion to IPv6 is a way off. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) need to provide their customers with both IPv4 and IPv6 service. How to solve this problem? The answer is IPv4 & IPv6 dual stack. With the dual stack solution, every networking device, server, switch, router and firewall in an ISP’s network will be configured with both IPv4 and IPv6 connectivity capabilities. Most importantly, dual stack technology allows ISPs to process IPv4 and IPv6 data traffic simultaneously.

IPv4 & IPv6 Dual Stack

MPLS Technique Explanation
MPLS stands for “Multi-Protocol Label Switching”. It is a type of data-carrying technique for high-performance telecommunications networks. In a traditional IP network, each router performs an IP lookup, determines a next-hop based on its routing table, and forwards the packet to that next-hop. Rinse and repeat for every router, each making its own independent routing decisions, until the final destination is reached.

Multi-Protocol Label Switching_mpls

MPLS does “label switching” instead. The first device does a routing lookup, just like before. But instead of finding a next-hop, it finds the final destination router. And it finds a pre-determined path from “here” to that final router. The router applies a “label” based on this information. Future routers use the label to route the traffic without needing to perform any additional IP lookups. At the final destination router the label is removed. And the packet is delivered via normal IP routing.

Due to the labeling technology, the speed of performing lookups for destinations and routing is much faster than the standard IP table lookups non-MPLS routers have to perform. Besides, MPLS networks achieve greater Quality of Service (QoS) for their customers. FS.COM S5800-48F4S routing switches support for IPv4 & IPv6 dual stack and rich MPLS features and enhanced multicast and QoS capabilities can provide customers with a wealth of business features and routing functions, as well as hardware-based security features.

Layer 2 vs Layer 3 Switch: What’s the Difference?

Over the years, the average network has been dominated by the Layer 2 switch. Now as network complexity increases and applications demand greater functions from the network, Layer 3 switches are coming out of the data center and high level enterprise settings. Why this happens? Layer 2 vs Layer 3 switch: What’s the difference? Which one should I deploy?

Layer 2 vs Layer 3 Switch
The main function of a Layer 2 is to help the traffic from devices within a LAN reach each other. A Layer 2 switch does this by keeping a table of all the MAC addresses it has learned and what physical port they can be found on. The MAC address is something that operates within Layer 2 of the OSI model (what defines how networks operate). Traffic being switched by MAC address is isolated within the LAN those devices are using. Therefore, when you need traffic to cross between LANs (or VLANs) is when we need a Layer 3 switch.

Layer 2 Switch

The most common Layer 3 device used in a network is the router. A router is able to look into the Layer 3 portion of traffic passing through it (the source and destination IP addresses) to decide how it should pass that traffic along. Since a router holds information about multiple networks (LAN WAN VLAN) it is also able to pass traffic along between these networks. This is routing. The Layer 3 switch functionally exists somewhere between being a Layer 2 switch and being a Gateway Router. It can be best described by what more it does compared to a Layer 2 switch and what less it does compared to a Gateway Router.

Layer 2 vs Layer 3

Layer 2 vs Layer 3: What Makes Layer 3 Switch Different?
When comparing the Layer 2 switch to a Layer 3 switch the first thing to look at is what additional software functionality you are getting. When a switch supports Dynamic Routing Protocols, it’s no longer a strictly Layer 2 switch. Because static routing allows traffic to be routed between VLANs. In fact, the switches that add only Static Routing to their software features are considered to be somewhere between a Layer 2 and full Layer 3 switch. Sometimes called Layer 2+ or Layer 3 Lite. Unlike Layer 2+ switch, Layer 3 switch is Dynamic Routing ,which are used to link large networks together and share routing tables between them. They can also allow for dynamic routing of multicast traffic on the network.

Layer 2 vs Layer 3: To Choose a Layer 2 Switch or Layer 3 Switch?
Now that we know the difference between the two layers, what metrics would you choose one over the other comes down to the flexibility of being able to route the packets. If you need to send data within a LAN, use Layer 2 switch. If you need to send the data to other buildings on campus or to a client site, use Layer 3 switch. FS.COM provides a series of Layer2/3 10G/40G/100G switches to meet Data Center and Enterprise Ethernet network requirements. If you are interested, welcome to visit our website www.fs.com or contact us via sales@fs.com for more detailed information.

Related Article: How to Achieve 10GB in Your Home Lab Under $70?

Compatible Transceivers for Cisco Catalyst 4948E Switch

Cisco Catalyst 4900 series switches were once the most widely deployed ToR (top-of-rack) switches in this industry. This post will introduce the detailed compatible transceivers information for Cisco Catalyst 4948E switch.

Cisco Catalyst 4948E

Port Information of Catalyst 4948E Switch
Cisco Catalyst 4948E switch is a one-rack-unit (1RU) fixed configuration switch with 48 RJ45 ports of 10/100/1000M for downlink and 4 SFP/SFP+ ports of 1/10G for uplink on the front panel. The following picture shows the detailed port information of Cisco Catalyst 4948E switch.

Catalyst-4948E-F-ports-information

Downlink Connection for Cisco Catalyst 4948E Switch
The 48 ports on the front panel of Catalyst 4948E can support downlink of 10/100/1000M. The great advantage of these ports is that they can configure themselves to operate at the speed of the attached devices. If the attached devices do not support auto-negotiation, the speed and duplex parameters can be set explicitly. A network cable with a RJ-45 plug at both end can connect Cisco Catalyst 4948E switch to the downlink target devices.

Uplink Connection for Cisco Catalyst 4948E Switch
The four uplink SFP/SFP+ ports on Cisco Catalyst 4948E can support both copper and fiber optic transmission of 1G/10G by using different modules and cables. In addition, these ports can also support CWDM SFP transceivers and DWDM SFP transceivers. The following part will introduce the details about compatible transceivers for Cisco Catalyst 4948E switch.

Modules Connector & Cable
GLC-T (1000BASE-T) RJ45,Cat5
GLC-TE
GLC-SX-MM LC duplex, MMF
GLC-SX-MMD
GLC-LH-SM LC duplex, SMF
GLC-LH-SMD
GLC-EX-SMD
GLC-ZX-SM
GLC-ZX-SMD
CWDM SFP
DWDM SFP
GLC-BX-D LC simplex, SMF
GLC-BX-U
GLC-BX40-D-I
GLC-BX40-U-I
GLC-BX40-DA-I
GLC-BX80-U-I
GLC-BX80-D-I
Modules Connector & Cable
SFP-10G-LRM LC duplex, MMF
SFP-10G-SR
SFP-10G-SR-S
SFP-10G-LR LC duplex, SMF
SFP-10G-LR-S
SFP-10G-ER
SFP-10G-ER-S
SFP-10G-ZR
SFP-10G-ZR-S
DWDM SFP+
SFP-10G-BXD-I LC simplex, SMF
SFP-10G-BXU-I
SFP-10G-BX40D-I
SFP-10G-BX40U-I
SFP-H10GB-CU1M 10G SFP+ DAC Twinax Cable
SFP-H10GB-CU3M
SFP-H10GB-CU5M

Do You Use QSFP+ Direct-Attach Twinax Copper Cable?

To achieve a 40G network connection, we usually use QSFP+ transceiver modules and MTP patch cords, which can help transmit 150 m to 40 km. But, if we only need to connect within 10 m, we can use QSFP+ direct-attach twinax copper cables. It’s a high-speed, cost-effective alternative to QSFP+ fiber optics. What’s QSFP+ direct-attach copper (DAC)? Whether should I use it? This blog will introduce the knowledge of QSFP+ DAC to you.

What Is QSFP+ Direct-Attach Twinax Copper Cable?
QSFP+ DAC is also called QSFP+ to QSFP+ cable. It has a QSFP+ module at one end and another QSFP+ module at the other end, and uses integrated duplex serial data links for bidirectional communication. Used to connect the 40 Gbps QSFP+ port of a switch at one end to another QSFP+ port of a switch at the other end, it can provide high quality of 40G end-to-end connection. Usually, maximum transmission distance of QSFP+ DAC is 10 m, which makes these cables are suitable for in-rack connections between servers and Top-of-Rack (ToR) switches. Besides, since its price ($30-$200) is much lower than QSFP+ optics, it’s a more cost-effective option to connect within racks and across adjacent racks.

QSFP+ DAC

Passive vs Active QSFP+ DAC
QSFP+ direct-attach twinax copper cable comes in either an active or passive twinax (twinaxial) and connects directly into a QSFP+ housing. An active twinax cable has active electronic components in the QSFP+ housing to improve the signal quality. A passive twinax cable is mainly just a straight “wire” and contains few components. Generally, twinax cables shorter than 5 meters are passive and those longer than 5 meters are active, but this may vary from vendor to vendor. QSFP+ direct-attach copper is a popular choice for 40G Ethernet reaches up to 10 m due to low latency and low cost.

Popular QSFP+ Cable Overview
At present, major QSFP+ DAC vendors are Brocade, Arista and Cisco. We can use QSFP+ DAC in their hardware with QSFP+ interfaces. Although the transmission distance of QSFP+ DAC can reach 10 m, the most common types we use are 1 m, 3 m, and 5m. In the market, popular QSFP+ DAC includes Brocade 1m(40G-QSFP-C-0101) , 3m(40G-QSFP-C-0301) and 5m(40G-QSFP-C-0501) passive QSFP+ twinax copper, Arista 1m(CAB-Q-Q-1M) and 3m(CAB-Q-Q-3M) passive QSFP+ twinax copper, and Cisco 1m(QSFP-H40G-CU1M) and 3m(QSFP-H40G-CU3M) passive QSFP+ twinax copper.

Brocade,Arista and Cisco DAC

Conclusion
40 Gbps Direct-Attached QSFP+ to QSFP+ Copper Cables (1 m, 3 m, 5 m) are optimized to fully leverage 40 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) switches and routers. FS.COM provides a wide range of QSFP+ cable assembly options for your network connection, which satisfies the need for ultra-thin, light-weight, highly flexible cabling solutions for use in high density intra-rack applications.

Wireless Access Point vs Router–Which One Is Right for You?

Nowadays wireless networks are almost at every home. And surely you hear people around talking about wireless equipment from time to time. Among, wireless router is the most familiar one in our lives. However, we’ve heard more and more about the word “wireless access point” or “AP” recently. What’s the wireless AP? Is it the same as the wireless router? What’s the difference between them? Wireless access point vs router: difference between them will be introduced in this blog.

What Is a Router?
Most anyone who has a Internet connection has a router. Router is a device that routes packets between different networks. A typical consumer router is a wireless router and it has two network interfaces: LAN (including WLAN) and WAN. It serves to connect a local area network (LAN) to a wide area network – Internet (WAN). That is to say if we want to connect to Internet, we must use a router. Routers on the other hand can manage an entire home or small business giving network capability to many computers and devices simultaneously, either wired or wirelessly (when wireless router used).

wireless-router

What Is a Wireless Access Point?
As for wireless access point (AP), it’s commonly wire connected to Ethernet network’s router, hub or switch and then to create a simple wireless network. This was done by using a Ethernet cable to connect a switch and a AP and the AP would then communicate with WiFi devices and giving them network access. Wireless access point does not route anything. It just converts an existing wired network (LAN) into a wireless one (WLAN). A router can be a access point but a access point can’t be a router.

wireless-access-point

Wireless Access Point vs Router: Which One should I Buy?
Before routers became standard with built in WiFi, we must use a wireless AP to connect wireless devices to our network. However, now that most any router has built in WiFi and plays many roles including being a AP, many don’t use dedicated AP as they have in the past. Then wireless routers are common place in any network today but often there are weak WiFi signals or dead spots in any network. A wireless access point can be added in locations that have bad wireless network ability help with WiFi dead spots and extending a wireless network.

Wireless Access Point vs Router

Conclusion
In conclusion, access point vs router: if you want build more reliable wireless network, you may need a wireless access point. If you just want wireless network at home to cover only several people, the wireless router is enough. Today’s wireless AP is widely used in business and larger hotspot WLANs to cover a bigger area or to support hundreds of users. In larger WLANs, it usually makes sense to have several APs feeding into a single, separate router. FS.COM provides several wireless access points with high performance to support resilient wireless access services for use in enterprise offices, schools, hospitals, hotels and more.

wireless-access-point-ap

What’s the Difference Between HBA, NIC and CNA?

HBA, NIC and CNA are three types adapters used in computer networking system. All perform to connect servers to switches, then what’s the differences between them? In this blog, knowledge of HBA, NIC and CNA will be provided.

HBA – Host Bus Adapter
Host bus adapter is a hardware device, such as a circuit board or integrated circuit adapter, that provides I/O processing and physical connectivity between a host system, such as a server, and a storage device. The HBA transmits data between the host device and the storage system in a SAN and relieves the host microprocessor of the tasks of storing data and retrieving data. The result of which is to improve server performance. HBAs are most commonly used in Fibre Channel (FC) SAN environments and are also used for connecting SCSI and SATA devices.

hba

NIC – Network Interface Card
Short for Network Interface Card, the NIC is also referred to as an Ethernet card and network adapter. It is an expansion card that enables a computer to connect to a network. Most new computers have either Ethernet capabilities integrated into the motherboard chipset, or use an inexpensive dedicated Ethernet chip connected through the PCI or PCI Express bus. A separate NIC is generally no longer needed. If the card or controller is not integrated into the motherboard, it may be an integrated component in a router, printer interface or USB device.

nic

CNA – Converged Network Adapter
A converged network adapter (CNA), also called a converged network interface controller (C-NIC), is a computer input/output device that combines the functionality of a host bus adapter (HBA) with a network interface controller (NIC). In other words, it “converges” access to, respectively, a storage area network and a general-purpose computer network. The CNA connects to the server via a PCI Express (PCIe) interface. The server sends both FC SAN and LAN and traffic to an Ethernet port on a converged switch using the Fiber Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) protocol for the FC SAN data and the Ethernet protocol for LAN data. The converged switch converts the FCoE traffic to FC and sends it to the FC SAN. The Ethernet traffic is sent directly to the LAN.

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What’s the Difference Between HBA, NIC and CNA?
In large enterprise companies, main servers usually have (at least) two adapters – FC HBA and Ethernet NIC to connect to the storage network (Fiber Channel) and computer network (Ethernet). CNAs converge the functionality of both the adapters into one.

hba-nic-and-cna
As you can see from the picture below, with the set up in the first diagram, two separate adapters are required on the server to connect to Ethernet based Computer Network and FC based Storage Network respectively. But the set up in the second diagram requires just one adapter (Converged Network Adapter – CNA) which carries both Ethernet traffic as well as FCOE traffic in a single cable. This cable connects to one of the Ethernet ports in the Converged Switch that has both Ethernet as well as Fiber Channel ports. This Converged Switch converts the FCOE traffic in to Fiber Channel traffic to be sent to the FC SAN over the Fiber Channel Network. The computer network traffic is directly sent to the LAN over the Ethernet Network.

Conclusion
Compared to use both HBA and NIC, using a single CNA to connect servers to storage and networks reduces costs by requiring fewer adapter cards, cables, switch ports, and PCIe slots. Besides, CNAs also reduce the complexity of administration because there is only one connection and cable to manage. To connect CNAs to your ToR or EoR switches can over both SFP+ SR (optical) or SFP+ direct attach copper cable. To connect CNAs to your servers can over Cat6 cables. All these cabling solutions can be provided in FS.COM. All at low price and high quality!

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