Cisco ACI: Software-Defined & Hardware-Enabled Solution

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Cisco ACI (Application Centric Infrastructure) has already gained much early support from the its data center partners. By creating a new way to link networks and applications in a highly virtualized data center, Cisco ACI is considered as “a revolutionary re-thinking of how to provision and manage data center networks”. Which has the potential to completely shift the way that large, highly virtualized data center networks are configured and built. So what is Cisco ACI all about? How can ACI benefit our network? This article may explain it to you.

Cisco ACI: An Optimized Solution for Data Center

Cisco ACI mainly consists of two components. The first is the Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC), which can be seen as a virtual machine. The APIC holds a database of application configuration information, and works to turn this information into network configurations and push those configurations into devices. The second is a set of real and virtual network devices that are optimized for ACI. For example, devices like Cisco’s Nexus 9300 switches when run in Cisco ACI mode and with ACI-supported line cards.

Cisco ACI deployment

Generally speaking, Cisco ACI is Cisco’s attempt to solve the prominent and significant problem of integration between applications and networks. With ACI, there’s no “closedness” in how you access the system. Servers and top-of-rack switches can be changed without requiring associated re-definition of those models. The benefit is that organizations can rapidly provision and migrate resources based on application policy, reduce the cost of operations, shorten application deployment time and make “on the fly” changes. In a sense, Cisco ACI brings “just in time” provisioning of IT resources to the world of applications.

Cisco ACI for Data Center: More Than a Configuration Tool

Cisco ACI captures the “intent” of an application directly from the application owner, which allows for the application owner to control their network provisioning, creating a consistent and documented configuration in network elements. The data center network is thus presented as abstractions that make sense to the application owner. This simplifies scalability issues that tie up network managers, such as subnets, VLANs, virtual routers (VRF), and access control lists (ACL). Therefore, much less time will be spent on configuring, troubleshooting, and debugging data center configurations – which can be a pretty good thing for network managers. The advantages of Cisco ACI is listed as following.

Cisco ACI advantages

Cisco ACI builds the data center fabric on top of VXLAN, which allows any-to-any layer 2 connectivity – seems not a big deal in traditional server environments where each server stays connected to the same set of Ethernet ports all the time. But when data center moves to virtualization, a single physical server may have dozens of virtual servers, each with their own MAC address and their own layer 2 connectivity requirements. More importantly, as those virtual servers migrate between physical servers, there’s a requirement for the network to keep everything straight so that each virtual server is properly connected to its VLAN and subnet. In this case, the ACI-aware VXLAN fabric in Nexus 9300 makes a critical and valuable part of the system. The following picture shows Cisco ACI fabric topology with Nexus 9300 switches.

Cisco ACI fabric

Cisco ACI Moves Data Centers to the Cloud

Since the early goal of Cisco ACI is to offer customers alternative on how and where they run applications, it now supports multiple hypervisors, bare metal servers, and Linux containers on premise and has become the most open, flexible and widely deployed SDN in the industry. ACI presents an ideal choice to enhance operational efficiencies, deliver network automation, and improve security for their on-premises data centers and private clouds. And it has stretch the reach to public cloud domain. Consequently, ACI enables users more flexibility to run applications across their private clouds and public clouds, with the ability to maintain consistent network policies across their entire multimode domain.

Conclusion

Cisco ACI combines traditional switching technologies with advanced management and automation capabilities, allowing the customers to shorten application deployment time, streamline operations and reduce operating expenses. As a member of Cisco’s popular Nexus 9300 switch family, Nexus 9372PX is a ACI-supported switch using as a leaf nodes in Cisco ACI fabric. FS N5850-48S6Q switch has the same port configuration as ACI-enabled Nexus 9372PX: 48 fixed 10G SFP+ ports and 6 fixed 40G QSFP+ ports that delivers 1.44 Tbps of bandwidth, but with only a fraction of the cost. FS offers a wide range of solutions to help deploy N5850-48S6Q in your data center, visit www.fs.com for more tech support.

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
22139 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.

NETGEAR ProSAFE GS108PE Switch Connectivity Solution

Businesses today depend heavily on their network to handle the exploring data traffic and critical mission. So companies are putting more applications and demands on their Ethernet Infrastructure. Deployment of VoIP and IP surveillance needs the network intelligence to separate the voice and video traffic from data, and prioritize them accordingly. However, companies do not need to invest extra money or advanced training in dealing with complex managed switches. Netgear Prosafe GS108PE switch is designed to meet this growing need.

NETGEAR ProSAFE GS108PE Switch Unveil

NETGEAR Prosafe series switches provides fundamental network features such as VLANs, QoS, and IGMP Snooping that will help optimize the performance of business networks. These switches come in a variety of configurations ranging from 5 port desktop to 48 port rackmount. GS108PE switch comes in a sturdy metal case with a fan-less design for silent operation, supporting Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) and can power devices such as IP phones, IP surveillance cameras and wireless access points with just Ethernet cable. Proven to be perfect for low cost PoE deployments and upgrade from the plug-and-play unmanaged switch.

The ProSAFE GS108PE has 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports which can be used for any 10/100/1000 Mbps connection, 4 of these ports can supply industry-standard IEEE 802.3af power, as well as providing power and data. This switch offers fundamental network features such as VLANs, QoS, and IGMP and allows for simple network set-up on top of plug-and-play connectivity. This switch will automatically detect 802.3af-compliant devices and will only provide power to these devices, and power will stop when the PoE devices are disconnected.

Model Name Form-Factor 10/100/1000 Base-T RJ45 Ports PoE 802.3af Ports Power Supply PoE Budget
GS108PE Desktop 8 4 External Power Adapter 53W
Highlights of NETGEAR ProSAFE GS108PE Switch
  • Easy Management – simple setup and configuration with easy-to-use web-browser based interface.
  • Enhanced Control – segment your network and prioritize your traffic with VLAN, QoS, IGMP Snooping, rate limiting and traffic monitoring.
  • Visibility – monitor your network status and your cabling with the port statistics and cable health.
  • Reliability – add redundancy to your network with port trunking.
  • Gigabit Ethernet – 8 auto-sensing 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports with up to 16Gb non-blocking switching.
Target Applications of NETGEAR ProSAFE GS108PE Switch

Netgear ProSAFE GS108PE switch is ideal for small business networks that want to simplify the installation of their IP-based PoE devices. Which can bring big cost savings when used for devices that are installed away from electrical outlets for example IP door entry and IP cameras, as the PoE eliminates the requirement for a dedicated electrical outlet. It is an ideal upgrade for SMB network combining management capability with higher speed and better performance.

netgear prosafe gs108pe Switch application

Cabling Solutions for ProSAFE GS108PE

The ProSAFE GS108PE has 8 10/100/1000 Mbps ports, and 4 of these ports can supply industry-standard IEEE 802.3af power, as well as providing power and data. Cat5e cables can be used in these RJ45 ports to achieve link connection. FS offers a wide range of Cat5e network cables, which comes with unshielded (UTP) and shielded (FTP) type, PVC/OFNR and LSZH ratings. You can also customized the length and color of your cable – 10 different colors are offered for easier identification.

ethernet network cable

Conclusion

Netgear ProSAFE GS108PE Switch delivers essential networking features at a very affordable price, enabling network configuration and management at the price point of unmanaged switches. FS provides Cat5e Ethernet cables that fully supports Netgear GS108PE switch, and all of them are strictly tested to ensure top-notch quality. For more information, please visit www.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.

Comparison Between 10Gb Switch Under $550

Industrial Ethernet has fast become the network of choice for the interconnection of data center devices, due to its incredible speed, bandwidth and flexibility. The market for network switch is booming as vendors compete to develop items with advanced features and functions. This, however, makes the simple choice of an Ethernet switch overly complex. 10Gb switch is often used as access or leaf switch (depending on your network architecture) in data centers, the importance of which cannot be underestimate. This article will compare some cost-effective 10 Gigabit switches on the market, each of them costs less than $550.

Options of 10Gb Ethernet Switches Under $550

In this section, we will take a brief review of some 10Gb switches that cost less than $550. The port specification of each is illustrate as following.

MikroTik CRS226-24G-2S+IN

This switch combines the features of a fully functional router and a Layer 3 10Gb switch. It enables ports to be removed from the switch configuration, and used for routing purposes. The CRS226 has 24 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports and two SFP+ ports for 10G connectivity.

MikroTik CRS226-24G-2S+RM

CRS226-24G-2S+RM is a fully functional Layer 3 10Gb switch. It has 24 Gigabit ports and two SFP+ cages for 10G connectivity (first SFP port supports 1.25G/10G modules, second port only 10G modules).

MikroTik CRS210-8G-2S+IN

Featuring small size and low cost, this fully functional router and a Layer 3 10Gb switch comes with 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports and two SFP+ cages for 10G connectivity (first port supports 1.25G/10G modules, second port only 10G modules).

D-Link DGS-1510-28X

The DGS-1510-28X is a smart managed 10Gb switch that contains 24 10/100/1000 Mbps ports plus 4 10G SFP+ ports. It is ideal for deployments in the SME/SMB core with its 10G uplinks connecting with servers equipped with 10G port connectivity. For medium to large scale enterprise deployment, it can serve as a good interconnection between the core switch and edge switch.

D-Link DGS-1510-20

The DGS-1510-20 contains 16 10/100/1000 Mbps ports, 2 Gigabit SFP ports and 2 10G SFP+ ports. It belongs to D-link DGS-1510 series like DGS-1510-28X, providing a reliable, scalable, and modular interconnection with rich capabilities and simplified flexibility.

Ubiquiti ES-48-Lite EdgeSwitch

Ubiquiti ES-40-Lite is a fully managed, Gigabit switch that delivers robust performance and intelligent switching for growing networks. It offers both Layer 2 switching features and Layer 3 routing capability, supporting 48 10/100/1000 Mbps RJ45 Ethernet ports, 2 1/10 Gbps SFP+ Ethernet ports and 1 Gbps SFP Ethernet ports.

ZyXEL XGS1910-24

The ZyXEL XGS1910-24 is a smart 10Gb switch built to fulfill increasing network demands for small and medium businesses (SMB). With 20 10/100/1000 ports , 4 combo Gigabit SFP ports and 2 x 10 Gigabit SFP+ ports, it allows SMBs to deliver higher bandwidth for congestion relief and smooth data delivery.

FS S3800-24T4S Switch

S3800-24T4S is a high performance metro 10Gb Ethernet switch designed to meet the demand of Gigabit access and aggregation in enterprise networks. Loaded with 24 10/100/1000Base-T ports and 4 10GE SFP+ ports, it supports flexible port combination to facilitate user operations.

FS S3800-24T4S Switch 10Gb switch

How to Make the Final Decision?

Besides the cost, there are still a variety of factors to weigh when choosing a 10 Gigabit switch, such as: port configuration, switching capacity, power consumption and switch class. To make it simple, we use the chart below to further illustrate it.

Switch Price Switching Capacity Power Consumption 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports Gigabit SFP SFP+ ports Layer Supported
MikroTik CRS226-24G-2S+IN $289.00 88 Gbps 21W 24 / 2 Layer 3
MikroTik CRS226-24G-2S+RM $299.00 88 Gbps 21W 24 / 2 Layer 3
MikroTik CRS210-8G-2S+IN $229.00 56 Gbps 13W 8 / 2 Layer 3
D-Link DGS-1510-28X $394.99 128 Gbps 22.3 W 24 / 4 Layer 2/3
D-Link DGS-1510-20 $292.88 76 Gbps 20.3 W 16 2 2 Layer 2/3
Ubiquiti ES-48-Lite $374.55 140 Gbps 56W 48 2 2 Layer 2
ZyXEL XGS1910-24 $544.50 88 Gbps 32 Watt 20 4 combo 2 Layer 2
FS S3800-24T4S $399.00 128Gbps ≤40W 24 / 4 Layer 2+

We can conclude from the chart that, apart from the price. The port configuration and speed also matters when purchasing a switch. This two factors determine the switching capacity. So you have to consider the amount of traffic to run through the 10Gb switch and select one that can accommodate all the dataflow. Power consumption is also a very important aspect as it defines the operating cost in the long run. Think about tens of thousands of network switch in a middle sized data center, a power efficiency switch can save you a great amount of money.

Conclusion

10G switches is the most effective solution for labs or small deployments. This article compares only a fraction of the important parameters of these switches. Once you have gone through all this factors, choice can thus be make based on your specific condition. Are there any other factors your organization considers when preparing to buy a switch? What do you think are the most important factors? Post your comments below.

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.

Connectivity Options Comparison for 10G Servers/Switches Networking

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

Connectivity Options

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

Fiber Cables with SFP+ Transceiver

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

fiber

SFP+ Direct Attach Copper Cable (DAC)

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

dac

10GBASE-T NIC (Network Interface Card)

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

10GBASE-T NIC

Comparison

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

10G network

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

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

Summary

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