10G Technology: 10GBASE-T Vs. SFP+

As the basis of upgrading network, 10G network has been ubiquitous in data center, enterprise network and even home networking. 10GBASE-T and 10G SFP+ are two different kinds of technology which transmit data via copper and fiber respectively. 10GBASE-T technology provides the most flexible and economical solution while 10G SFP+ offers the compatible and user-friendly solution for 10G Ethernet connectivity option. This article would shed light on the difference between 10GBASE-T and 10G SFP+.

10GBASE-T Technology

As the fourth generation of IEEE standardized Base-T technologies, 10GBASE-T is designed to reduce overall costs and improve flexibility. By using RJ45 connectors and unshielded twisted pair cabling, 10GBASE-T allows 10Mbps, 100Mbps, 1Gbps, and 10Gbps data transmission, while being backward-compatible with prior generations. Merits and demerits of using 10GBASE-T are listed in the below.

Pros of 10GBASE-T
  • Cheap twisted pair cables.
  • Patch panels can be used without messing around with transceivers.
Cons of 10GBASE-T
  • Higher power consumption.
  • People may get tempted to use substandard cabling, and this would have a negative influence on the speed.
  • No good way to extend length beyond 100m (though this can be somewhat mitigated by choosing switches with mostly 10GBASE-T but also a handful of SFP+ ports) limited choice of equipment.
10G SFP+ Technology

The 10G SFP+ transceiver meets the standard of Multi-Sourcing Agreement (MSA), and provides the cost effective solution for 10G optical data communication. It supports both duplex and simplex LC optics interfaces. The 10G SFP+ transceiver consists of 10Gbit/s DFB/EML optical transmitter and PIN receiver, which allow 300m~120km 10G Ethernet and 10G fiber channel applications. Advantages and disadvantages of using 10G SFP+ transceivers are listed in the below.

Pros of SFP+
  • Lower latency
  • Lower power consumption
  • Cheaper NICs and switches
  • More choice of connected equipment.
  • With transceivers and fiber basically any run length can be covered.
Cons of SFP+
  • Apparently, it is not a big deal for transmission within short distance.
  • For longer runs or runs that need to go through patch panels needs transceivers and fiber. Fiber itself is cheap but transceivers, termination, patch panels, and etc for fiber would cost a lot.
10GBASE-T Vs. SFP+

This passage would mainly demonstrate the difference between 10GbE base T and SFP+ options from the respective of technology, latency, and power consumption.

—Technology

Generally, 10GBase-T is cheaper and easier to deploy than the alternative SFP+ technologies. You can further compare these two different technologies in the following table:

Table1 Comparison between 10GBASE T and SFP Plus

—Latency

Low latency is paramount to ensure fast response time and reduce CPU idle cycles. That increases data center efficiency and ROI. With the increasing of using private cloud applications, the need for low latency is growing fast in large scale data centers.

When it comes to 10GBase-T, the PHY standard uses block encoding to transport data across the cable without errors. The standard specifies 2.6 microseconds for the transmit-receive pair, and the size of the block requires that latency to be less that 2 microseconds. SFP+ uses simplified electronics without encoding, and typical latency is around 300 nanoseconds (ns) per link. You can further compare them in the below table.

latency comparison

Basically, there are only slight differences between 10GBASE-T and SFP+ in terms of application latency. Relatively speaking, 10G SFP+ has lower latency than 10GBASE-T. High latency would exert negative influence on CPU and therefore limiting data center efficiency and increasing operational costs.

—Power Consumption

10GBase-T components today require anywhere from 2 to 5 watts per port at each end of the cable (depending on the distance of the cable) while SFP+ requires approximately 0.7 watt (regardless of distance). The difference is clearly shown in the below chart.

power consumption comparison

(Resource: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com)

Conclusion

Through this article, we are clear about the pros and cons of 10GBASE-T and SFP+ as well as their differences in technology, application latency and power consumption. It is evident that SFP+ is the right technology to ensure optimal performance with lowest latency and lower power usage in the data center. The cost saving becomes obvious when deploying from 1000 to 10,000 cables in the data center.

Cloud Core Switch—An Economic Choice for L3 Switch

MikroTik Switches have been popularly received favorable reviews, and this is inseparable with their keeping on the bleeding edge of switching technology. As a new member of MikroTik Smart Switch series, cloud core switch, also called cloud router switch, combing the best features of a fully functional router and a Layer 3 switch. That is to say, this cloud router switch works as both switch and router to connect the VLAN. This article would mainly discuss about cloud core switch, CRS226-24G-2S+RM switch and its connectivity solutions, as well as the reasons why they are economic choice for L3 switch.

About Cloud Core Switch

The cloud core switch, or cloud router switch, abbreviated as CRS, is a highly configurable switch, powered by RouterOS. It has 24 Gigabit Ethernet port. The Ethernet port 2-24 are switched, and the device can be accessed via these ports through the IP 192.168.88.1. Ethernet port 1 is configured as a DHCP client and has firewall on it. The SFP port is configured the same way as Ethernet 1, with a firewall and DHCP client on it. For the cloud router switch, there are nine models currently available. Here lists three different cases of the cloud core switch:

  • CRS125-24G-1S-2HnD-IN (integrated wireless, indoor case)
  • CRS125-24G-1S-IN (indoor case)
  • CRS125-24G-1S-RM (rackmount case)

MikroTik cloud router switch

Figure1: MikroTik cloud router switches(Resource: www.MikroTik.com)

Cloud Core Switch CRS226-24G-2S+RM

As one of the cloud core switches, CRS226-24G-2S+RM have been highly favored by most people. CRS226-24G-2S+RM is a fully functional layer 3 cloud router switch powered by Router OS, which is also available in 1U rackmount case. It comes with a special switch menu which includes all the specific configuration options for switches. It has 24 Gigabit ports and two SFP+ cages for 10G connectivity in which first SFP port supports 1.25G/10G modules and second port only 10G modules. Ports can be removed from the switch configuration and used for routing purposes if needed. The most distinctive feature of CRS226-24G-2S+RM is that uses a new class of switch chips, which allows us to have two SFP+ ports for 10G connectivity. The main features of this cloud core switch are listed in the following:

  • Fully manageable L3 switch, full wire speed switching
  • Configure ports as switch, or for routing
  • If required, full RouterOS power right there
  • SFP+ ports for 10G connectivity

CRS226-24G-2S+RM_big

Figure2: cloud core switch CRS226-24G-2S+RM(Resource: www.MikroTik.com)

Connectivity Solutions for CRS226-24G-2S+RM

As being mentioned, the cloud core switch CRS226-24G-2S+RM has 24 Gigabit ports and 2 SFP+ ports. For the twenty-four 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports, you could use both network cables and optical transceivers to connect. The transmission speed of Cat5 and Cat5e cables can be up to 100 Mb/s and 1G respectively. Besides, you can also use 10/100/1000BASE-T copper transceiver to make network connectivity. But it costs more than the network cables. In terms of 10G SFP+ ports, there are also two connectivity approaches. You can use both 10G SFP+ modules and 10G SFP+ DAC copper cable to connect. Relatively speaking, the 10G DAC cable is cheaper a lot than the 10G transceiver. But if transmission quality is your pursuit, and then 10GBASE SFP+ transceivers would be a good choice.

Why Are Cloud Core Switches Economic Choice for L3 Switch?

According to the above description, cloud core switches are powered by Router OS. RouterOS lets you add upper layer functionality. The cloud core switch is very far below wire speed when doing layer 3 or above. In fact, the cloud core switch is more of a bare-bones layer 2 switch that has an embedded low-horsepower router. In short, the switch features are useful for making bridges that work at wire speed, but they’re limited to simple forwarding and vlan handling. The bridge feature lets you glue almost anything together, and gives lots of filtering/manipulation tools, but it cannot perform at wire speed because it uses the main CPU. Last but not least, the average prices of Mikro Tik cloud core switches are not more than $150, you can check them by this link.

Conclusion

Cloud core/router Switch is a managed switch that runs RouterOS and SwitchOS, which delivers a high performance as a Layer 3 switch. They allow to manage port-to-port forwarding, apply MAC filter, configure VLANs, mirror traffic, apply bandwidth limitation and even adjust some MAC and IP header fields. The economic L3 switch including several switch models covering wide range applications, like enterprise network and home network.

Dell Powerconnect 2700 Vs. 2800 Series Switches

Both the Dell PowerConnect 2700 series and 2800 series switches are secure, fixed-port Gigabit switches. The Dell PowerConnect 2700 series was launched in the early 2000s, designed to deliver full wire-speed switching performance. Not long after the 2700 series, the 2800 series were released to support jumbo frames for networks that need to move large files across the network. They are both cost-effective solutions for small network environments, such as branch offices, schools and etc. However, it seems that it is hard to make a decision about purchasing these two series switches. This article would offer a satisfied solution to you and give a brief introduction to 2700 series and 2800 series switches.

Dell PowerConnect 2700 Series Switches

The Dell PowerConnect 2700 series switches are web-managed switches, the web-interface allows the user to easily manage the switch without learning CLI commands or integrating the switch into an SNMP-based application. These switches offer three port densities, including 8, 16, 24 and 48 Gigabit Ethernet 1 ports. Besides, the 2724 and 2748 have SFP slots in a combo port arrangement that deliver fiber capabilities. Auto MDI/MDIX and autonegotiation of speed, duplex mode and flow help deliver improved control over your network traffic. Totally, there are four models of 2700 series switch—Dell PowerConnect 2708, 2716, 2724, 2748. The main features of these switches are listed in the below:

  • There switches are prepared in advance for any elevated IT requirements.
  • They could eliminate the potential risks within the switch.
  • The 2700 series switches provide the flexibility to meet the requirement of various end users and applications environments.
  • They provide smartly balancing quality and the best prices.

dell-powerconnect-2716-overview

Figure1: Dell Powerconnect 2716 switch(Resource: www.DELL.com)

Dell PowerConnect 2800 Series Switches

As same as the 2700 Series Switch, Dell PowerConnect 2800 Series Switches are also web-managed Gigabit Ethernet switches. These switches offer four port densities, including 8, 16 , 24, and 48 port Gigabit Ethernet ports. In addition, the 2824 and 2848 have SFP slots in a combo port arrangement that deliver fiber capabilities (SFP transceivers optional). The PowerConnect 2800 family also supports jumbo frames for networks that need to move large files across the network. There are also four switch models of 2800 series switches—Dell PowerConnect 2808, 2816, 2824, and 2848. Main benefits of 2800 series switches are listed in the following.

  • Easy web access to the managed features provides a secure environment by offering password restricted access.
  • These switches offer enhanced security by allowing the user to specify which IP addresses have access to the switch.
  • The 2800 series switches support up to six link aggregation groups consisting of up to four ports per group.
  • Advanced cable diagnostics help improve network troubleshooting.

Dell 2800 series switch

Figure2: Dell 2800 Series Switches(Resource: www.DELL.com)

Dell 2700 Vs. 2800 Series switches

As being described, the Dell PowerConnect 2700 and 2800 series switches are nearly identical. But they still have some subtle differences in STP, management configuration, switching and price.

—Spanning Tree Protocol (STP)

Compared to Dell PowerConnect 2700 series switches, 2800 series support more STP protocols and support 9000 jumbo frames (not not 9014, etc.). If you do a ping -f on the 2724 with jumbo frames enabled it will go to 5000, 5500, 6000, but not 9000 – they get fragmented at that point. Granted that is only useful for iSCSI traffic, and even then it’s not 100% necessary. And the 9014+ jumbo frames is of the preference.

—Management Configuration

Both 2700 and 2800 series switches are small office switches with minimal management. They all not have LACP. BootP/DHCP IP address management or Static IP address assignment are set within the 2800 series switches. The 2800 series switches have CLI and SNMP Command Subset while the 2700 series switches do not.

—Switching

The link aggregation of both two series switches are up to eight aggregated links and up to eight member ports per aggregated link (IEEE 802.3ad). But the Jumbo frame of 2700 series switches support up to 9000 Bytes (2716, 2724, and 2748). The 2800 series switches have LACP support (IEEE 802.3ad).

—Price

Compared to 2700 series switches, 2800 series switches are cheaper. Just take the same 16-port switch for a example, a new Dell 2816 switch only needs $56 while a new Dell 2716 switch costs $112 on eBay.

Conclusion

Through this article, we are clear about the Dell 2700 and 2800 series Gigabit Ethernet switches as well as their differences in STP, management configuration, switching and price. They all powerful switches with outstanding cost and power savings. You can select an appropriate one according to your need.

Some Common Fiber Optical Transceivers

Fiber optic transceiver including both transmitter and receiver in a single module is an important equipment transmitting and receiving data to support the normal operation of optical fiber data transmission system. The market currently offers a wide selection of fiber optic transceiver for use with different types of wire, fiber and wavelength and so on.

A group of companies joined together to agree on package standards also called multisource agreements (MSAs). The package standards help customers choose the best transceivers to their applications and make sure the they can use transceiver from multiple vendor without redesigning the board. In the following text, some common fiber optic transceivers according to package standards are introduced in details.

9-PIN&GBIC&SFF
9-Pin transceiver
 is also known as 1×9 optical transceiver. This transceiver has a single row of output pins at the rear of the device. The optical interface is usually ST or duplex SC receptacles. It is mainly used in fiber optic transceiver, optical switches, single/multi-mode converter as well as some industrial control applications.

GBIC transceiver, namely gigabit interface converter transceiver, is a plug-in interface designed to allow a pluggable interface for Gigabit Ethernet. It offers a standard, hot swappable electrical interface and can support a wide range of physical media from copper to long-wave single mode optical fiber, at lengths of hundreds of kilometers. However, this type of transceiver is gradually replaced by SFP transceiver which has more advantages.

SFF (small form-factor) transceiver is a compact optical transceiver used in optical communications for both telecommunication and data communications applications. Compare to 9-pin and GBIC transceivers, SFF transceivers is smaller allowing more ports in a given area. SFF transceivers have 10 or 20 I/O (input/output) pins that solder to the board.

SFP&SFP+&XFPSFP transceiver, small form-factor pluggable, small hot-pluggable optical module is a pluggable version of SFF transceiver and an upgraded version of the early GBIC module, with 10 I/O connections at the rear of the package. With smaller volume and higher integration, it is currently the most popular fiber optic transceiver.

SFP+ transceiver, also called enhanced SFP or SFP plus, with a higher transmission rate usually up to 8.5 G or 10 G, is a kind of optical transceiver module specified for 8Gbps/10Gbps/16Gbps fiber channel and 10Gigabit Ethernet applications.

XFP transceiver, 10Gigabit small form-factor pluggable transceiver, is the next generation SFP transceiver for 10Gbps application. This type of transceiver is hot-swappable and protocol-independent and is usually used to 10Gbps SONET/SDH, fiber channel, Gigabit Ethernet and other applications, but also of CWDM DWDM link.

X2&XENPAKXENPAK transceiver is a pluggable transceiver for 10Gbps applications, specifically 10 Gigabit Ethernet. The electrical interface is called XAUI, which provides four 2.5Gbps signals to the transmitter, which multiplexes or serialize them into a single 10Gbps signal to drive the source. It uses a 70-pin electrical connector. The optical interface is usually a duplex SC.

X2 transceiver is based on the XENPAK transceiver standards. It is shorter than XENPAK transceiver but uses same 70-position electrical and duplex SC interfaces. Unlike XENPAK, X2 devices mount on top of the board and are low enough to allow boards to be stacked side by side.

If you are look for fiber optic transceiver, you can visit Fiberstore which provides a wide selection of fiber optic transceivers with high quality.

Address Common Questions When Using the Compatible Devices

When we begin to come into compatible products industry, there is always a problem that confused us, we are not sure if a device can be compatible with another device in different brands, even after they connected, did not know what would happen, well, this page I will explain the problem with the actual example.

For example, we need to connect Dell M6330 blades switches to a HP 2910al by fiber sfp+ over sr (50/125 um OM3 fiber from tyco). Then i ordered the SFP+ module for the 2910al (J9008A), two transceiver modules for the DEll switches (one each) and 4 x Dell 10gbase-sr sfp LC LC transceiver. And if all the connection between the M6220 done well, but when i plug the Dell transceiver into the switch there is no link up, what it means that if the HP switch refused to work with the Dell transceivers, but there is no event log notice of incompatibility, Then the questions is, if i can connect the HP switches to Dell by SFP+, or do you know if using non-HP brand SFP+ transceivers will work with the HP transceiver?

sfp

Well, in this issue, If you are indeed using optical transceivers in the switches, then no switch has any idea about what transceivers are in any other switch. Switches only know about the directly connected (plugged-in) transceivers. Now, as for the transceivers themselves. The J9008A is simply an expansion module. HP ProCurve switches will not accept non-HP ProCurve transceivers. So, if you have been trying to use the Dell SFP/SFP+ transceivers with the HP 2910al, that would be your problem. You are required to obtain HP ProCurve transceivers and use those.

sfp module

In general, we have to say that HP switches do not accept non-hp transceivers, such as Cisco, Dell, Juniper, Netgear and so on…You can’t plug a Dell transceiver in a ProCurve switch and expect it to work. Although there is a MSA (Multi Source Agreement) for SFP transceiver, in practice HP switches do not accept non-HP transceivers. Cisco equipment also can only utilize the Cisco SFP module and other brand module or equipment is not supported. If you just plug in the other module, Cisco port information will be displayed on the Unsupport or unknown. In simple terms, as for the unknown GBIC, Cisco device does not provide any warranty. In a word, when we choose the device, we just have to choose the same brands products, compatible products also can be used. Above the Figure shows that the popular compatible module in our Fiberstore.