Pluggable Transceivers Used in Data Centers

Today’s data centers are going through unprecedented growth and innovation as emerging optical standards and customers’ demands for higher-level networking services converge. Bandwidth, port density and low-power demands come as the main drivers that populate the deployment of fiber optic networks. And in fiber optic network implementations, pluggable transceivers provide a modular approach to safe-proof network design and become the ideal choice to meet the ever-changing network needs in data centers. This text just mainly introduces pluggable transceivers deployed in data centers.

A Quick Question: What Are Pluggable Transceivers?

Pluggable transceivers are transceivers that can be plugged into routers, switches, transport gear, or pretty much any network device to transmit and receive signals. They are hot swappable while the device is operating, standardized to be interchangeable among vendors, capable of operating over many different physical medium and at different distances. For instance, pluggable transceivers can work through copper, through fiber optic cables available in both single-mode fibers (SMFs) and multi-mode fibers (MMFs), realizing 100m, 300m, 10km, 80km distance reach, etc. In addition, these hot-swappable transceivers are also able to support a wide variety of speeds, like 1Gbit/s, 10Gbit/s, 40Gbit/s, 100Gbit/s, or even higher.

Pluggable Transceiver – Standards & Protocols

Just as what has been mentioned above, pluggable transceivers are interchangeable. These interchangeable transceivers allow a single device to operate with a wide selection of protocols and functions. Listed below are commonly-used pluggable transceiver standards and protocols.

SFP—The small form-factor pluggable (SFP) supports a wide range of protocols and rates, such as Fast and Gigabit Ethernet (GbE), Fibre Channel (FC), and synchronous optical networking (SONET) for dual and bidirectional transmission. SFP medium are available in SMF, MMF, and copper. For MMF media, there exists 1000BASE-SX port type used in 1GbE applications. Take J4858C for example, this HP 1000BASE-SX SFP can realize a maximum of 550m reach at 1.25 Gbit/s over MMF.

J4858C, HP 1000BASE-SX SFP

SFP+—The enhanced small form-factor pluggable (SFP+) is an enhanced version of the SFP, supporting data rates up to 16Gbit/s. It was first published on May 9, 2006, and version 4.1 was published on July 6, 2009, supporting 8Gbit/s FC, 10GbE and Optical Transport Network standard OTU2. SFP+ is a popular industry format supported by many network component vendors.

XFP—The XFP (10G SFP) is a standard for transceivers for high-speed computer network and telecommunication links that use optical fiber. Its principal applications include 10GbE, 10Gbit/s FC, SONET at OC-192 rates, synchronous optical networking STM-64, 10 Gbit/s Optical Transport Network (OTN) OTU-2, and parallel optics links.

QSFP—The Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable (QSFP) is a also a compact, hot-pluggable transceiver used for data communications applications. QSFP+ transceivers are designed to carry Serial Attached SCSI, 40GbE (100G using QSFP28), QDR (40G) and FDR (56G) Infiniband, and other communications standards. They increase the port-density by 3x-4x compared to SFP+ modules. In 40GbE applications, these QSFP+ transceivers establish 40G links with distances up to 300m over MMF, and 40km over SMF. QSFP can also take copper as its media option when the required distance is short. Like QSFP-4SFP10G-CU5M, this product is the QSFP to 4 10GBASE-CU SFP+ direct attach passive copper cable assembly designed for relatively short reach, that is 5m. The image below just shows what this QSFP-4SFP10G-CU5M product looks like.

QSFP-4SFP10G-CU5M, QSFP to 4 10GBASE-CU SFP+

CFP—The C form-factor pluggable (CFP) is a multi-source agreement (MSA) to produce a common form-factor for the transmission of high-speed digital signals. The c stands for the Latin letter C used to express the number 100 (centum), since the standard was primarily developed for 100 Gigabit Ethernet systems.

Conclusion

Pluggable transceivers offer distance extension solutions, allowing flexibility in network reach and easy replacement in the event of component failures. They are the answer to today’s network architecture and performance demands. Fiberstore supplies various pluggable transceivers supporting different speeds, like SFP (J4858C), SFP+, XFP, QSFP, CFP, etc. Additionally, their transmission medium available in fiber and copper can also be found in Fiberstore. For more information about pluggable transceivers, you can visit Fiberstore.

Transceivers – How They Help Support Big Data in Data Centers?

Today’s data centers need to better adapt to virtualized workloads and the ongoing enterprise transition to hybrid clouds, since business owners always rely on big date technology to get timely information and make immediate decisions. Transceivers, one of the most critical designs in telecommunication field, are related to the promotion of big data in data centers, helping business owners get their data in real-time. This just explains the importance of being aware of the three ways in which transceivers help support big data in data centers.

Transceivers Facilitate High Speed Data Transfers

A growing number of enterprises are transiting to private and hybrid clouds, which drives the bandwidth and connectivity requirements. As high-speed data carrier, transceivers facilitate high speed data transfers. Enterprises that want to achieve faster transmission have to choose transceivers with high quality. There are many types of transceivers available in the market, such as SFP, SFP+, XFP, QSFP, etc. Each type of transceiver is designed to support different data rate. Capable of transmitting data at 10Gbit/s, 40Gbit/s, 100Gbit/s or even 120 Gbit/s, transceivers can realize the high-speed data transfer, ensuring bandwidth upgrades in enterprise data centers. Take 10GBASE SFP+ modules for example, these hot-pluggable transceivers (eg.SFP-10G-SR) deployed for 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) applications, though designed physically small, can handle fast transmission with the maximum data rate of 10.3125Gbps.

SFP-10G-SR, handles fast transmission

Transceivers Promote Data Transmission Process in Data Centers

Enterprise that need to manage big data can benefit from the use of transceivers. Data centers are places where enterprises store the barrage of data that comes from their offices. The information is usually stored in the cloud where employees and executives have access to the information in determining the actions they need to make in their organizations. The data centers need to transmit data accurately, securely, and rapidly. Transceiver technology can promote the data transmission process in data centers.

Transceivers Promote Data Transmission Process in Data Centers

Transceivers Support Big Data in Data Centers

Data centers have experienced the exponential growth as the demand for big data increases. Greater bandwidth is necessary to support many applications, like video download, live online show, and other types of data. Transceivers are a necessity in ensuring that the data is transmitted securely, expeditiously, and accurately via the fiber. Transceivers are used in conjunction with multiplexers and switches. When they work together, managing network capacity becomes an easy task.

Additionally, transceivers also have a role in companies’ sales. It’s known that big data can be accessible on mobile devices through the cloud. Transceivers are capable of facilitating the transmission from wireless cell tower base stations. Company employees like salesmen are always on-the-go to make sales, and to have access to information is really important. When they are able to obtain valuable information from the mobile devices which record the data, they can make decisions faster, thus more apt to make a sale for their companies.

Transceiver technology increases the speed of data transmission through the fiber deployed by enterprises in data centers. Executives can make faster decisions and maintain a competitive advantage when they have access to getting information timely. Transceivers help to support big data in data centers, and play a really important role in executives’ decision-making process. Without the use of transceivers, it’s impossible to transmit data at high speed over significant distances.

Conclusion

It’s necessary to mention that there are more than three ways that transceivers help support big data in data centers. Only three popular ways are discussed in this article. Transceivers, a key component designed in relation to the promotion of big data in data centers, are instrumental in managing big data. Fiberstore, as a professional transceiver supplier, several types of transceivers supporting different data rates, like SFP+ (SFP-10G-SR mentioned above), XFP (eg. XFP-10G-MM-SR), QSFP, etc. You can visit Fiberstore for more information about transceivers with high quality and competitive prices.

SFP Transceiver Module Troubleshooting

SFP (small form-factor pluggable) is a compact, hot-pluggable transceiver module used for both telecommunication and data communications applications. With the increasing high speed data transmission demands of people, products, such as SFP+, CFP and QSFP/QSFP+ etc. have shared the market. Nonetheless, SFPs have still played an important role in telecommunication and data communication.

Transceiver-Solution

As a widely and commonly used component in data transmission, due to the incorrect operation or other factors, it is hard to avoid facing the faults in using SFP, and sometimes even result in a bad situation and heavy loss. This paper will help you to diagnose the SFP problems (take Cisco for example) and give some resolution tips. I hope it would be acted as a learning tool and a reference source for both new and experienced technicians who work in this field.

To diagnose SFP problems, you can get statistics from the browser interface, the CLI (Command Line Interface) or an SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) workstation. The most common SFP problems include these aspects:

  • Poor performance
  • No connectivity
  • Corrupted software

Poor Performance (or Excessive Errors) Possible Cause: The possible causes of this problem include that cabling distance is exceeded or port statistics show excessive frame check sequence (FCS), late-collision, or alignment errors. Resolution:

  • Reduce the cable length to within the recommended distances.
  • See your SFP module documentation for cabling guidelines.

No connectivity Possible Cause: This problem is more likely related to cabling. Using incorrect or bad cable, or incorrect cable wiring, or STP (Shielded Twisted Pair) checking for possible loops may probably lead to this problem. Resolution:

  • Verify the pinouts are correct for the proper application of cables.
  • Replace the cable with a tested good cable.
  • Wait 30 seconds for the port LED to turn green.

Corrupted software The corrupted software here we mentioned include the following three situations. 1.The port is placed in error-disabled state after SFP is inserted. Possible Cause: This problem is usually caused by bad or non-Cisco-approved SFP module(ie. the incompatible SFP). Resolution: Remove the SFP module from the switch and replace it with a Cisco-approved module. Use the irrdisable recovery cause GBIC-invalid global configuration command to verify the port status, and enter a time interval to recover from the error-disable state. The best advice is to use the Cisco original SFP or 100% Cisco compatible SFP (If you decide to use a third-party SFP, please ensure that your supplier is assured) that is adapted to the switch.

2.Device does not recognize the SFP module. Possible Cause: This problem is generally related to the SFP installation. Situations, such as SFP is installed upside dowm or does not snap into the slot can cause this problem. Resolution:

  • Verify that the SFP module is not installed upside down.
  • Remove the SFP module. Inspect for physical damage to the connector, the module, and the module slot.
  • Replace the SFP module with a known good SFP module.

3.Excessive errors found in port statistics. Possible Cause: Bad adapter in attached device or STP checking for possible loops can cause this problem. Resolution: Run adapter card diagnostic utility and wait 30 seconds for the port LED to turn green.

Some common error message of Cisco Switch When Using With SFP Module Error Message: Transceiver module inserted in port Explanation: The online insertion and removal (OIR) facility detected a newly inserted transceiver module for the interface specified in the error message.

Error Message: INIT_FAILURE: Detected for transceiver module in port, module disabled Explanation:An initialization failure occurred for the transceiver module for the interface specified in the error message. This condition could be caused by software, firmware, or hardware problem. As a result of the error, the module is disabled.

Recommended Action: Try reseating the module. Hardware replacement should not occur first occurrence. Before requesting hardware replacement, review troubleshooting logs with a technical support representative.


Error Message: NOT_IDENTIFIED: Detected for transceiver module in %s, module disabled Explanation: The transceiver module for the interface specified in the error message could not be identified and may not be compatible with the interface. The transceiver module specified in the error message contains a transceiver code which could not be correctly interpreted. As a result of the error, the module is disabled.

Recommended Action: Replace the module with a compatible transceiver.


Error Message: UNSUPPORTED-TRANCEIVER: Unsupported SFP transceiver found on board. Warranty/support may void Explanation: The transceiver module for the interface specified in the error message is not a Cisco supported module. As a result of the error, the module is disabled. When Cisco determines that a fault or defect can be traced to the use of third-party transceivers installed by a customer or reseller, then, at Cisco’s discretion, Cisco may withhold support under warranty or a Cisco support program. In the course of providing support for a Cisco networking product Cisco might require that the end user install Cisco transceivers if Cisco determines that removing third-party parts will assist Cisco in diagnosing the cause of a support issue. Recommended Action: None.