5G and Multi-Access Edge Computing

Over the years, the Internet of Things and IoT devices have grown tremendously, effectively boosting productivity and accelerating network agility. This technology has also elevated the adoption of edge computing while ushering in a set of advanced edge devices. By adopting edge computing, computational needs are efficiently met since the computing resources are distributed along the communication path, i.e., via a decentralized computing infrastructure.

One of the benefits of edge computing is improved performance as analytics capabilities are brought closer to the machine. An edge data center also reduces operational costs, thanks to the reduced bandwidth requirement and low latency.

Below, we’ve explored more about 5G wireless systems and multi-access edge computing (MEC), an advanced form of edge computing, and how both extend cloud computing benefits to the edge and closer to the users. Keep reading to learn more.

What Is Multi-Access Edge Computing

Multi-access edge computing (MEC) is a relatively new technology that offers cloud computing capabilities at the network’s edge. This technology works by moving some computing capabilities out of the cloud and closer to the end devices. Hence data doesn’t travel as far, resulting in fast processing speeds.

Ideally, there are two types of MEC, dedicated MEC and distributed MEC. Dedicated MEC is typically deployed at the customer’s site on a mobile private network and is designed only for one business. On the other hand, distributed MEC is deployed on a public network, either 4G or 5G, and connects shared assets and resources.

With both the dedicated and distributed MEC, applications run locally, and data is processed in real or near real-time. This helps avoid latency issues for faster response rates and decision-making. MEC technology has seen wider adoption in video analytics, augmented reality, location services, data caching, local content distribution, etc.

How MEC and 5G are Changing Different Industries

At the heart of multi-access edge computing are wireless and radio access network technologies that open up different networks to a wide range of innovative services. Today, 5G technology is the ultimate network that supports ultra-reliable low latency communication. It also provides an enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) capability for use cases involving significant data rates such as virtual reality and augmented reality.

That said, 5G use cases can be categorized into three domains, massive IoT, mission-critical IoT, and enhanced mobile broadband. Each of the three categories requires different network features regarding security, mobility, bandwidth, policy control, latency, and reliability.

Why MEC Adoption Is on the Rise

5G MEC adoption is growing exponentially, and there are several reasons why this is the case. One reason is that this technology aligns with the distributed and scalable nature of the cloud, making it a key driver of technical transformation. Similarly, MEC technology is a critical business transformation change agent that offers the opportunity to improve service delivery and even support new market verticals.

Among the top use cases driving the high level of 5G, MEC implementation includes video content delivery, the emergence of smart cities, smart utilities (e.g., water and power grids), and connected cars. This also showcases the significant role MEC plays in different IoT domains. Here’s a quick overview of the primary use cases:

  • Autonomous vehicles – 5G MEC can help enhance operational functions such as continuous sensing and real-time traffic monitoring. This reduces latency issues and increases bandwidth.
  • Smart homes – MEC technology can process data locally, boosting privacy and security. It also reduces communication latency and allows for fast mobility and relocation.
  • AR/VR – Moving computational capabilities and processes to edge amplifies the immersive experience to users, plus it extends the battery-life of AR/VR devices.
  • Smart energy – MEC resolves traffic congestion issues and delays due to huge data generation and intermittent connectivity. It also reduces cyber-attacks by enforcing security mechanisms closer to the edge.
MEC Adoption
MEC Adoption

Getting Started With 5G MEC

One of the key benefits of adopting 5G MEC technology is openness, particularly API openness and the option to integrate third-party apps. Standards compliance and application agility are the other value propositions of multi-access edge computing. Therefore, enterprises looking to benefit from a flexible and open cloud should base their integration on the key competencies they want to achieve.

One of the challenges common during the integration process is hardware platforms’ limitations, as far as scale and openness are concerned. Similarly, deploying 5G MEC technology is costly, especially for small-scale businesses with limited financial backing. Other implementation issues include ecosystem and standards immaturity, software limitations, culture, and technical skillset challenges.

To successfully deploy multi-access edge computing, you need an effective 5G MEC implementation strategy that’s true and tested. You should also consider partnering with an expert IT or edge computing company for professional guidance.

5G MEC Technology: Key Takeaways

Edge-driven transformation is a game-changer in the modern business world, and 5G multi-access edge computing technology is undoubtedly leading the cause. Enterprises that embrace this new technology in their business models benefit from streamlined operations, reduced costs, and enhanced customer experience.

Even then, MEC integration isn’t without its challenges. Companies looking to deploy multi-access edge computing technology should have a solid implementation strategy that aligns with their entire digital transformation agenda to avoid silos.

Article Source: 5G and Multi-Access Edge Computing

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Carrier Neutral vs. Carrier Specific: Which to Choose?

As the need for data storage drives the growth of data centers, colocation facilities are increasingly important to enterprises. A colocation data center brings many advantages to an enterprise data center, such as carriers helping enterprises manage their IT infrastructure that reduces the cost for management. There are two types of hosting carriers: carrier-neutral and carrier-specific. In this article, we will discuss the differentiation of them.

Carrier Neutral and Carrier Specific Data Center: What Are They?

Accompanied by the accelerated growth of the Internet, the exponential growth of data has led to a surge in the number of data centers to meet the needs of companies of all sizes and market segments. Two types of carriers that offer managed services have emerged on the market.

Carrier-neutral data centers allow access and interconnection of multiple different carriers while the carriers can find solutions that meet the specific needs of an enterprise’s business. Carrier-specific data centers, however, are monolithic, supporting only one carrier that controls all access to corporate data. At present, most enterprises choose carrier-neutral data centers to support their business development and avoid some unplanned accidents.

There is an example, in 2021, about 1/3 of the cloud infrastructure in AWS was overwhelmed and down for 9 hours. This not only affected millions of websites, but also countless other devices running on AWS. A week later, AWS was down again for about an hour, bringing down the Playstation network, Zoom, and Salesforce, among others. The third downtime of AWS also impacted Internet giants such as Slack, Asana, Hulu, and Imgur to a certain extent. 3 outages of cloud infrastructure in one month took a beyond measure cost to AWS, which also proved the fragility of cloud dependence.

In the above example, we can know that the management of the data center by the enterprise will affect the business development due to some unplanned accidents, which is a huge loss for the enterprise. To lower the risks caused by using a single carrier, enterprises need to choose a carrier-neutral data center and adjust the system architecture to protect their data center.

Why Should Enterprises Choose Carrier Neutral Data Center?

Carrier-neutral data centers are data centers operated by third-party colocation providers, but these third parties are rarely involved in providing Internet access services. Hence, the existence of carrier-neutral data centers enhances the diversity of market competition and provides enterprises with more beneficial options.

Another colocation advantage of a carrier-neutral data center is the ability to change internet providers as needed, saving the labor cost of physically moving servers elsewhere. We have summarized several main advantages of a carrier-neutral data center as follows.

Why Should Enterprises Choose Carrier Neutral Data Center


A carrier-neutral colocation data center is independent of the network operators and not owned by a single ISP. Out of this advantage, it offers enterprises multiple connectivity options, creating a fully redundant infrastructure. If one of the carriers loses power, the carrier-neutral data center can instantly switch servers to another online carrier. This ensures that the entire infrastructure is running and always online. On the network connection, a cross-connect is used to connect the ISP or telecom company directly to the customer’s sub-server to obtain bandwidth from the source. This can effectively avoid network switching to increase additional delay and ensure network performance.

Options and Flexibility

Flexibility is a key factor and advantage for carrier-neutral data center providers. For one thing, the carrier neutral model can increase or decrease the network transmission capacity through the operation of network transmission. And as the business continues to grow, enterprises need colocation data center providers that can provide scalability and flexibility. For another thing, carrier-neutral facilities can provide additional benefits to their customers, such as offering enterprise DR options, interconnect, and MSP services. Whether your business is large or small, a carrier-neutral data center provider may be the best choice for you.


First, colocation data center solutions can provide a high level of control and scalability, expanding opportunity to storage, which can support business growth and save some expenses. Additionally, it also lowers physical transport costs for enterprises. Second, with all operators in the market competing for the best price and maximum connectivity, a net neutral data center has a cost advantage over a single network facility. What’s more, since freedom of use to any carrier in a carrier-neutral data center, enterprises can choose the best cost-benefit ratio for their needs.


Carrier-neutral data centers also boast reliability. One of the most important aspects of a data center is the ability to have 100% uptime. Carrier-neutral data center providers can provide users with ISP redundancy that a carrier-specific data center cannot. Having multiple ISPs at the same time gives better security for all clients. Even if one carrier fails, another carrier may keep the system running. At the same time, the data center service provider provides 24/7 security including all the details and uses advanced technology to ensure the security of login access at all access points to ensure that customer data is safe. Also, the multi-layered protection of the physical security cabinet ensures the safety of data transmission.


While many enterprises need to determine the best option for their company’s specific business needs, by comparing both carrier-neutral and carrier-specific, choosing a network carrier neutral data center service provider is a better option for today’s cloud-based business customers. Several advantages, such as maximizing total cost, lower network latency, and better network coverage, are of working with a carrier-neutral managed service provider. With no downtime and constant concerns about equipment performance, IT decision-makers for enterprise clients have more time to focus on the more valuable areas that drive continued business growth and success.

Article Source: Carrier Neutral vs. Carrier Specific: Which to Choose?

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Data Center Infrastructure Basics and Management Solutions

Data center infrastructure refers to all the physical components in a data center environment. These physical components play a vital role in the day-to-day operations of a data center. Hence, data center management challenges are an urgent issue that IT departments need to pay attention to. On the one hand, it is to improve the energy efficiency of the data center; on the other hand, it is to know about the operating performance of the data center in real-time ensuring its good working condition and maintaining enterprise development.

Data Center Infrastructure Basics

The standard for data center infrastructure is divided into four tiers, each of which consists of different facilities. They mainly include cabling systems, power facilities, cooling facilities, network infrastructure, storage infrastructure, and computing resources.

There are roughly two types of infrastructure inside a data center: the core components and IT infrastructure. Network infrastructure, storage infrastructure, and computing resources belong to the former, while cooling equipment, power, redundancy, etc. belong to the latter.

Core Components

Network, storage, and computing systems are vital infrastructures for data centers to achieve sharing access to applications and data, providing data centers with shared access to applications and data. Also, they are the core components of data centers.

Network Infrastructure

Datacenter network infrastructure is a combination of network resources, consisting of switches, routers, load balancing, analytics, etc., to facilitate the storage and processing of applications and data. Modern data center networking architectures, through using full-stack networking and security virtualization platforms that support a rich set of data services, can achieve connecting everything from VMs, containers, and bare-metal applications, while enabling centralized management and fine-grained security controls.

Storage Infrastructure

Datacenter storage is a general term for the tools, technologies and processes for designing, implementing, managing and monitoring storage infrastructure and resources in data centers, mainly referring to the equipment and software technologies that implement data and application storage in data center facilities. These include hard drives, tape drives and other forms of internal and external storage and backup management software utilities external storage facilities/solutions.

Computing Resources

A data center meter is a memory and processing power to run applications, usually provided by high-end servers. In the edge computing model, the processing and memory used to run applications on servers may be virtualized, physical, distributed among containers or distributed among remote nodes.

IT Infrastructure

As data centers become critical to enterprise IT operations, it is equally important to keep them running efficiently. When designing data center infrastructure, it is necessary to evaluate its physical environment, including cabling system, power system, cooling system to ensure the security of the physical environment of the data center.

Cabling Systems

The integrated cabling is an important part of data center cable management, supporting the connection, intercommunication and operation of the entire data center network. The system is usually composed of copper cables, optical cables, connectors and wiring equipment. The application of the data center integrated wiring system has the characteristics of high density, high performance, high reliability, fast installation, modularization, future-oriented, and easy application.

Power Systems

Datacenter digital infrastructure requires electricity to operate. Even an interruption of a fraction of a second will result in a significant impact. Hence, power infrastructure is one of the most critical components of a data center. The data center power chain starts at the substation and ends up through building transformers, switches, uninterruptible power supplies, power distribution units, and remote power panels to racks and servers.

Cooling Systems

Data center servers generate a lot of heat while running. Based on this characteristic, cooling is critical to data center operations, aiming to keep systems online. The amount of power each rack can keep cool by itself places a limit on the amount of power a data center can consume. Generally, each rack can allow the data center to operate at an average 5-10 kW cooling density, but some may be higher.

data center

Data Center Infrastructure Management Solutions

Due to the complexity of IT equipment in a data center, the availability, reliability, and maintenance of its components require more attention. Efficient data center operations can be achieved through balanced investments in facilities and accommodating equipment.

Energy Usage Monitoring Equipment

Traditional data centers lack the energy usage monitoring instruments and sensors required to comply with ASHRAE standards and collect measurement data for use in calculating data center PUE. It results in a poor monitoring environment for the power system of the data center. One measure is to install energy monitoring components and systems on power systems to measure data center energy efficiency. Enterprise teams can implement effective strategies by the measure to balance overall energy usage efficiency and effectively monitor the energy usage of all other nodes.

Cooling Facilities Optimization

Independent computer room air conditioning units used in traditional data centers often have separate controls and set points, resulting in excessive operation due to temperature and humidity adjustments. It’s a good way for helping servers to achieve cooling by creating hot-aisle/cold-aisle layouts to maximize the flow of cold air to the equipment intakes and the hot exhaust air from the equipment racks. The creation of hot or cold aisles can eliminate the mixing of hot and cold air by adding partitions or ceilings.

CRAC Efficiency Improvement

Packaged DX air conditioners likely compose the most common type of cooling equipment for smaller data centers. These units are often described as CRAC units. There are, however, there are several ways to improve the energy efficiency of the cooling system employing DX units. Indoor CRAC units are available with a few different heat rejection options.

  • – As with rooftop units, adding evaporative spray can improve the efficiency of air-cooled CRAC units.
  • – A pre-cooling water coil can be added to the CRAC unit upstream of the evaporator coil. When ambient conditions allow the condenser water to be cooled to the extent that it provides direct cooling benefits to the air entering the CRAC unit, the condenser water is diverted to the pre-cooling coil. This will reduce or sometimes eliminate the need for compressor-based cooling for the CRAC unit.


Data center infrastructure management is the combination of IT and operations to manage and optimize the performance of data center infrastructure within an organization. DCIM tools help data center operators monitor, measure, and manage the utilization and energy consumption of data center-related equipment and facility infrastructure components, effectively improving the relationship between data center buildings and their systems.

DCIM enables bridging of information across organizational domains such as data center operations, facilities, and IT to maximize data center utilization. Data center operators create flexible and efficient operations by visualizing real-time temperature and humidity status, equipment status, power consumption, and air conditioning workloads in server rooms.

Preventive Maintenance

In addition to the above management and operation solutions for infrastructure, unplanned maintenance is also an aspect to consider. Unplanned maintenance typically costs 3-9 times more than planned maintenance, primarily due to overtime labor costs, collateral damage, emergency parts, and service calls. IT teams can create a recurring schedule to perform preventive maintenance on the data center. Regularly checking the infrastructure status and repairing and upgrading the required components promptly can keep the internal infrastructure running efficiently, as well as extend the lifespan and overall efficiency of the data center infrastructure.

Article Source: Data Center Infrastructure Basics and Management Solutions

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Why Green Data Center Matters


Green data centers appear in the concept of enterprise construction, due to the continuous growth of new data storage requirements and the steady enhancement of green environmental protection awareness. Newly retained data must be protected, cooled, and transferred efficiently. This means that the huge energy demands of data centers present challenges in terms of cost and sustainability, and enterprises are increasingly concerned about the energy demands of their data centers. It can be seen that sustainable and renewable energy resources have become the development trend of green data centers.

Green Data Center Is a Trend

A green data center is a facility similar to a regular data center that hosts servers to store, manage, and disseminate data. It is designed to minimize environmental impact by providing maximum energy efficiency. Green data centers have the same characteristics as typical data centers, but the internal system settings and technologies can effectively reduce energy consumption and carbon footprints for enterprises.

The internal construction of a green data center requires the support of a series of services, such as cloud services, cable TV services, Internet services, colocation services, and data protection security services. Of course, many enterprises or carriers have equipped their data centers with cloud services. Some enterprises may also need to rely on other carriers to provide Internet and related services.

According to market trends, the global green data center market is worth around $59.32 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.5% in the future to 2026. It also shows that the transition to renewable energy sources is accelerating because of the growth of green data centers.

As the growing demand for data storage drives the modernization of data centers, it also places higher demands on power and cooling systems. On the one hand, data centers need to convert non-renewable energy into electricity to generate electricity, resulting in rising electricity costs; on the other hand, some enterprises need to complete the construction of cooling facilities and server cleaning through a lot of water, all of which are ample opportunities for the green data center market. For example, Facebook and Amazon continue to expand their businesses, which has also increased the need for data storage of global companies. These enterprises need a lot of data to complete the analysis of potential customers, but these data processing needs will require a lot of energy. Therefore, the realization of green data centers has become an urgent need for enterprises to solve these problems, and this can also bring more other benefits to enterprises.

Green Data Center Benefits

The green data center concept has grown rapidly in the process of enterprise data center development. Many businesses prefer alternative energy solutions for their data centers, which can bring many benefits to the business. The benefits of green data centers are as follows.

Energy Saving

Green data centers are designed not only to conserve energy, but also to reduce the need for expensive infrastructure to handle cooling and power needs. Sustainable or renewable energy is an abundant and reliable source of energy that can significantly reduce power usage efficiency (PUE). The reduction of PUE enables enterprises to use electricity more efficiently. Green data centers can also use colocation services to decrease server usage, lower water consumption, and reduce the cost of corporate cooling systems.

Cost Reduction

Green data centers use renewable energy to reduce power consumption and business costs through the latest technologies. Shutting down servers that are being upgraded or managed can also help reduce energy consumption at the facility and control operating costs.

Environmental Sustainability

Green data centers can reduce the environmental impact of computing hardware, thereby creating data center sustainability. The ever-increasing technological development requires the use of new equipment and technologies in modern data centers, and the power consumption of these new server devices and virtualization technologies reduces energy consumption, which is environmentally sustainable and brings economic benefits to data center operators.

green data center

Enterprise Social Image Enhancement

Today, users are increasingly interested in solving environmental problems. Green data center services help businesses resolve these issues quickly without compromising performance. Many customers already see responsible business conduct as a value proposition. Enterprises, by meeting compliance, regulatory requirements and regulations of the corresponding regions through the construction of green data centers, improve the image of their own social status.

Reasonable Use of Resources

In an environmentally friendly way, green data centers can allow enterprises to make better use of various resources such as electricity, physical space, and heat, integrating the internal facilities of the data center. It promotes the efficient operation of the data center while achieving rational utilization of resources.

5 Ways to Create a Green Data Center

After talking about the benefits of a green data center, then how to build a green data center. Here are a series of green data center solutions.

  • Virtualization extension: Enterprises can build a virtualized computer system with the help of virtualization technology, and run multiple applications and operating systems through fewer servers, thereby realizing the construction of green data centers.
  • Renewable energy utilization: Enterprises can opt for solar panels, wind turbines or hydroelectric plants that can generate energy to power backup generators without any harm to the environment.
  • Enter eco mode: Using an Alternating current USPs is one way to switch eco mode. This setup can significantly improve data center efficiency and PUE. Alternatively, enterprises can reuse equipment, which not only saves money, but also eliminates unnecessary emissions from seeping into the atmosphere.
  • Optimized cooling: Data center infrastructure managers can introduce simple and implementable cooling solutions, such as deploying hot aisle/cold aisle configurations. Data centers can further accelerate cooling output by investing in air handlers and coolers, and installing economizers that draw outside air from the natural environment to build green data center cooling systems.
  • DCIM and BMS systems: DCIM software and BMS software can help data centers managers identify and document ways to use more efficient energy, helping data centers become more efficient and achieve sustainability goals.


Data center sustainability means reducing energy/water consumption and carbon emissions to offset increased computing and mobile device usage to keep business running smoothly. The development of green data centers has become an imperative development trend, and it also caters to the green goals of global environmental protection. As a beneficiary, enterprises can not only save operating costs, but also effectively reduce energy consumption. This is also an important reason for the construction of green data centers.

Article Source: Why Green Data Center Matters

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What Is InfiniBand and InfiniBand Switch?

In 1999, with the rapid development of CPU performance, the existing defective I/O systems had become a bottleneck restricting server performance. The telecommunication industry had urgent need for a powerful next generation I/O standard and technology to cater for the high speed communication network. Under this circumstance InfiniBand originated. Accordingly InfiniBand switch combined high-speed fiber switch with InfiniBand technology was invented to achieve node to node communication in IB networking. This post will introduce what is InfiniBand, what is InfiniBand switch and how to bridge InfiniBand to Ethernet.

What Is InfiniBand?

It was until 2005 that InfiniBand Architecture (IBA) has been widely used in clustered supercomputers. And ever since more and more telecom. giants are joining to the camp. Now InfiniBand has become one of the mainstream high performance computer (HPC) interconnect technologies in HPC, enterprise data centers and cloud computing environments. InfiniBand, infinite bandwidth, as the name reveals, is a high-performance computing networking communication standard. It features high throughput, low latency and high system scalability. InfiniBand as a cutting-edge technology, is ideal for communications between servers, server and storage, server and LAN/WAN/Internet. InfiniBand architecture is to use this technology to achieve multiple link networking for data follow between processors and I/O devices with non-blocking bandwidth.

InfiniBand topology HPC cluster an InfiniBand switch is integrated in each of the chassis

Figure 1: InfiniBand topology HPC cluster – an InfiniBand switch is integrated in each of the classis.

What Is InfiniBand Switch?

InfiniBand switch is also called as IB switch. Similar to PoE switch, SDN switch and NVGRE/VXLAN switch, IB switch is to add InfiniBand capability to network switch hardware. In the market Mellanox InfiniBand switch, Intel and Oracle InfiniteBand switch are three name-brand leading IB switches. InfiniBand switch price also varies from vendors and switch configurations. IB switch ports comes with different numbers, connector types and IB types. For instance, the leading IB switch vendor Mellanox manufactures 8 to 648-port QSFP/QSFP28 FDR/EDR InfiniBand switches. In a common 4 × links, FDR and EDR InfiniBand support respectively 56Gb/s and 100Gb/s. In addition to the popular FDR 56Gb/s and EDR 100Gb/s IinfiniBand, you can go for HDR 200G switch for higher speed and SDR 10GbE switch for lower speed. Other IB types available are DDR 20G, QDR 40G and FDR10 40G.

InfiniBand switch in a basic InfiniBand Architecture

Figure 2: InfiniBand switches in a basic InfiniBand Architecture by Mellanox to ensure higher bandwidth, lower latency, and enhanced scalability.

How to Bridge InfiniBand to Ethernet?

As Ethernet and InfiniBand are two different network standards, one question is of great concern – how to bridge InfiniBand to Ethernet? In fact many modern InfiniBand switches have built-in Ethernet ports and Ethernet gateway to improve network environment adaptability. But for cases where IB ports are only on InfiniBand switch, how to connect the layer 2 InfiniBand host to layer 1 multiple gigabit Etherne switches? You may need NICs such as Infiniband card/Ethernet converged network adapters (CNAs) to bridge the InfinBand over Ethernet.

Ethernet gateway Bridge-group bridges InfiniBand switch to Ethernet

Figure 3: An illustration of Ethernet gateway Bridge-group bridges InfiniBand to Ethernet by Cisco.

Or you can buy Mellanox InfiniBand switch series based on ConnectX series network card and SwitchX switch, which supports virtual protocol interconnection (VPI) between InfiniBand and Ethernet. As thus it enables link protocol display or automatic adaptation and one physical Mellanox IB switch can implement various technical supports. The VPI supports 3 modes – the whole machine VPI, port VPI and VPI bridging. The whole VPI enables all ports of the InfiniBand switch run in InfiniBand or Ethernet mode. The port VPI commands some ports of the switch run in IB network and some ports run in Ethernet mode. The VPI bridging mode implements InfiniBand bridging to Ethernet.


InfiniBnad technology simplifies and accelerates link aggreagation between servers and supports server connectivity to remote storage and network devices. InfiniBand switch combines IB technology with fiber switch hardware. It achieves high capacity, low latency and excellent scalability for HPC, enterprise data centers and cloud computing environments. How to bridge InfiniBand to Ethernet in a topology built with InfiniBand switch and Ethernet switch? Devices like channel adapter (CNA), InfiniBand router/Ethernet gateway, InfiniBand connector and InfiniBand cable may be required. To ensure flexible bridging, go for IB switch with optional Ethernet ports or Mellanox InfiniBand switch series with VPI functionality. Of course such InfiniBand switch price can be rather exorbitant, but its advanced features make it worthy of that.

NVGRE vs VXLAN: What’s the Difference?

What is network virtualization? Network virtualization is a software-defined networking process to combine hardware and software into a single virtual network. Over the years, network virtualization has always been upgrading as different virtual network technologies have popping out. It has a transitional period from dummy virtualization networking to more advanced one like virtual VLAN. Then the appearance of two tunneling protocols – NVGRE and VXLAN have brought in new network virtualization technologies. Software-defined networking (SDN) NVGRE vs VXLAN: What’s the difference? This post will introduce SDN NVGRE vs VXLAN definition, NVGRE/VXLAN network switch features and the difference between NVGRE and VXLAN.

NVGRE vs VXLAN What's the Difference


NVGRE (Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation) and VXLAN (Virtual Extensive Local Area Network) are two different tunneling protocols for network virtualization technology. They don’t provide substantial functionality but define how various virtual devices like network switches encapsulate and forward packets. However many times people mention software-defined NVGRE/VXLAN as network virtualization technologies. Both NVGRE and Virtual Extensive LAN encapsulate layer 2 protocols with layer 3 protocols, which solve the scalability problem of large cloud computing and enable layer 2 packets exchange across IP networks.

NVGRE vs VXLAN: What’s the difference?

  • NVGRE is mainly supported by Microsoft whereas VXLAN is introduced by Cisco. The two tech giants are scrambling to make their standards become the unified standard in the industry.
  • Both technologies change the situation of fixed VLAN size – 4096 virtual networks while creating up to 16 million virtual networks. However, VXLAN vs NVGRE deployment method and header format are quite different. VXLAN uses the standard tunneling protocol UDP to generate a 24-bit ID segment on the VXLAN header. Instead, NVGRE employs GRE (Generic Routing Encapsulation) to tunnel layer 2 packets over layer 3 networks. NVGRE header format is lower 24 bits GRE header, which can also support 16 million virtual networks.
  • VXLAN can guarantee load balancing and reserve the data packet order between different virtual machines (VMs). However, as NVGRE needs to provide a flow to describe the bandwidth utilization granularity, the tunneling network must use GRE header. This causes NVGRE incompatible with traditional load balancing. To solve this problem, NVGRE host requires multiple IP addresses to ensure balanced traffic load.

NVGRE vs VXLAN: NVGRE/VXLAN Enabled Network Switch

As Power over Ethernet technology booming, PoE enabled switch such as gigabit PoE switch had been invented to add PoE to networks. Similarly, software-based technologies like LACP, SND, NVGRE and VXLAN have also penetrated to hardware devices. For example, NVGRE/VXLAN enabled data switch owns NVGRE/VXLAN capability to expand VLAN size compared. Such NVGRE or VXLAN enabled switches come with different capacity ranging from 1G to 100G in the market.

FS recommends S and N series high-end L2/L3 switches. Say S5850-48T4Q 48 port 10Gb Ethernet switch with 4 40G QSFP+ ports and N5850-48S6Q 48 port 10Gb SFP+ Top-of-Rack (ToR)/ Leaf switch with 6 40G QSFP+ ports. Both of the 10GbE switches support NVGRE and VXLAN to support over 16M virtual networks.

S5850-48T4Q high performance Ethernet copper switch supports advanced features like VxLAN, IPv4/IPv6, MLAG, NVGRE, best fit for enterprise/data center/Metro ToR access requiring complete software with comprehensive protocols and applications deployment. N5850-48S6Q fiber switch supports advanced features including MLAG, VXLAN/NVGRE, SFLOW, SNMP, MPLS etc, ideal for fully virtualized data center. Besides, the optional ONIE type of this model supports any ONIE-enabled software to be installed in the open switch, natural fit for open network installation network.

S5850-48T4Q NVGRE vs VXLAN 10Gb switch with 4 40G QSFP+

Figure 1: FS provides various NVGRE vs VXLAN capable network switches ranging from 1G to 100G.


VXLAN and NVGRE are advanced network virtualization implement tunneling protocols/technologies compared with VLAN. They expand virtual networks size from 4096 up to 16 million and allow layer 2 packets to transmit across IP fabric such as layer 3 networks. NVGRE vs VXLAN differences lie in supported tech giants, tunneling method, header format and load balancing compatibility. Adding NVGRE and VXLAN capability to network switch overcomes VLAN scalability limits in large cloud computing and enables an agile VM networking environment.

Layer 2, Layer 3 & Layer 4 Switch: What’s the Difference?

Network switches are always seen in data centers for data transmission. Many technical terms are used with the switches. Have you ever noticed that they are often described as Layer 2, Layer 3 or even Layer 4 switch? What are the differences among these technologies? Which layer is better for deployment? Let’s explore the answers through this post.

What Does “Layer” Mean?

In the context of computer networking and communication protocols, the term “layer” is commonly associated with the OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model, which is a conceptual framework that standardizes the functions of a telecommunication or computing system into seven abstraction layers. Each layer in the OSI model represents a specific set of tasks and functionalities, and these layers work together to facilitate communication between devices on a network.

The OSI model is divided into seven layers, each responsible for a specific aspect of network communication. These layers, from the lowest to the highest, are the Physical layer, Data Link layer, Network layer, Transport layer, Session layer, Presentation layer, and Application layer. The layering concept helps in designing and understanding complex network architectures by breaking down the communication process into manageable and modular components.

In practical terms, the “layer” concept can be seen in various networking devices and protocols. For instance, when discussing switches or routers, the terms Layer 2, Layer 3, or Layer 4 refer to the specific layer of the OSI model at which these devices operate. Layer 2 devices operate at the Data Link layer, dealing with MAC addresses, while Layer 3 devices operate at the Network layer, handling IP addresses and routing. Therefore, switches working on different layers of OSI model are described as Lay 2, Layer 3 or Layer 4 switches.

OSI model

Switch Layers

Layer 2 Switching

Layer 2 is also known as the data link layer. It is the second layer of OSI model. This layer transfers data between adjacent network nodes in a WAN or between nodes on the same LAN segment. It is a way to transfer data between network entities and detect or correct errors happened in the physical layer. Layer 2 switching uses the local and permanent MAC (Media Access Control) address to send data around a local area on a switch.

layer 2 switching

Layer 3 Switching

Layer 3 is the network layer in the OSI model for computer networking. Layer 3 switches are the fast routers for Layer 3 forwarding in hardware. It provides the approach to transfer variable-length data sequences from a source to a destination host through one or more networks. Layer 3 switching uses the IP (Internet Protocol) address to send information between extensive networks. IP address shows the virtual address in the physical world which resembles the means that your mailing address tells a mail carrier how to find you.

layer 3 switching

Layer 4 Switching

As the middle layer of OSI model, Layer 4 is the transport layer. This layer provides several services including connection-oriented data stream support, reliability, flow control, and multiplexing. Layer 4 uses the protocol of TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and UDP (User Datagram Protocol) which include the port number information in the header to identify the application of the packet. It is especially useful for dealing with network traffic since many applications adopt designated ports.

layer 4 switching

Which Layer to Use?

The decision to use Layer 2, Layer 3, or Layer 4 switches depends on the specific requirements and characteristics of your network. Each type of switch operates at a different layer of the OSI model, offering distinct functionalities:

Layer 2 Switches:

Use Case: Layer 2 switches are appropriate for smaller networks or local segments where the primary concern is local connectivity within the same broadcast domain.

Example Scenario: In a small office or department with a single subnet, where devices need to communicate within the same local network, a Layer 2 switch is suitable.

Layer 3 Switches:

Use Case: Layer 3 switches are suitable for larger networks that require routing between different subnets or VLANs.

Example Scenario: In an enterprise environment with multiple departments or segments that need to communicate with each other, a Layer 3 switch facilitates routing between subnets.

Layer 4 Switches:

Use Case: Layer 4 switches are used when more advanced traffic management and control based on application-level information, such as port numbers, are necessary.

Example Scenario: In a data center where optimizing the flow of data, load balancing, and directing traffic based on specific applications (e.g., HTTP or HTTPS) are crucial, Layer 4 switches can be beneficial.

Considerations for Choosing:

  • Network Size: For smaller networks with limited routing needs, Layer 2 switches may suffice. Larger networks with multiple subnets benefit from the routing capabilities of Layer 3 switches.
  • Routing Requirements: If your network requires inter-VLAN communication or routing between different IP subnets, a Layer 3 switch is necessary.
  • Traffic Management: If your network demands granular control over traffic based on specific applications, Layer 4 switches provide additional capabilities.

In many scenarios, a combination of these switches may be used in a network, depending on the specific requirements of different segments. It’s common to have Layer 2 switches in access layers, Layer 3 switches in distribution or core layers for routing, and Layer 4 switches for specific applications or services that require advanced traffic management. Ultimately, the choice depends on the complexity, size, and specific needs of your network environment.


With the development of technologies, the intelligence of switches is continuously progressing on different layers of the network. The mix application of different layer switches (Layer 2, Layer 3 and Layer 4 switch) is a more cost-effective solution for big data centers. Understanding these switching layers can help you make better decisions.

Related Article:

Layer 2 vs Layer 3 Switch: Which One Do You Need? | FS Community