Author Archives: Camilla.Zhang

How to Install a Rack Mount Patch Panel?

When looking at the title, especially the words “Rack Mount Patch Panel”, will you hesitate for a moment? Yes, I do. I am thinking what the blood tie does it have with a patch panel and whether it needs to be installed differently. Taking this chance, we will have an exploration for these doubts.

What is a Rack Mount Patch Panel?

It’s easy for us to understand what is a rack mount patch panel. Firstly, you need to bear in mind it’s definitely a patch panel. Sharing the same blood with a patch panel, patch panel rack version is also a mounted hardware assembly containing ports to connect and manage the incoming and outgoing fiber or copper cables. Then, you need to differentiate the rack mount patch panel with wall mount patch panel, the other type of patch panel. When a patch panel associated with the rack mount, it refers specially to a kind of patch panel connecting with racks or rack mount enclosures in a typical data center network.

Rack Mount Patch Panel Cabling

Figure 1:Rack Mount Patch Panel Cabling

Types of Rack Mount Patch Panel

Basically, the rack mount patch panel consists of fiber optic patch panel and copper patch panel used for different applications.

For a rack mount fiber optic patch panel, it is mostly designed for the standard 19-inch rack. Depending on the number of connections required, it is often available in 1U, 2U, 4U configurations with flat or angled design. Typically, the rack mount fiber patch panel has four empty slots where LC/SC fiber adapter panels or cassettes can be installed prior to or during deployment. All in all, according to the space and requirements of your project, there will always be an optical fiber panel suiting for you.

The other type is the copper patch panel. The copper patch panel can be inserted with both shielded or unshielded copper cables like cat5e, cat6, cat6a, and cat7. Among all these types, the cat6 patch panel is the most favored one used for the Gigabit Ethernet high-density cabling. In addition, all these types of rack mount copper panels are available in 24 ports and 48 ports in the market.

24 Ports 1U Rack Mount Fiber Optic Patch Panel (Left) and 24 Ports 1U Shielded Cat6 Rack Mount Patch Panel (Right)

Figure 2: 24 Ports 1U Rack Mount Fiber Optic Patch Panel (Left) and 24 Ports 1U Shielded Cat6 Rack Mount Patch Panel (Right)

Steps of Installing Patch Panel in Rack

Clearing about the rack mount patch panel is just a warming-up step for a better installation. Generally, there are three main steps for users to install a blank rack mount patch panel. If a pre-loaded rack mount is held, you can directly start from the second installation step.

Preparation

Before installation, the user should evaluate how many rack units are going to be used. Then you can decide the number and the size of the patch panel. After that, you need to choose the jacks that you are going to use. Then you can install the jacks into the patch panels.

Installation

First, you can hold the drawer of patch panel at the height of the layer of the rack you need to set and push it forwardly. Then you need to use the appropriate machine screws to attach the patch panel assembly to the rack.

Installing Rack Mount Patch Panel

Figure 3: Installing Rack Mount Patch Panel

Second, insert cables into the matching port one by one. After that, you can use a strap to secure the cables. Typically, for fiber optical cables, we would prefer to use a Velcro cable tie to strap; while copper cables, we would use Nylon cable tie.

Third, if there is a need, you can write specific information on labels for identification.

Validation

Finishing the second step, you still need to make a visual inspection to ensure the safety of all the network environment. After following all these three steps, the installation can be finished.

Conclusion

Rack mount patch panel is the most popular solution to manage cables in dater center network. Especially, there are plenty of types of rack mount patch panel for choosing, which have been proved to be a kind of future-proof management. It’s practical and wise for us to learn how to use it.

How to Install a Keystone Patch Panel?

In this article, we will focus on the installation of keystone patch panel. Previously, we have introduced many solutions for cable management, such as horizontal/vertical organizers, patch panels, rack mounted enclosures, etc. In this post, we will take the keystone patch panel as a case to illustrate how to install it.

An Overview of Keystone Patch Panel

Before the installation, let’s have an overview of the keystone panel. This is also regarded as the preparation stage, which has a great impact on your following installation.

What is Keystone Patch Panel?

Keystone patch panel, also called blank patch panel or unloaded patch panel, is a kind of Ethernet patch panel. Unlike the pre-loaded patch panel, the keystone panel is not configured with built-in RJ45 ports. To set keystone jacks such as Cat5e and Cat6, the keystone panel is often available in two types: 24-port patch panel and 48-port patch panel.

48 Ports 1U Blank Keystone Patch Panel (Left) and 48 Ports 1U Blank Keystone Patch Panel (Right)

Figure 1: 48 Ports 1U Blank Keystone Patch Panel (Left) and 48 Ports 1U Blank Keystone Patch Panel (Right)

Types of Keystone Patch Panel

With different standards, such as ports and keystone jacks, the keystone panel can be classified variously.

According to ports, there are 24-port keystone patch panel and 48 ports panel version. Usually, the 24-port patch panel version is an unshielded/shielded Ethernet patch panel in a compact 1U with STP/UTP. It can accommodate all keystone jacks, including RJ45 Ethernet, HDMI audio/video, voice and USB applications. While the 48 ports panel version can be used as 1U rack-mount unshielded multimedia blank patch panel, also compatible with all keystone jacks.

Classified by keystone jacks, we can also get different types. When the keystone panel is inserted with jacks, we also call the panel as keystone jack panel. Among all kinds of RJ45 keystone jacks, Cat5e and Cat6 keystone jacks are used frequently.

48 Ports Blank Keystone Patch Panel Cabling

Figure 2: 48 Ports Blank Keystone Patch Panel Cabling

Installation Guide

After the preparation step, it’s time for us to move to the installation stage.

First, proper RJ45 jacks should be chosen. As we mentioned before, unlike pre-loaded or fixed patch panels, keystone patch panels have no built-in ports. Therefore, you need to decide the type and quantity of the jack at first.

Second, insert the RJ45 jacks. After choosing the proper RJ45 jack, it’s time for you inlaying the jacks into the slots of keystone  panels, from the rear panel to the front.

Third, install the equipped Ethernet patch panel into a 1U rack with the help of screws and screwdriver.

Fourth, plug cables that you have chosen into corresponding jacks you have inserted into the keystone patch panel.

Fifth, manage cables with the help of cable management accessories such as cable managers, lacing bars and cable ties.

If you are still unclear about the installing process, you can refer to the following video made by FS: Blank Keystone Patch Panel for Cat5e/Cat6 Ethernet Cabling.

Conclusion

Keystone patch panel just likes a joker for its easy matching. It can be customized for users’ cabling requirements. Moreover, installation is also easy to catch. In any case, the keystone panel is a wise choice for anyone requiring easy and direct access for Ethernet cabling.

Horizontal Cable Management VS Vertical Cable Management: Which to Choose?

Efficient cable management has been an indispensable aid for the cable organization, no matter it is vertical cable management or horizontal cable management. Owing to the more and more complicated network, a well-managed cabling has been a pressing job for most network installers and IT technicians. Therefore, a proper cable management means a lot to them. However, faced with two frequently used options, what on earth should they choose: vertical cable management or horizontal cable management

Vertical Cable Management Basics

Conventionally, the vertical cable management refers to a solution to secure, bundle and route the cables at both sides of the racks, cabinets, or enclosures. In this management, cable managers can provide a vertical pathway for large numbers of cables from switches to patch panels in the rack system. These vertical cable managers are generally designed in height sizes up to 48U and width size up to 10 inches. The 3” and 5” are the most prevalent width sizes. In addition, the vertical cable managers are often made of metal and plastic. With a range of types of vertical cable management, the most popular vertical cable managers are 5U plastic vertical cable manager with bend radius finger, single D-ring vertical cable manager, and 45U 4.9″ wide plastic vertical cable manager. You can refer to the Figure 1 for these three types as below.

Vertical Cable Managers

Figure 1: Vertical Cable Managers

Horizontal Cable Management Basics

In a horizontal cable management, it allows cable managers, placed in front of cabinets or racks, to manage all sorts of cables, like fiber, coax, patch cables, etc. In that way, cables can be well-organized and protected. It is typically one or two rack units high, or even higher if necessary. In the market, the horizontal cable management 1u version is easily found. Altogether, there are three common types of horizontal cable manager: horizontal cable managers with D-Ring, finger duct, or Brush Strip. You can refer to the Figure 2 as below.

1U Horizontal Cable Managers

Figure 2: 1U Horizontal Cable Managers

A Comparison of Strengths

As a buyer, if you want to choose a proper cable management, it’s a must to know their advantages and benefits of each type. Actually, for cable management, no matter a vertical or horizontal way, they both share similar features. For example, they both greatly improve network performance by enhancing airflow and cooling efficiency and protecting cables from potential damages and dust, like improper bends, movement or sharp edges. Moreover, a neat management will also add aesthetic value to the working place. Besides, the two management ways also bear with their unique traits.

Advantages of Vertical Cable Management

By reducing signal interference, the vertical cable management can greatly enhance the network performance. In a vertical cable management, it separates power with data cables within the racks, which greatly lower the chance for crosstalk and interference between them.

Additionally, cost reduction will also be the unique trait for vertical cable management. Vertical rack cable management with bend radius fingers is used with angled patch panel directly. In that way, the use of horizontal cable management panels can be reduced, which is a good way to save cost.

Advantages of Horizontal Cable Management

First, downtime minimized. Using a horizontal cable manager, cables can be settled in an ordered way instead of being tangled with each other. Especially, when something goes wrong, this will make technicians more easily to identify and access where goes wrong and fix it in far less time.

Second, growth promoted. By using horizontal cable managers, consolidating devices within racks or adding additional racks without messing up cables will no longer be a tricky task for IT technicians. Since cables are able to be identified easily, tracing what goes where in a move can be much easier at the time when you add new ports and cables. For your better understanding, you can refer to this 1u cable management device at below.

1U Horizontal Cable Management Panel with Finger Duct

Figure 3: 1U Horizontal Cable Management Panel with Finger Duct

Buyers’ Guide

Just as the saying, the information makes winners. If you want to be a winner in cable organizing, there are mainly three steps you can follow. First, you need to have a proper planning before installations. Decide the number of cables and connections needed, and where the cables should be routed within the rack. Then you need to have a command of industry standards such as ANSI/TIA and ISO/IEC, as well as any federal, state or local regulations regarding cabling. According to that, you can start to choose your cable organizers. In fact, it’s hard to conclude which type is best when considering their similarities and peculiarities. It depends on actual conditions of your network, such as installing space, cable numbers, and sizes of your rack, etc. Sometimes, you may even find that a combination between vertical cable management and horizontal cable management suits you best.

Cisco SFP+ Module Wiki and Buying Tips

When it comes to optical modules, the brand Cisco especially their Cisco SFP+ modules will be mentioned by almost everyone in optic fiber field. As one of the worldwide leaders in IT and networking, Cisco has dedicated to networking equipment design and manufacture for several decades. Among their all sorts of product lines, SFP+ modules have enjoyed a widespread reputation. In the context of that, in this article, we are going to make an overall exploration of the Cisco’s superstar product: Cisco SFP+ module.

Cisco compatible10G SFP+ modules

Figure 1: Cisco compatible 10G SFP+ modules

An Overview of the Cisco SFP+ Module

Like the general SFP+ transceivers, Cisco SFP+ modules are kinds of optical devices designed for 8 Gbit/s Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet and optical transport network standard OTU2, supporting data rates up to 16 Gbit/s.

Main Features

Main features of Cisco SFP+ modules can be shared as below:

  • Industry’s smallest 10G form factor for greatest density per chassis
  • Hot-swappable input/output devices that plug into an Ethernet SFP+ port of a Cisco switch (no need to power down if installing or replacing)
  • Supports “pay-as-you-populate” model for investment protection and ease of technology migration
  • Optical interoperability with 10GBASE XENPAK, 10GBASE X2, and 10GBASE XFP interfaces on the same link
  • Hot-swappable input/output devices that plug into an Ethernet SFP+ port of a Cisco switch (no need to power down if installing or replacing)
  • Cisco quality identification (ID) feature enables a Cisco platform to identify whether the module is certified and tested by Cisco
Cisco SFP+ Module Types

With various Cisco SFP+ module types, a wide variety of 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity options for diverse networking environments, like data centers, enterprise wiring closet, and service provider transport applications can be offered. Altogether, Cisco SFP+ modules consist of Cisco SFP-10G-SR, SFP-10G-LR (LRM), SFP-10G-ER and SFP-10G-ZR, etc. You can refer to the table displayed as below for detailed specifications of Cisco SFP+ modules.

Cisco SFP+
Wavelength (nm)
Interface
Cable Type
Core Size (Microns)
Cable Distance
Cisco SFP-10G-SR-S

850

Dual LC/PC

MMF

62.5

26 m
Cisco SFP-10G-SR
33 m
Cisco SFP-10G-SR-X
50
66/82/300/400 m
Cisco SFP-10G-LRM

1310

Dual LC/PC

SMF/MMF
G.652/62.5/50
300/100/220 m
Cisco SFP-10G-LR-S

SMF

G.652

10 km

Cisco SFP-10G-LR
Cisco SFP-10G-LR-X
Cisco SFP-10G-ER-S

1550

Dual LC/PC

SMF

G.652

40 km

Cisco SFP-10G-ER
Cisco SFP-10G-ZR-S

80 km

Cisco SFP-10G-ZR
Cisco FET-10G
850
Dual LC/PC
MMF
50
25/100 km
Cisco SFP-10G-BXD-I
1330

Dual LC/PC

SMF

G.652

10 km

Cisco SFP-10G-BXU-I
1270
Cisco SFP-10G-BX40D-I
1330

40 km

Cisco SFP-10G-BX40U-I
1270

How to Choose Cisco SFP+ Modules?

If you want to buy Cisco SFP+ modules, it’s sensible to put their optimum transmission distance and compatibility with other Cisco devices into consideration.

As for the transmission distance, basically, the ranges between 100 m to 400 m and 10 km to 80 km are commonly seen. For the distance from 100 m to 400 m, we usually use Cisco 10G multimode SFP+ transceiver. For example, if you want to buy a Cisco SFP+ module for transmission within 300 m, then the Cisco SFP-10G-SR module will be the best choice. More information about the optimum transmission distance of Cisco SFP+ modules, you can refer to the table above.

Apart from distance, another important thing you should be clear about is the SFP+ module’s compatibility with other Cisco devices. You may wonder if this Cisco SFP+ Module can connect with other devices, such as SFP modules. The answer is NO. For example, If you connect the SFP-10G-SR with Cisco GLC-SX-MMD SFP transceiver (1 Gbps only), they may not be able to work. Since the SFP-10G-SR only runs at 10 Gbps link rate, it means you force SFP-10G-SR to use 1Gbps speed. You can never interconnect them. For more details about the compatibility of Cisco modules, you can search it from their online Compatibility Matrix.

Cisco SFP-10G-SR (Right) and Cisco GLC-SX-MMD SFP (Left)

Figure 2: Cisco SFP-10G-SR (Right) and Cisco GLC-SX-MMD SFP (Left)

By the way, Cisco SFP+ module price sometimes is also troublesome for many buyers. When you search Cisco SFP+ modules online, you will find the price of these modules from original brand retailers is not economical. Therefore, in recent years, using non-original brand retailers optical transceivers in fiber optic network has been a trend. More and more users prefer third-party modules, like FS.COM, pluggable optics as they are assured to be fully compatible with the original brand hardware as well as having a cheap price.

Conclusion

As a leading role in fiber optic network, Cisco SFP+ module has been witnessed a glorious period. But with the unremitting efforts of other manufacturers, undoubtedly, other non-original brand retailers brands will be seen on the rise. For sure, the FS.COM will be that great case.

Top of Rack VS End of Row: Which to Choose for Data Center Network

The topic, top of rack vs end of row, has been under a hot debate when IT technicians talk about data center designs. With the ever-increasing demand for switch-to-server connections in the data center network, the network cabling is required to be more flexible and effective than ever. In that way, a large of installations for greater computing power can be satisfied. Thus, the two commonly deployed designs (top of rack vs end of row) have been put in the spotlight.

Top of Rack (ToR) Design

In a Data Center, there are several racks of servers or storage equipment. Each rack contains multiple computing devices. The top of rack architecture recommends network fiber switches should be placed in every rack to connect with all the computing devices in the rack. In turn, these network switches will be connected to aggregation switches via fiber optic cables.

Top-of-Rack Network Connectivity

Figure 1: Top-of-Rack Network Connectivity

Notably, the top-of-rack switch, like a gigabit Ethernet switch, can be put anywhere in the rack, not just limited at the top. However, when in applications, the engineers prefer to put on the top instead of the middle or bottom of the rack for their easier accessibility and cleaner cable management.

End of Row (EoR) Design

In the end of row design, each server in individual racks is required to connect with a common aggregation switch directly, without connecting to individual switches in each rack. Usually, aggregation switches are placed at either end of the “server row” for the purpose of providing network connectivity to the servers within that row. In light of that, the aggregation switch is also called the end of row switch. With such a design, each server cabinet will have a bundle of twisted pair copper cabling containing as many as 48 (or more) individual cables routed to the end of row switch.

End-of-Row Network Connectivity

Figure 2: End-of-Row Network Connectivity

Just like the top-of-rack switch, the end of row switch may not just be placed at the end of each actual row. Even just a handful of network racks collectively placed in a small row of their own, the end of row switch is still available to provide copper connectivity for more than one row of servers.

Top of Rack vs End of Row

Top of rack vs end of row data center designs are both popular options for data centers and other network arrangements calling for connections with a large number of servers. In fact, it’s hard to decisively say which type is best. Every type shares both advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages

The top of rack switching can relieve the complexity of cabling and increase the efficiency of on-site deployment. For the reason that all the servers in the same server cabinet are connected to the switch, like 10GBE switches in the same rack, only a few cables go outside the rack reaching to the aggregation switch. In thus doing, fewer cables are installed between the server and network racks, which contributes to a reduction of cable cost. Moreover, this design enables easily upgrade from 1GE/ 10GE network to 10GE/ 40GE network in the future with minimum costs and changes to cabling.
In the EoR design, the number of the device is decreased because not every rack needs to be equipped with switches. Undoubtedly, less rack space is required in the architecture. With fewer devices in the data center, requirements for the cooling system will be reduced which also can save the electric power.

Disadvantages

For the ToR, with cables reduced, the number of racks is still increased. The management for switches will be a little bit tricky. In addition, the ToR approach takes up more rack space for the installation of switches.
As for the EoR, with fewer switches used, more cables are needed between racks resulting in the higher possibility of cable mess and higher cost for higher performance cables. Besides, it’s difficult and more expensive to upgrade cabling infrastructure to support higher speed network. Lengthier cables need to be replaced individually while upgrading from 1GE to 10GE, for example.

Conclusion

Top of rack vs end of row data center designs are the common deployments for data center architecture. Considering that each type bears with benefits and limits, you can hardly tell which one is best. Just as the saying, the most suitable, the best.

Rack Enclosure Basics and Buying Guide

Rack enclosure, an effective solution to a tidy rack cable environment, has been a popular choice for IT technicians. Conventionally, being a kind of cable organizer, the rack mount enclosure is widely used in data centers to house, organize, manage and protect fiber optic cables. With such great significance, it’s necessary for us to explore this device.

Rack Enclosure Basics

In the beginning, let’s drive from physical features of the rack mount enclosure, including rack units, accessible types, and loaded items.

Rack Unit of Rack Enclosure

Specifically, the rack enclosure is designed into a 19-inch rack mount. When it comes to application, the rack units of this fiber optic enclosure are available in 1U, 2U, 3U, and 4U in the market. Usually, users may prefer to choose two or more 1U rack mount enclosures instead of buying one rack mount enclosure 2U, 3U or 4U type. For 1U and 2U rack mount enclosures, they are accessible both from front and rear with a drawer sliding forwardly or backwardly; while 3U and 4U rack mount enclosures are featured with a fixed bulkhead design.

 Rack Enclosure Units

Figure 1: Rack Enclosure Units

Accessible Types of Rack Enclosure

Since the rack mount enclosure 1U version is commonly used in organizing server rack, we take 1U rack mount for a case to study this feature. Altogether, there are three types of rack enclosures: cover removable, slide-out, and swing-out fiber enclosures.

Compared with a cover removable type, the slide-out and swing-out fiber enclosures are more favored. Neglecting the fact that the cover removable type is the cheapest one among these three types, the slide-out and swing-out types are more convenient for their pull-out sliding trays. In that way, users don’t have to remove the whole fiber enclosure from the rack to gain internal access.

Accessible Types of Rack Enclosure

Figure 2: Accessible Types of Rack Enclosure

Loaded Items:FAP or MPO/MTP Cassettes

Catering to different requirements for cabling, different accessories are loaded with rack mount enclosures: fiber adapter panels (FAPs) and MPO/MTP cassettes.

A rack enclosure with FAPs can be applied in both pre-terminated and field-terminated cabling environments. Generally, adapter patch panels are available to connect with LC, SC and MPO/MTP fiber cables. According to adapter numbers on FAPs, rack mount enclosures can support up to 96 fibers. In most cases, a 1U rack mount enclosure can support up to 4 FAPs, while a 4U rack mount enclosure can support up to 12 FAPs.

Besides FAPs, rack enclosures can also be loaded with MPO/MTP cassettes, providing secure transitions between MPO/MTP and LC or SC connectors. As a pre-terminated rack mount patch panel, this rack enclosure is designed to achieve interconnections between MTP/MPO backbone and LC/SC patching. When in a 1U rack space, rack mount enclosures loaded with MPO/MTP cassettes can support up to 144 fibers , such as the FS FHX 1U rack mount enclosure of ultra-high density.

Rack Enclosure loaded with FAPs or MPO or MTP Cassettes

Figure 3: Rack Enclosure loaded with FAPs or MPO/MTP Cassette

Buyers’ Guide

Through the above basic introduction of the rack enclosure, we can find it can never be an easy task to select a suitable rack enclosure. There are many factors you need to consider, such as rack units, accessible types, and loaded items. Still, there are other factors needed to be taken into considerations, such as the number of ports you need. And when it comes to the patch panel, you have to figure out whether the fixed or removable front panels are needed. Besides, you still need to think about the way to do fiber termination: splicing or pre-terminated. Last, but not the least, your budget for this purchasing. Obviously, all these factors, mentioned or not in this article, can have an impact on configurations or combinations of rack enclosures, contributing to your final decision. By the way, if you are looking for the detailed guidance of a 1U rack enclosure, you can refer to the article FS 1U Rack Enclosure Types and Selection Guide.

Managed Gigabit Switch Buying Guide

Nowadays, the managed Gigabit switch has been a hot cake in small and medium enterprise networks. In the context of that, it’s necessary for us to catch the trend and learn something about the managed Gigabit switch so that you can buy it more wisely.

What Is Managed Gigabit Switch?

Before we introduce the managed gigabit Ethernet switch, let’s overview the background information of it firstly. Gigabit Ethernet switch, also called network switch, refers to a box-like device connecting together a number of other devices, such as computers, printers, and servers on a Local Area Network (LAN) and utilize the packet switching to forward data to and from those connections.

While a managed switch is a kind of fiber switch offering a more tailored experience to users. It not only offers tools and the means to monitor the network, but also control over LAN traffic. Managed switches are very much like Virtual Private Servers where you’ll be in charge of setting everything up, managing the device and take responsibility for any configurations that cause downtime.

1GE PoE+ Series Managed Switches

Figure 1: 1GE PoE+ Series Managed Switches

How to Choose a Managed Gigabit Switch as Required?

According to different features and standards, such as the managed level and the number of ports, the managed Gigabit switch can be grouped into different types. And users can select the required managed switches based on these features.

Managed Level

Based on different managed levels, the managed Gigabit switch can be grouped into the partially managed (smart) switch and fully managed (enterprise) switch. Smart switches have a limited number of options for configuration. However, comparing with the fully managed switch, it can be a cheap managed gigabit switch for home and office use. While fully managed switches are targeted at servers and enterprises, offering a wide array of tools and features to manage the complicated network better.

Number of Ports

Classified by the number of ports, the managed Gigabit switch has been known in a different way. Typically, there are four types are commonly found in the market: 8-port managed gigabit switch, 16-port managed gigabit switch, 24-port managed gigabit switch, and 48-port managed gigabit switch. These ports may be a combination of SFP or SFP+ slots for fiber connectivity, but more commonly they are copper ports with RJ-45 connectors on the front, allowing for transmission distances up to 100 meters. With fiber SFP modules, the distances can be supported up to 40 kilometers.

8-Port Gigabit PoE+ Managed Switch with 2 SFP

Figure 2: 8-Port Gigabit PoE+ Managed Switch with 2 SFP

Buyers Guide

After we have a basic idea of types of managed Gigabit switches. it’s time to remind you some factors should be taken into consideration when you buy a managed Gigabit switch. Firstly, you should clear about the location you want to install whether just for home, office or enterprise. It decides that whether you need to buy a partially managed switch or a fully managed switch.

Then you should review your network environment and think about the number of users your network supports. In a short, the larger your organization is, the more ports you’ll need. For example, if you are a home user, an 8 or 24 port switch is enough, but a 48 port switch, designed for medium or larger network environment, will be a waste of resource.

24-Port Gigabit PoE+ Managed Switch with 4 SFP

Figure 3: 24-Port Gigabit PoE+ Managed Switch with 4 SFP

Conclusion

Through this idea, we can have a basic mind about the background information of the managed Gigabit switch, such as meaning and types. Moreover, we also offer some tips for people who want to buy it. Hope this article can help you choose a right managed Gigabit switch.

Tips on Buying Fiber Optic Cables

Buying fiber optic cables has been a daily thing in our life. Since the field of fiber optic network is still unfamiliar to most people, not to say the detailed information about the fiber optic cable. In this article, we are going to provide some tips for you to buy fiber optic cables. Before that, let’s go over the background information of the fiber optic cable for your better understanding.

What Is the Fiber Optic Cable

The fiber optic cable refers to a kind of telecommunication cable, containing one or more glass or plastic made optic fibers, usually slightly wider than a human hair. It can carry light to transmit data. Designed for long distance transmission from hundreds of miles to thousands of miles, the fiber optic cable is an ideal choice for networking, telecommunications and storage applications in wiring closets, distribution frames, gateways, central offices and data centers.

Types of Fiber Optic Cables

According to different standards or features, there are different types of fiber optic cables. Basically, based on different transmission modes, the fiber optic cable can be grouped into two types: single mode fiber and multimode fiber.

Single Mode Fiber

The fiber optic cable for this type is a single strand of glass fiber with a diameter of 8.3 to 10 microns, which is narrower than the multimode fiber. Under such a condition, the beam of light is transmitted in a much tighter space with a higher transmission rate. Therefore, it makes the long-distance communication, sometimes as far as between continents more available.

Figure 1: Single Mode Bend Insensitive Fiber Optic Cable

Figure 1: Single Mode Bend Insensitive Fiber Optic Cable

Multimode Fiber

Compared with single mode fibers, the multimode fiber has a larger diameter (62.5µm or 50µm), allowing more space to generate and collect light. Considering about multimode fibers’ transmission performance, it is mostly used for communications over short distances no longer than 2000 m, such as within a building or in a small campus.

 Figure 2: OM1 Multimode Fiber Optic Cable

Figure 2: OM1 Multimode Fiber Optic Cable

Tips on Buying Fiber Optic Cables

After an overview of fiber optic cables, it’s time for us to learn how to buy fiber optic cables. There are some major steps offered to follow with.

Firstly, preparation. For anyone buying fiber optic cables, they need to have a full preparation. On the one hand, you need to know your network environment, such as the required transmission speed, distance etc. On the other hand, you need to have a basic understanding of the features of all kinds of optic cables. As we mentioned above, there are many types of fiber optic cables available in the market not only just based on different transmission modes, for example, according to different connectors, there are LC fiber, SC fiber, etc. Therefore, you need to know which type suits your network environment.

Next, you need to have a budget for buying optic cables in your mind. There are so many fiber optic cable suppliers in the online market, almost every supplier will offer a different fiber optic cable price. After that, you can begin your online searching. When you browse the product, you can make a comparison of the fiber optic cable price per meter among different suppliers. Besides, you have to check the suppliers’ reputation making sure their service and products are reliable.

Last, but not least. Some buyers buying fiber optic cables for their company need to consider more carefully for their complicate requirements. You had better buy your cables from suppliers who are also manufacturers, such as FS.COM, one of the top fiber optic cable manufacturers. Their service will be more mature, reliable and professional, especially for their after-sale service.

Conclusion

Buying fiber optic cable is not so difficult as you have thought. After reading this article, we believe things will be different for you.

Tunable vs Standard DWDM SFP+ Modules

Nowadays, SFP+ modules have been largely applied into use. However, in order to meet people’s demand for greater transmission capacity, the Dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) as a kind of technology, combining multiple data signals on laser beams at various wavelengths and transmitting them over a single optic fiber network is also in urgent need to combine with SFP+ modules. Currently, the tunable DWDM SFP+ modules and the standard DWDM SFP+ are commonly found in the market. In this article, we are going to introduce these two types to you.

What Are the Tunable DWDM SFP+ Modules

At first, let’s go over the SFP+ transceiver definition from SFP+ transceiver wiki. In short, the SFP+ transceiver is the enhanced version of SFP module. It is a compact, hot pluggable optic module transceiver used for telecommunications and data communication applications. (If you want to get more details about how to use SFP+ transceiver, you can refer to the article A Complete Guide of Installing or Removing Transceiver Modules.) There are many types of SFP+ modules, among which the tunable DWDM SFP+ modules is a very important one.

The tunable DWDM SFP+ module can also be called tunable SFP+ transceiver, because it’s only available in DWDM form for its narrower grid than CWDM’s. The tunable DWDM SFP+ module is a unique device which enables you to set the channel or “color” the laser emits. According to the network demand, you can adjust your transmission wavelength unlimitedly within the C-band DWDM ITU Grid.

10G DWDM C-band Tunable SFP+

Figure 1: 10G DWDM C-band Tunable SFP+ Modules

Why Prefer the Tunable DWDM SFP+ Module

Since the standard DWDM SFP+ module is also a popular type in the market, you may still get confused about these two SFP+ types. In fact, the tunable DWDM SFP+ module is more preferred by the user. In the light of that, this part will explore this doubt.

First, the cost will be a major factor. Frankly, in short term, the price of a tunable DWDM SFP+ is much higher than a DWDM SFP+. However, the conventional DWDM SFP+ transceivers use fixed-wavelength lasers as light sources. Hence, for different wavelength channels, you need to use the corresponding optical transceivers to receive and transmit signals. However, a tunable DWDM SFP+ can operate at any channel wavelength for its tunable laser. Moreover, in order to prevent an unexpected breakdown, users have to prepare kinds of DWDM SFP+ modules with different wavelengths for a rainy day. Considering that will be a huge cost for any user, using a tunable DWDM SFP+, things will be quite different. In light of that, from a long term, the tunable DWDM SFP+ will definitely be the best choice to save your cost.

Second, it’s the flexible network management. When a DWDM network runs with lots of nodes, for example, for 80 different wavelengths, their management could be a nightmare. In different locations, you have to prepare couples of DWDM SFP+ optics for each wavelength. Thus tunable DWDM SFP+ would be a good choice. It is configured for a specific wavelength to support bandwidth changes as needed in the optical network.

10G DWDM SFP+ 100GHz

Figure 2: 10G DWDM SFP+ Modules 100GHz

Conclusion

Through this article, the two special types of transceiver modules in combining with the DWDM technology have been introduced: tunable DWDM SFP+ modules and standard DWDM SFP+ modules. After that, based on a comparison of these two types of modules, reasons contributing to people’s preferred choice of tunable DWDM SFP+ modules have also been explored. Hope it has helped to clear your doubt these two types.

Fiber SFP Module VS Fiber Media Converter

Many devices in the optical communication field are sharing similar functions, such as fiber SFP module and fiber media converter. They are designed as the equipment for photoelectric conversion. Some of you may get confused about the two seemingly similar devices. Don’t worry, in this article, we are going to reveal the secret between SFP fiber module and fiber media converter. In the beginning, let’s go over the definitions of them.

What Is the Fiber SFP Module

The SFP (small form-factor pluggable) module, also called mini GBIC (gigabit interface converter), is a compact, hot-pluggable optical transceiver used for both telecommunication and data communication applications. It converts electrical signals to optical signals and vice versa. Usually, the SFP module consists of optical SFP and copper SFP. And the type depends on whether their SFP ports connect with fiber optic cables or copper cables. The fiber SFP module can support SONET, Gigabit Ethernet, Fiber Channel, and other communication standards.

Figure 1: SFP Copper RJ45 100m Transceiver

Figure 1: SFP Copper RJ45 100m Transceiver

What Is Fiber Media Converter?

Similar to the working mode of optical transceivers, the fiber media converter receives data signals from one media and transmits them to another. Conventionally, fiber media converters can support two kinds of conversion: copper-to-fiber and fiber-to-fiber. Copper-to-fiber media converters are devices designed to connect two dissimilar media types, such as the twisted pair with fiber optic cabling. They will be chosen when the transmission distance of two network devices with copper ports need to be extended via fiber optic cabling. When it comes to the fiber-to-fiber conversion, it supports a connectivity not only between multimode fiber and single mode fiber but also a dual fiber link and single fiber using Bi-directional (BIDI) flow. Conversions between different wavelengths can also be achieved by some fiber-to-fiber media converters.

Figure 2: 1*SFP and 2*RJ45 Ports Mini Gigabit Ethernet Media Converter

Figure 2: 1*SFP and 2*RJ45 Ports Mini Gigabit Ethernet Media Converter

Connection: Fiber SFP Module vs Fiber Media Converter

A fiber SFP module has a much smaller size than a fiber media converter. Before catching the connection between fiber SFP modules and fiber media converters, we had better know the media converter’s physical structure in advance. So far, copper-to-fiber media converters cover two types of ports. One is for copper (usually the RJ45 port) and the other is for fiber. As for fiber ports, two kinds can also be found. One is designed to insert fiber optic transceivers (SFP, XFP and etc), and the other to connect fiber optic patch cables (SC, LC and etc). As for fiber-to-fiber media converters, both the input ports and output ports are for fiber link. It can be a fiber optic connector for fiber patch cables or an SFF connector for optical modules. After knowing the media converter’s physical structure, it will be easier for us to grasp how does it coordinate with the SFP fiber module. Therefore, if you want to make an SFP module and a media converter both into use at the same time, you need to choose a fiber media converter with fiber ports for an optical transceiver. That is to say, you can insert you SFP module into one side and connect an RJ45 copper cable with the copper port on the other.

Figure 3: 1SFP+1RJ45 Ports Mini Gigabit Ethernet Media Converter

Figure 3: 1SFP+1RJ45 Ports Mini Gigabit Ethernet Media Converter

Conclusion

To sum up, in this article, we introduce what the fiber SFP module and the media converter are. Then after studying the media converter’s physical structure and how it coordinates with the fiber SFP module, we can understand the connection between the fiber SFP module and the media converter.