Smart Managed Switch Vs. Unmanaged Switch

Network switch, a box-shaped device, plays an important role in a network deployment. To achieve high network performance, a suitable switch is required. There are smart managed switch and unmanaged switch on the market. How much do you know about them? Smart managed switch vs. unmanaged switch, which one should you choose for your network deployment? Keep reading, and you will find the answer.

Smart Switch Vs. Managed Switch

If you look through the official website of several vendors, you may find that some offer smart switch, the others provide managed switch. Smart switch vs. managed switch, what’s the different between them? Smart switch has some features that managed switch has, but are more limited. Besides, smart switch is cheaper than managed switch. So, it’s a cost-effective alternative to managed switch. In fact, “smart switch” and “managed switch” are terms invented by vendors. And the exact meaning may vary from vendor to vendor. To some extent, smart switch and managed switch are virtually the same. In the following part, I combine them as smart managed switch for easy reading.

Smart Managed Switch Vs. Unmanaged Switch

As smart managed switch and unmanaged switch have different features, they are used in different applications.

Smarted Managed Switch

Smart managed switch offers features like QoS (Quality of Service), Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), command line interface (CLI), Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (RSTP), redundancy capability, VLANs, LACP and so on. The greatest advantage of smart managed switch is that you can change the configuration of the switch to satisfy your specific networking needs. Smart managed switch is especially suitable for enterprises that need to manage and troubleshoot their network remotely and securely, allowing network managers to monitor and control the traffic to achieve optimal network performance and reliability. The following figure shows FS S5800-8TF12S smart managed switch which provides high port density with 8-port 1GbE RJ45 and 8-port 1GbE SFP combo and 12-port 10GbE uplink in a compact 1RU form factor.

FS S5800-8TF12S smart managed switchFS S5800-8TF12S smart managed switch

Unmanaged Switch

Unmanaged switch is basic plug-and-play switch with no remote configuration, management, or monitoring options. It allows Ethernet devices to communicate with one another (such as a PC or network printer) by providing a connection to the network and passing on information to where it needs to go. Therefore, unmanaged switch is usually used to extend the number of Ethernet ports. Unmanaged switch can be desktop or rack mounted. It is less expensive than smart managed switch and is suitable for home use, SOHO and small businesses.

Which One to Choose?

From the above content, we can conclude that smart managed switch vs. unmanaged switch, the biggest difference between them is the configuration feature. As for which one to choose, it really depends on your need. If you just want to set up a home network or add more Ethernet ports, unmanaged switch is good enough. If you need configuration options like VLAN and QoS, you will have to use smart managed switch.

Characteristics of 10GBASE-T Technology

The rapid development of telecom technology is driving the increasing need for higher bandwidth in data center. In recent years, 10GBASE-T technology, which uses twisted-pair copper cabling and RJ45 interfaces, has been utilized by many data center managers. When it comes to 10GBASE-T, we firstly think of Ethernet network cable, such as Cat6 UTP cable and Cat6a cable which support 10G speed over 55 meters and 100 meters respectively. They are cheap and easy to run in data center. And this is just one of the most prominent characteristics of 10GBASE-T technology. This article is going to give a detailed introduction to characteristics of 10GBASE-T.

Background of 10GBASE-T

In data center, fiber optics also generally gain popularity because of their high speed and low latency. Many data center managers choose to use a combination of Direct Attach Copper (DAC) cables for short distances (up to 7 meters for Top-of-Rack connections) and fiber optic cabling for longer distances (for End-of-Row connections) to fulfill the migration to 10GbE networks. However, the costs associated with a Top-of-Rack switch and expensive cabling and optics limited the widespread adoption, especially in data centers where 1GbE is already broadly deployed. On the contrary, 10GBASE-T is backward compatible with 1000BASE-T, and it can be deployed in existing infrastructures that are cabled with Cat6 and Cat6a or greater cabling, helping data center managers to keep costs down while offering an easy migration path to 10GbE. Therefore, 10GBASE-T technology is extensively used. From the chart below, we can clearly see the growing trend of 10GBASE-T.

10G fiber optics vs. 10GBASE-T technology

Characteristics of 10GBASE-T

Reach: DAC cables support 10Gbps over very short distances, while 10GBASE-T technology can reach much longer reach with Cat6a cable, up to 100 meters. This makes 10GBASE-T cabling with Cat6a the best universal solution for 10GbE requirements in today’s data centers.

Backward compatibility: 10GBASE-T is backward compatible with 1000BASE-T, so it can work with existing structured cabling system. Unlike SFP+ cabling, a 10GBASE-T connection can auto-negotiate and auto-select the proper port speed when plugged into a GbE port. This gives data center managers much flexibility in cabling system.

Installation: Fiber optic cable is easily damaged, while Cat6 cable and Cat6a cable are easy to manage. Even if you want to DIY your own cable length, you just need bulk Ethernet cable, crimping tools and RJ45 connectors. As RJ45 connectors are compatible with existing 1GbE infrastructure, the installation of Cat6 and Cat6a cable is easy.

Power: When 10GBASE-T standard was released at the beginning, 10GBASE-T PHYs consumed too much power which limited its widespread adoption. With process improvements, both the power and cost of the latest generation of 10GBASE-T PHYs have reduced.

Cost: Fiber optic cable is more expensive than Ethernet network cable, and usually fiber optic cable is used for long transmission distance application. While Cat6 cable and Cat6a cable are low cost, which can provide cost-effective and easy-to-use solution for 10GBASE-T short distance network deployment.

Conclusion

10GbE has been the mainstream of telecom data center right now. The low cost and easy installation of 10GBASE-T makes it widely applied. In addition, 10GBASE-T provides investment protection via backward compatibility with 1GbE networks. On the market, there are not only Cat6 cable and Cat6a cable for 10GBASE-T cabling, but also some other 10GBASE-T products, such as 10GBASE-T switch and 10GBASE-T adapter. These simplifies data center networking deployments by providing an easier path to 10GbE infrastructure. These characteristics of 10GBASE-T will help drive 10GBASE-T to a prominent place in the data center. FS.COM is a reliable manufacturer which provides high quality Cat6 cable and Cat6a cable at customized length. Also, there are 10GBAST-T RJ45 transceivers. For more details, please visit www.fs.com.

Are You Ready For 400G Ethernet?

The rapid development in telecom industry is driving massive demand for higher bandwidth and faster data rate, from 10G to 40G and 100G, will this keep going on? The answer is definitely “Yes”. Some time ago, migration from 10G to 40G or 25G to 100G has been a hot spot among data center managers. While recently, 400G solutions and 400G components are coming. Are you ready for 400G? This article will share some information about 400G Ethernet.

Overview of 400G

In the past couple of years, modules with four 25/28G lanes or wavelengths are the solutions for 100G Ethernet. However, they were expensive at the beginning. Until 2016, the optical components industry has responded to the demands with 100G solutions that already cost less per gigabit than equivalent 10G and 40G solutions, and new developments to further drive down cost and increase bandwidths. The next generation is 400G Ethernet. The IEEE has agreed on PSM4 with four parallel fibers for the 500 meters 400GBASE-DR4 specification that is part of the IEEE802.3bs standard being developed for approval by the end of 2017. The industry is already developing optical components for 400G Ethernet solutions. The following figure shows telecom and datacom adoption timelines.

Telecom and datacom adoption timelines

We can visually see that telecom/enterprise applications first adopted 100G technology in the form of CFP modules. Data centers generally did not adopt 100G interfaces until the technology matured and evolved towards denser, lower power interfaces, particularly in the form of QSFP28 modules. However, as the hyperscale data center market scales to keep pace with machine-to-machine communications needs, data center operators have become the first to demand transmission modules for data rates of 400G and beyond. Therefore, the 400G era is now upon us.

Modules for 400G

We know that the QSFP28 modules for 100G Ethernet and SFP28 modules for 25G Ethernet are now the dominant form factors. Though CFP, CFP2 and CFP4 modules remain important for some applications, they have been eclipsed by QSFP28 modules. To support higher bandwidth, what is the right module for 400G? The first CFP8 modules are already available. QSFP-DD is backward compatible with QSFP, and OSFP may deliver better performance, especially as networks move to 800G interfaces.

CFP8 module: CFP8 module is the newest form factor under development by members of the CFP multisource agreement (MSA). It is approximately the size of CFP2 module. As for bandwidth density, it respectively supports eight times and four times the bandwidth density of CFP and CFP2 module. The interface of CFP8 module has been generally specified to allow for 16 x 25 Gb/s and 8 x 50 Gb/s mode.

100G CFP to 400G CFP8

QSFP-DD module: QSFP-DD refers to Quad Small Form Factor Pluggable Double Density. It uses eight 25G lanes via NRZ modulation or eight 50G lanes via PAM4 modulation, which can support optical link of 200 Gbps or 400 Gbps aggregate. In addition, QSFP-DD module can enable up to 14.4 Tbps aggregate bandwidth in a single switch slot. As it is backwards compatible with QSFP modules, QSFP-DD provides flexibility for end users and system designers.

QSFP-DD vs QSFP

OSFP module: OSFP (Octal Small Form Factor Pluggable) with eight high speed electrical lanes is able to support 400G (8x50G). It is slightly wider and deeper than the QSFP but it still supports 36 OSFP ports per 1U front panel, enabling 14.4 Tbps per 1U. The OSFP is able to meet the projected thermal requirements for 800 Gbps optics when those systems and optics become available in the future.

OSFP module

Conclusion

Judging from the current trends, 400G will become the mainstream in the near future. But there are still some challenges for it to overcome, such as high capacity density, low power consumption, ever lower cost per bit, and reliable large-scale manufacturing capabilities. You never know what surprise the network will bring to you, let’s wait and see the 400G’s time.

Talk About 2.5G And 5G

Network technology is developing rapidly. To keep up with the trend, data centers are required to upgrade constantly, from 10G to 40G, 40G to 100G and even 100G to 400G. However, for some small business data centers with 1G infrastructures, directly migrating from 1G to 10G is a little fast. Is there any slower Ethernet standards to fill the gap between 1G Ethernet and 10G Ethernet speeds? The answer is Yes—2.5 Ethernet and 5G Ethernet. This article will talk about 2.5G and 5G.

Overview of 2.5G And 5G

The physical (PHY) layer transmission technology of IEEE 802.3bz is based on 10GBASE-T, but operates at a lower signaling rate. By reducing the original signal rate to  1/4 or  1/2, the transfer rate drops to 2.5 or 5 Gbit/s, respectively. The spectral bandwidth of the signal is reduced accordingly, lowering the requirements on the cabling, so that 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T can be deployed at a cable length of 100 meters on unshielded Cat5e cable and Cat6 cable, respectively. The following figure shows the comparison of twisted pair based Ethernet technologies.

comparison of twisted pair based Ethernet technologies

Cons And Pros of 2.5G/5G Ethernet Standards

As 2.5G and 5G Ethernet standards came out after 10G Ethernet standard, there are mixed reviews for them. This part will focus on cons and pros of 2.5G/5G Ethernet standards.

Cons of 2.5G And 5G

When 2.5G Ethernet and 5G Ethernet standards came out, many people didn’t think much of them. They commented that:

  • 5GBase-T and 5GBase-T are more going to be used for wifi rollouts. And they are pretty much strictly for enterprise wireless deployments.
  • 10GbE is getting pretty cheap. Lots of new desktop motherboards now have 10G NICs inside them and the premium seems to be less than $100 too, which isn’t too bad. What’s missing is a bunch of 10G home switches and routers.
  • As for the availability, the 10G has 2 models out while the 2.5G and 5G are both “coming soon”. Due to the economies of scale and the penetration, 10G already has IMO. While 2.5G and 5G will never be widely adopted or supported.
  • There are not that many chip sets that support 2.5G Ethernet and 5G Ethernet yet as they really only got finalized. Also, most cards that support them right now also support 10Gbe.
Pros of 2.5G And 5G

What exists is reasonable. One estimate is that there are 70 billion meters of Cat5e and Cat6 cabling have been sold between 2003 and 2014. With such a significant amount of existing infrastructure at stake, it’s hardly surprising that most enterprises want to extend the existing cabling, component and equipment investments in the standard Ethernet wireless closet. Therefore, it is not difficult to find that 2.5G Ethernet and 5G Ethernet standards have their advantages.

  • Cat5 and Cat6 cabling can’t support 10G Ethernet up to 100 meters, but they will be able to support the emerging 2.5Gbps and 5Gbps standards, thereby preserving the value of the existing copper cable plant.
  • Adopting new 2.5G and 5G can satisfy the need of increasing data rates of wireless networking. The new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard increases wireless bandwidth, supporting Ethernet speeds of 1.7 Gbps to 2.5 Gbps. With the coming of the next generation of wireless networking, 802.11ac Wi-Fi Wave 2, wireless network speeds could increase to as high as 6.8 Gbps.
  • Besides the need from the Wi-Fi industry, a 2.5G/5G version will also aid in other applications such as enterprise infrastructure, cellular Wi-Fi offloads, small cells, security cameras, multiple industrial uses and PoE technology.
  • These two new Ethernet standards have plenty of attributes to ensure success, such as ease of use, backward compatibility, faster speeds without requiring a cable upgrade, incremental speed upgrades, multi-vendor interoperability, not to mention optimized cost and performance.
Conclusion

From the above content, we can conclude that 2.5G/5G Ethernet standards have both pros and cons. For those who want to upgrade cabling system to 10G, 2.5G/5G is not useful. While for small business and home network, 2.5G/5G is a cost-effective solution. No matter what your cable plant is, choosing a suitable migration path is the most important thing. FS.COM can provides high quality components for your cable plant, such as Cat5e cable, Cat6 cable, wireless access point and PoE switch. For more details, you can visit our site.

Deploy Network in A New House

Network has changed our lifestyle and it has become an important part of our daily life. Therefore, home network deployment is a very common project. When it comes to the components required for the network deployment, many people would say Ethernet cable and router, without hesitation. However, when you start the project, you will find it is not that simple. To deploy network in a new house, future-proof cabling and cost-effective components are two essential elements. And this article will share some tips with you based on these two elements.

home network deployment

Run Conduit

We know that conduit can protect cable from damage, in addition, it will allow you to pull new wiring in the future. No matter what wires you require in the future, you can easily replace them. Remember to run more conduit than you think you need. Run conduit to every room. Typically, run it to whichever wall you’re thinking of placing your equipment. Also, run it to locations in hallways and on floors where you may place future routers/access points for wireless networking. You will find that Power over Ethernet is useful for this.

Cat6 Cable Is Fine

For Ethernet cable, Cat6 cable is fine for all current standards unless you have a giant mansion. Cat6 cable is a standardized twisted pair cable for Ethernet and it is backward compatible with the Cat3, Cat5 and Cat5e cable standards. In addition, Cat6 cable provides performance of up to 250 MHz and is suitable for 10BASE-T, 100BASE-TX (Fast Ethernet), 1000BASE-T/1000BASE-TX (Gigabit Ethernet), and 10GBASE-T (10-Gigabit Ethernet). For transmission distance, Cat6 cable can reach 100 meters for slower network speeds (up to 1,000 Mbps) and higher network speeds over short transmission distance—it can achieve only 55 meters at the speed of 10 Gbps and 33 meters in high crosstalk conditions. You only need Cat6a cable if you plan to run cable at 10 Gbps and longer than 55 meters (180 ft). Also, remember to have “extra” cables which will save you enormous hassle and expense.

Dual Band Router Will Be Better

We know that wireless network utilizes either 2.4 GHz frequency band or 5 GHz frequency band. The 2.4 GHz wireless network covers a larger range than 5 GHz wireless network, but 5 GHz band can provides faster speed. In wireless home network, many older Wi-Fi devices do not support 5 GHz band. It is not difficult to find that 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz have their own advantages. As a result, dual band router will be better for your home network deployment.

Utilize PoE

If you want to set up multiple access points and IP cameras, PoE technology is a good option which can realize the power and data transmission over the same Ethernet cable at the same time. PoE devices utilize the original PoE standard, IEEE 802.3af, which provides up to 15.4W of DC power to each device. In addition to wireless access point and IP camera, there are some other PoE devices on the market, such as IP phone and PoE switch.

PoE technology

Conclusion

In fact, once you have decided to deploy network in your new house, there will be a lot of things that you have to think about, such as which type conduit to run, how long cable to buy, where to place the router, how many access points to set up, which kind PoE switch to buy, and so on. But there is another important thing that you must pay attention to, that’s where to buy what you need. FS.COM can provide you high quality products at low price, such as 305 meters (1000 ft) is US$ 120.00, 8 port PoE switch is US$ 159.00. For more details, you can visit our site.