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.

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.


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


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.

How Far Can 25G Ethernet Go?

Seeing from the evolution of data transmission speed and size of data centers, it is not difficult to find that the pressure on the data centers to manage data quality and transmission speed continues to grow, which leads to the need for faster data transmission over the network. Ethernet industry has laid a path to higher networking speeds like 100GbE, and 25G Ethernet has been developed to provide a simpler path to future Ethernet speeds of 50 Gbps, 100 Gbps and beyond. The release of the 25GbE specification provides cost-effective solution for server-to-switch connectivity. However, network will not stop the pace of development. How far can 25G Ethernet go? This article is going to focus on the question.

Overview of 25G Ethernet

25G Ethernet is a standard for Ethernet connectivity in a datacenter environment, developed by IEEE 802.3 task force P802.3by. The IEEE 802.3by standard uses technology defined for 100 Gigabit Ethernet implemented as four 25 Gbps lanes (IEEE 802.3bj). In 2016, 25G Ethernet equipment was available on the market, such as 25G SFP28 transceiver and DAC cable. In addition, 25G Ethernet supports for 100G using QSFP ports that can be converted to 4 lanes of 25 Gbps, like 100G QSFP28 transceiver. Here is a table of 25G Ethernet specification for you.

25G Ethernet specification

Advantages of 25G Ethernet

For 10G ToR to 10G Server connectivity, the simplest cabling solution is to use two 10G SFP+ transceivers and one fiber optic cable. When the network has to be upgraded to 25G Ethernet, the data center manager only needs to replace 10G SFP+ transceivers with 25G SFP28 transceivers. In the same way, we know that in 40G ToR to 10G Server connectivity, one 40G QSFP+ transceiver, four 10G SFP+ transceivers and one MTP to LC breakout cable are utilized. When this network deployment is upgraded to 100G ToR to 25G Server connectivity, the work can be quickly finished by replacing 40G QSFP+ transceiver with 100G QSFP28 transceiver, four 10G SFP+ transceivers with four 25G SFP28 transceivers. It can be easily found that there are some advantages when upgrading from 10G to 25G or 40G to 100G:

  • It can offer both CapEx and OpEx savings through backward compatibility, for investment protection and seamless migrations with consistent rack-design and reuse of the existing cabling infrastructure, avoiding costly and complex changes.
  • The technology utilized in 100G to 25G connectivity is similar to that in 40G to 10G connectivity, but the performance is increased by 2.5 times, thus reducing the power and cost per gigabit significantly.
  • 25G Ethernet provides higher port and system density than a comparable 40G solution.
  • Both power savings and higher density results in lower cooling requirements and operational expenditure for data center operators.

advantages of 25G Ethernet

How Far Can 25G Ethernet Go?

Considering the significant benefits and compelling economics of 25G Ethernet, it is no surprise that the move to 25G is accelerating—a recent five-year forecast by industry analysts at the Dell’Oro Group predicts 25G Ethernet will be the dominant Server port speed for new systems by 2018. You can learn about it from the following figure.

forecast for 25G Ethernet

However, never underestimate the need for industry consensus building. At present, 25G is mainly used for switch-to-server applications. If it can realize switch-to-switch application, 25G Ethernet may go further.


To be frank, 25G Ethernet indeed gains ground in some aspects compared to 10G and 40G Ethernet. If you plan to deploy 25GbE network, you can visit FS.COM which provides quality 25G SFP28 transceiver and various fiber optic cables.

Compatible Optical Modules For FS S5850-48S2Q4C 100G Switch

With the development of advanced technology, 100G products is fast growing in 100G market to cater to the demand of a higher bandwidth. How about 100G switches? Recently, FS launches S5850/S8050 series 100G switches including two configurations: S5850-48S2Q4C and S8050-20Q4C, to meet the market demands. The FS S5850-48S2Q4C switch is high performance and cost-effective Ethernet access and aggregation platform to enterprise, data center and metro application. This article aims at providing a detailed information about FS S5850-48S2Q4C 100G switch and its compatible optical modules.

Features of FS S5850-48S2Q4C Switch

The FS 100G switch S5850-48S2Q4C is designed based on the fourth generation high-end scalable chipset, which supports L2/L3/Data Center/Metro features. In a compact 1 RU form factor, the 100G switches can provide line-rate L2 and L3 switching across up to 48 SFP+ ports or 20 QSFP+ ports, and offer 2× 40GbE QSFP+ or 4×100GbE QSFP28 uplink connections. Compared to other 100G switch products on the market, this 100G switch have the following characteristics:

  • Data center lever hardware design.
  • Design for traffic visual and trouble-shooting.
  • Design for data center applications.
  • Focusing on supporting 40G/100G ports with large capacity and high density port.
  • Complete system software with comprehensive protocols and applications to facilitate rapid service deployment and management for both traditional L2/L3 networks and Data Center networks.


Compatible Optic Modules For S5850-48S2Q4C

The FS 100G switch S5850-48S2Q4C supports a full rang of 10, 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity options. Those 10G/40G/100G ports support installation of SFP+, QSFP+ and QSFP28 transceiver modules. FS provides many high-quality compatible SFP+, QSFP+ and QSFP28 modules for S5850-48S2Q4C 100G switch.

10G SFP+ Modules

10G SFP+ modules for FS S5850-48S2Q4C

Among all the 10GBASE SFP modules on the market, 10GBASE SR SFP and 10GBASE-LR are warmly welcomed by many Ethernet users right now. The maximum transmission distance of Cisco 10GBASE-SR module can be up to 300 m and 400 m respectively on this switch by using multimode fiber OM3 and OM4. The Cisco 10GBASE-LR module can arrive a link length of 10 km on standard single-mode fiber through this switch. The 10G SFP+ modules here totally conform to the specification of this S5850-48S2Q4C 100G switch. You can select a proper one to connect.

40G QSFP+ Modules

40G QSFP+ modules for FS S5850-48S2Q4C

As we can see from the above figure, there are many 40G QSFP+ modules available to this switch. By using Cisco 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP modules, link lengths on this switch can arrive 100 m and 150 m, respectively, on laser-optimized OM3 and OM4 multimode fibers. It primarily enables high-bandwidth 40G optical links over 12-fiber parallel fiber terminated with MPO/MTP multifiber female connector. All of FS.COM’s transceivers are tested for 100% functionality and guaranteed compatible for outstanding network performance. So does the above 40G transceivers, they are completely applicable to this S5850-48S2Q4C 100G switch. Recently, there is a big slump in Cisco 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP at FS.COM. So buying Cisco 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP now is really a good deal, for it only needs $49, which can help you save a lot.

100G QSFP28 Modules

100G QSFP28 modules for FS S5850-48S2Q4C

The 100G QSFP28 SR4 is highly favored by many Ethernet users to connect switch. The 100G QSFP28 SR4 offers 4 independent transmit and receive channels, each capable of 25Gb/s operation for an aggregate data rate of 100Gb/s, which can be up to 100 m on this S5850-48S2Q4C 100G switch by using OM4 multimode fiber. It provides increased port density and total system cost savings. An optical fiber ribbon cable with an MTP/MPO connector can be plugged into the QSFP28 module receptacle. The compatibility of the above 100G QSFP28 modules are guaranteed, you can rest assured to use them for connecting with this S5850-48S2Q4C 100G switch. Just like 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP, Cisco 100G QSFP28 SR4 is on a big sale recently at FS.COM as well. A Cisco 100G QSFP28 SR4 is yours only by paying $269.


FS S5850-48S2Q4C switch is high performance 100G switch, offering cost-effective solutions for next generation metro, data center and enterprise Ethernet network applications. It supports 10G, 40G and 100G Ethernet network connectivity.

How to Choose the Right Switch for Your Data Center?

If you plan to set up a 10G network, what do you need? The answer is 10G switch, 10G transceiver and optical cable. In addition, the option of switch is the most basic and important step to start the network deployment. How to choose the right switch for your data center? This article will introduce the three-tiered network model which can help you make a right choice.

Basic Knowledge of Switch

Before we come to the three-tiered network model, let’s learn about some basic knowledge of switch. All switches maintain a media access control (MAC) address-to-port table which is used to intelligently forward frames out the right ports to the intended destinations. Besides, all switches use standards-based protocols to segment traffic using the concept of virtual local area networks, 802.1q trunks and 802.3ad port aggregation. They also prevent network loops using one of the many variants of the 802.1d spanning-tree protocol.

Three-Tiered Network Model

We know that different types of switches have their own characteristics. And we have to compare them before making the decision. Here is an easy way to look at these differences that we can break them up into traditional three-tiered network model. The three tiers are core tier, distribution tier and access tier. Core switches interconnect with other core switches and down to the distribution tier. The distribution tier sits in between the core and the access tier. The access tier connects the entire structure to end devices like computers, printers and servers. To better understand this, here is a figure for you.

The Three-Tiered Network Model

Core Switch

The most striking feature of core switch is speed. The task of a core switch is routing at Layer 3 (the network layer) and switching at Layer 2 (the data link layer). In addition, core switch is high-throughput, high-performance packet and frame mover, which simply moves packets and frames from one core switch to another core switch, and eventually down to the next tier of switches—the distribution tier.

Distribution Switch

The function of distribution switch is connecting the core and access tier together on the network. Since there are many interconnections in a network, and distribution switch has higher port density than core switch, distribution switch also interconnects all access tier switches. What’s more, distribution switch enforces all forms of network policies.

Access Switch

Access switch directly interacts with end-user devices and it connects the majority of devices to the network. For this reason, the access tier typically has the highest port density of all switch types. Also, access switch usually provides the lowest throughput-per-port of all switches. It commonly supports Power over Ethernet, which can power many endpoint devices, including wireless access points and security cameras. Additionally, access switch is better able to interact with endpoints from a security perspective.


Tasks and workloads can be distinct for switches in different tiers. While all switches share universal functions like MAC tables, spanning-tree and trunking, they also have exclusive capabilities performed only within that network tier. Therefore, you have to figure out what type of switch you need. Then, you can buy compatible optical module and cable. FS.COM provides cost-effective switcher, modules and cables for you. For more details, please visit our site.