10G Ethernet SFP+ Vs. 10G Fibre Channel SFP+

Today’s technology presents unprecedented migration incorporating a wide range of application requirements such as database, transaction processing, data warehousing, integrated audio/video, real-time computing, and collaborative projects. Fibre Channel and Gigabit Ethernet, both are the ideal solutions for IT professionals who need reliable, cost-effective information storage and delivery at fast speeds. Fibre Channel is available in 1G/2G/4G/8G/16G FC and 10GFCoE, 40GFCoE and 100GFCoE nowadays. Gigabit Ethernet is the reigning network for data center and server room. The battle between Fibre Channel and Ethernet is complicated. However, this article will help you solve it out by comparing 10G SFP+ Fibre Channel transceiver modules and 10G Ethernet SFP+ modules.

Encoding Mechanisms of Ethernet and FC

Any time we’re transmitting or storing data, we encode it in some form or another. Then we need to understand the encoding mechanisms of Ethernet and FC.

1, 2, 4, and 8 Gb Fibre Channel all use 8b/10b encoding. Meaning, 8 bits of data gets encoded into 10 bits of transmitted information, the two bits are used for data integrity. For example, Original 1Gb FC is actually 1.0625Gb/s, and each generation has kept this standard and multiplied it. 8Gb FC would be 8×1.0625, or actual bandwidth of 8.5Gb/s. 8.5*.80 = 6.8. 6.8Gb of usable bandwidth on an 8Gb FC link.

10GE (and 10G FC, for that matter) uses 64b/66b encoding. For a 10Gb link using 64b/66b encoding, that leaves 96.96% of the bandwidth for user data, or 9.7Gb/s.

10G SFP+ Fibre Channel Transceiver Module

10G SFP+ Fibre Channel (FC) transceiver, as the name implies, is the 10G optical transceivers used for Fibre Channel applications. 10G FC SFP+ module has the same footprint as SFP form factor and is compliant with MSA SFF-8431. 10G SFP+ Fibre Channel transceivers uses the either the 850nm VCSEL as the transmitter fro multimode fiber or 1310nm/1550nm laser as the transmitters for single-mode fibers in SONET OC-192 /SDH, 10GBASE-SW, 10GBASE-LW, 10GBASE-EW, and 10GBASE-ZW applications.

Cisco DS-SFP-FC10G-LW

Cisco DS-SFP-FC10G-LW, seen in the above image, is the long-range single-mode 10G SFP+ FC optical module for a link length of 10km over 1310nm wavelength. 10GFC is backward compatible with previous generation 8G/4G/2GFC and will auto-negotiate down to the fastest speed supported by both ports. This allows 10GFC devices and switches to be seamlessly integrated into expansion segments of existing FC networks without a forklift upgrade.

10GBASE SFP+ Ethernet Transceiver Module

SFP+ 10G modules is the optical transceiver for serial optical communication applications at 10Gbps. Unlike the SFP+ FC transceivers, 10GBASE SFP+ Ethernet modules can use either copper or fiber cabling. SFP+ 10GBASE-T optical transceiver supports Cat6 RJ45 copper cables for a link length of 30m. 10GBASE SFP+ Ethernet modules are available in several 10 Gigabit Ethernet standards like 10GBASE-SR Ethernet, 10GBASE-LR, 10GBASE-LRM, 10GBASE-ER, 10GBASE-ZR, and 10GBASE-T.

HPE 10G SFP+ module
Cisco SFP-10G-LR is the 10km Cisco 10GBASE-LR SFP+ module that uses 1310nm as the transmitter type over single-mode fiber cables. 10GBASE-LR SFP+ modules cannot be auto-negotiate with 1000BASE SFP transceivers, but for most switches, SFP+ ports can support 1G SFP modules for 1Gbps data rate.

Comparison Between 10G Fibre Channel SFP+ and 10G Ethernet SFP+

From the previous description, we can easily draw a conclusion that 10G Fiber Channel SFP+ and 10G Ethernet SFP+ share several specification in common.

  • Footprint

They have the same form factor as 1000BASE SFP transceiver modules.

  • Performance

Except the application, 10G Fiber Channel SFP+ SW module and 10Gb SR SFP+ transceivers have the very similar functions with each other. For the exact information, please see the following table.

10G SFP+ FC modules

  • Application

10G Fiber Channel SFP+ is used in 10G Fibre Channel, yet 10G Ethernet SFP+ is utilized in 10G Ethernet networks.

2017 Prediction of Ethernet and Fibre Channel

Without denying, Ethernet is the dominating network for every data center and server room. The “old” Ethernet network—1Gb/s and 10Gb/s speeds relied heavily on TCP to deliver data, which was reliable but somewhat unpredictable. However, today’s Ethernet runs at 25, 40, 50, or 100Gb/s speeds, is no longer dependent on TCP alone. It also supports RDMA connections which lower latency and frees up CPU cycles to run applications. 100Gb/s technology is quite matured in 2017 and there are many relevant devices available on the market, such as CFP/QSFP28 optical transceivers, 100G switches and network interface cards, 24 fiber MTP cables, etc.

Fibre Channel Vs. Gigabit Ethernet

Meanwhile, FC is still transitioning to 16/32 Gb/s technology (32Gb/s is not mature), which is quite slower than what Ethernet was supporting several years ago. For 32Gb/s FC network, it still supports only block storage traffic. Other storage (and other non-storage) traffic will require an Ethernet network anyway.

If we look at what is coming in 2017, the battle will not be 10/40/100GbE Vs. 8/10/16/32Gb FC. Almost everyone would agree that it would be nice to have a single network for all traffic, and very few users want a new protocol and the challenges of changing the way that they do things.

Conclusion

FC or Ethernet, which is best for storage? 10Gb FC SFP+ has the same usable bandwidth as the 10Gb Ethernet SFP+, and without the overhead of FCoE, but you don’t get the consolidation benefits of using the same physical link for your storage and traditional Ethernet traffic. FS.COM offers reliable 10G SFP+ transceivers in Ethernet, FC, BiDi, CWDM/DWDM applications. If you are interested in our products, please contact us directly.

Compatible Gigabit SFP Optical Transceiver for Netonix WISP Switch

The Netonix WISP switch is the managed PoE Gigabit Switches with several Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 and SFP ports. Compared with Ubiquiti Networks Edgeswitch switches (40C), Netonix WISP switches was designed with a rugged chassis and extended operating temperature (-25 to 55C), which is more suitable for outdoor deployment. Furthermore, the ability to power AirFibers is the unique feature of WISP switches. This article will describe WISP switches in detail and help you choose the compatible Gigabit SFP optical transceivers for Netonix WISP switches.

Netonix Gigabit WISP Switches

WISP switches are the Netonix Gigabit switches with the performance of Non-Blocking Throughput Switching and software configuration passive PoE. The Netonix WISP switches feature the ability to power many popular 24V, 48V/50V passive PoE devices from manufacturers including Ubiquiti Networks airMAX™, UniFi™, SAF™, MIMOSA™, Ligowav™, and airFIBER™ product lines. There are WS-24-400A, WS-24-400B, WS-12-250A, WS-12-250B, WS-12-250-DC, WS-12-250-AC, WS-12-DC, WS-10-250-AC, WS-8-250-DC, WS-8-250-AC, WS-8-150-DC, WS-8-150-AC, and WS-6-MINI.

WS-6-MiNi

Note that: the No. “6”, “8”, “10”… in those model refers to the numbers of port. And “150” and “250” means the max power consumption. The above image shows the simple home network setup using WS-6-MINI switches.

Optical Transceiver Tested to Work Well in WISP Switches

According to Netonix community, the SFP (optical module form factor) Gigabit Ethernet ports on WISP switches accommodate a full range of SFP optical transceiver modules, including SFP 1000BASE-T, SFP 1000BASE-SX, SFP 1000Base-LX/LH, SFP 1000BASE-ZX, SFP 1000BASE-BX-D, SFP 1000BASE-BX-U, SFP 1000BASE-EX. The following SFP optical transceivers are reported to be working fine on WISP switches.

Major Branded Optical Transceivers For WISP Switches

Original SFP transceiver module

optical transceiver

Compatible Optical Transceivers for WISP Switches

Fiberstore compatible optical transceivers are reported to work well on Netonix WISP switches. The following table lists the detailed information about the compatible optical transceiver modules on WISP switches.

FS.COM compatible optical transceiver for WISP switches

Conclusion

The Netonix WISP switches were designed to be part of the Small Business or home networking products that work together as part of proven, fully integrated, easy-to-use small business solution. These switches support a huge number of Gigabit Ethernet SFP optical transceivers. All these high-quality fiber optic transceivers can be found on FS.COM for competitive prices. FS.COM is committed to provide free shipping in USA, Mexico and Australia.

How to Choose Fiber Optic Cable for 10G SFP+ Optical Transceiver?

How to choose fiber optic cables for 10G SFP+ transceivers? It seems like a dumb question for most of the fiber optic technicians. However, there are still some people, especially the green-hand network installers, may not know the compatibility between fiber optic cables and optical transceiver modules. Today, I want to make a clear illustration of how to choose the right transmission media (OS2/OM3/OM4/Cat6/Cat6a) for 10G SFP+ optical transceiver modules.

Overview of SFP+ Optical Transceiver Module

Before coming to the main part of this article, let’s first have a brief overview of the SFP+ optical transceiver modules and 10G fiber & copper cables.

  • 10GBASE SFP+ optical transceivers

SFP+ optical transceivers, according to the IEEE standards, can be divided into several types, for example, 10GBASE-LRM SFP+, 10GBASE-LR, 10GBASE-ER SFP+, 10GBASE-ZR SFP+, 10GBASE-SR SFP+, 10GBASE-T SFP+. Each SFP+ optical transceiver type has its own specification and usage that are not be listed here. For more, please review the previous articles.

  • BiDi SFP+ Modules

Besides the above 10GBASE SFP+ modules, 10GBASE-CWDM SFP+, 10GBASE-DWDM SFP+ and SFP+ BiDi optical transceiver modules are also the most commonly used 10G SFP+ optics. SFP+ BiDi optical transceiver usually uses two different wavelength to achieve 10G transmission over one fiber. The most frequently used wavelength of BiDi optical module is 1310nm/1550nm, 1310nm/1490nm, 1510nm/1590nm.

bidi-10G-SFP+--transceiver-simplex-cable

  • CWDM/DWDM SFP+ Modules

The Coarse Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (CWDM) and Dense Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (DWDM) SFP+ optics are the convenient and cost-effective solution for the adoption of 10 Gigabit Ethernet in campus, data-center, and metropolitan-area access networks. This 10G fiber optic transceiver type can support up to eight channels of 10GbE over single-mode fibers for distance over 80km.

10G Fiber & Copper Patch Cables

Fiber optic cables can be categorized into two types: single-mode and multimode fiber optic cables. They have different core size and fiber optic transmission equipment, which makes them suitable in different applications. Single-mode fiber patch cables, or OS1/OS2 (OS1 is now not popular on the market) are normally used for long-distance transmission with laser diode based equipment.

OS2 OM4 Cat6a for 10G SFP+ module

Multimode fiber cables, or OM1/OM2/OM3/OM4, have a relatively large light carrying core, usually utilized for short-distance transmission with LED based equipment. OM1, with a core size of 62.5um, supports 1GB network within 300m. OM2 (50um) can support up to 10GB, with a distance of 600m. OM3 and OM4 are the laser-optimized multimode fibers, which can be used in 10GB network with a link length of 300m, 550m respectively. These types of optical cables can be also used on 40G/100G network utilizing a MTP/MPO connector.

Cat6/Cat6a cables are the Copper Ethernet Network cables used for 10G network. Compared with Cat5e (1 Gigabits of data) and Cat5 cables (10/100 Mbps), Cat6 is the Ethernet cable that can handle up to 10Gbps with the distance limited to 164ft. Cat6a is the advanced version of Cat6 cables that further reduce crosstalk, which makes it can support the full 328 feet of Ethernet cable.

Choosing Fiber Optic Cables for 10G SFP+ Optical Transceivers

As noted before, single-mode patch cables can be used for 10G 10GBASE-LRM SFP+, 10GBASE-LR SFP+, 10GBASE-ER SFP+, 10GBASE-ZR SFP+, 10GBASE-CWDM SFP+, 10GBASE-DWDM SFP+ and SFP+ BiDi modules.

Cable Type Connector Max Distance
10GBASE-LRM SFP+ 9/125 SMF LC Duplex 200m
10GBASE-LR SFP+ 9/125 SMF LC Duplex 10km
10GBASE-ER SFP+ 9/125 SMF LC Duplex 40km
10GBASE-ZR SFP+ 9/125 SMF LC Duplex 80km
CWDM SFP+ 9/125 SMF LC Duplex 80km
DWDM SFP+ 9/125 SMF LC Duplex 80km
SFP+ BiDi 9/125 SMF LC/SC Simplex 80km

Multimode fibers, especially the OM3 and OM4 cables, are supported for 10GBASE-SR SFP+ transceiver modules. The following chart displays the part No. of customized OM3 and OM4 cables.

Customized Part ID
Connector
Fiber Mode
Polish Types
Jacket
Stock Length
17235 LC Duplex 50/125 OM4 UPC PVC 1m-30m (3ft-98ft)
17235 LC Duplex 50/125 OM4 UPC LSZH 1m-15m (3ft-49ft)
17235 LC Duplex 50/125 OM4 UPC OFNP 1m-15m (3ft-49ft)
12018 LC Duplex 50/125 OM3 UPC PVC 1m-30m (3ft-98ft)
12018 LC Duplex 50/125 OM3 UPC LZSH 1m-30m (3ft-98ft)
12018 LC Duplex 50/125 OM3 UPC OFNP 1m-15m (3ft-49ft)

Cat6 and Cat6a Patch cables can be only used on the 10GBASE-T SFP+ transceivers.

10GBASE-T RJ45 SFP+ Copper module

Keep in mind, the newly available SFP+ copper transceiver modules can only support up to 30m.

Conclusion

This article lists all the existing the 10G fiber & copper patch cables and SFP+ transceiver module types, as well as the guidance about how to select the right patch cables for 10G SFP+ optical transceivers. FS.COM offers a full range of SFP+ optical transceiver modules and patch cables. Please contact us if you need any help.

Original article: 10GBASE-T SFP+ COPPER RJ45 TRANSCEIVER MODULE – INNOVATIVE BUT CONTROVERSIAL

Will CPAK 100G Transceiver Module Thrive in 2017?

Currently, prices on 100G optical transceivers have been dropping faster than those devices at 40G, which drives customers to migrate to 100G directly instead of turning to the intermediate 40G Ethernet. For example, QSFP-40G-SR-BD ($300) costs higher than QSFP-100G-SR4-S ($269) at FS.COM. It is the same case as other vendors. QSFP28 and CFP optical transceivers as the main transmission media of 100G network, dominate 100G hardware market.

100G transceiver modules

CPAK, released right after CFP2 100G modules, is the Cisco proprietary form factor, which greatly effect the popularity of this module type. However, in 2017, many third party optical solution vendors like FS.COM announce to help market to cut down this pricing and save budgets for services providers and operators. So will it thrive in 2017? Today’s article will describe CPAK 100G module in detail attached with the positive analytics of the future of this module type.

Unveiling CPAK Optical Transceiver Module

CPAK 100GBASE optical module, designed as a smaller, low-cost alternative to CFP transceiver, can be plugged into the CPAK ports of Cisco switches and routers. Besides, CPAK module is the first 100G optical transceivers that use CMOS Photonics technology. This type of 100GBASE modules can work in the following Cisco networking equipment—ASR 9000 Series Router; CRS-X Carrier Routing System; NCS 2000, 4000, and 6000 Series Routers; the Nexus 7000 and 7700 Series Switches, and the Cisco ONS Transport Platform.

CPAK optical transceiver incorporates IEEE standard interfaces available in several different types: 100GBASE-SR10, 100GBASE-ER4L, 100GBASE-LR4, 10x10G-ERL, 10x10GBASE-LR, etc. CPAK transceivers can support 10X10Gbps and 4X25Gbps mode for an aggregate of 100Gbps data rate. It can also operate high-density 10G breakout with MPO-24 cables. CPAK-100G-SR10 is backward compatible with 10GBASE-SR. While CPAK 10X10G-LR is compatible with 10GBASE-LR optics. CPAK LR4 module is compatible with other 100GBASE-LR4 compliant modules such as CFP to support high-bandwidth 100Gb optical links over standard single-mode fiber terminated with SC connectors. Table 1 shows the existing Cisco 100G CPAK Modules.

Cisco CPAK modules

CPAK Out-Competes CFP/CFP2 for Smaller Footprint & Energy Economy

Once the CPAK transceiver module had been released, it was marked as the smallest 100G footprint providing higher-port density and low power consumption for 100G networks. When comparing with CFP modules, CPAK transceivers are less than one third the size of CFP modules, and dissipate less than one third the power. In a comparison with CFP2 modules, CPAK optical transceivers are 20% smaller and consume 40% less power. In other word, if you use CPAK other than CFP2 modules in your data center switches, it can offer 20% greater port density and front-panel bandwidth.

100G-module-evolution

To sum up, CPAK optical module has smaller footprint than CXP, CFP and CFP2, but bigger than CFP4 and QSFP28 optics. Besides, CPAK 100GBASE-LR4 consumes less than 5.5W, which is less than CFP LR4 (24W), CFP2 LR4 (12W), CFP4 (9W) and CXP LR4 optics (6W) but a little higher than QSFP28 (3.5W). CPAK represents a significant advancement in optical networking, providing dramatic space and power efficiency.

CPAK Vs. QSFP28

QSFP28 optical transceiver is regarded as the most promising 100G optical module due to its smallest form factor and lowest power consumption. For example, Cisco CPAK 100GBASE-LR4 module supports link lengths of up to 10 km over standard single-mode fiber with SC connector with a nominal power consumption of less than 5.5W. QSFP28 100GBASE-LR4 supports up to 10km and consumes nearly 3.5W. CPAK optics obviously don’t have a shot when competing with QSFP28 optical transceivers.

What About the Future of CPAK Modules?

In 2017, 100G technology and relevant optical transceivers gradually become mature. 100G optics like CXP, CFP/CFP2/CFP4, 100G QSFP28 in different standards offers a huge selection for customers. Of which QSFP28 100G modules, thanks to the smallest form factor and reliable performance, maintain large market share in 100G hardware market. In addition, some newly released 100G switches only have QSFP28 ports which in turn promotes the popularity of 100G QSFP28 transceivers.

In such a fierce market environment, it is hard to say whether CPAK will be a hot star in 100G hardware market or not. Anyhow—CPAK module is the first optical transceivers that use CMOS electronic technology. Furthermore, Cisco and several other vendors offer CFP2 to CPAK adapter to support the conversion between CPAK and CFP2 modules. Third party vendors like ourselves are also beginning to supply 100G CPAK modules in 2017. We will see if such industry development will take place!

Summary

CPAK module was launched just days after the certification of CFP2 optics. It is popular for the smaller footprint and energy economy. However, when competing with open source MSA compatible 100G products (CFP/CFP2/CFP4 and QSFP28), CPAK is not the ideal one for 100G high-density connectivity. The world undergoes a myriad changes in the twinkling of an eye. For the newly information about our new-coming CPAK modules, please visit fs.com or pay attention to the updated article in this blog.

Original Source: Will CPAK 100G Transceiver Module Thrive in 2017?

How to Choose Fiber Optics for Mellanox ConnectX Ethernet Adapter Cards?

Mellanox ConnectX Ethernet adapter card provides high-performance networking technologies by utilizing IBTA RoCE technology, delivering efficient RDMA services and scaling in ConnectX-3, 4, 5, 6 EN 10/25/40/50/56/100/200GbE connection. The Mellanox ConnectX EN Ethernet card supports a full suite of software drivers like Microsoft Windows (including Windows 10), Linux distributions, VMware and Citrix XenServer. ConnectX Ethernet adapter card comes in several types for 10/25/40/50/56/100/200GbE network, such as ConnectX-3 EN, ConnectX-3 Pro EN, ConnectX-3 Pro EN 10GBASE-T, ConnectX-4, ConnectX-4 Lx EN, ConnectX-5 EN, ConnectX-6 EN adapter cards. In this article, we present an in-depth network-level performance evaluation of the Mellanox ConnectX Ethernet adapter cards and the supported fiber optic cabling.

Mellanox ConnectX Ethernet Adapter Card

Network Interface Card (NIC), also known as Network Interface Controller, Network Adapter, LAN Adapter or Physical Network Interface. All Mellanox 10/25/40/50/100/200 Gigabit Ethernet adapters deliver high-bandwidth and industry-leading Ethernet connectivity in enterprise data centers, high-performance computing, and embedded environments. From ConnectX-2 to ConnectX-6, Mellanox keep upgrading their Ethernet adapter cards to meet customers requirement.

Connectx-6 EN

ConnectX-6 EN—200Gb/s Adapter Card

ConnectX-6 EN 200Gb/s Adapter Card, launched last year, was the world-first 200Gb/s Ethernet network adapter card for Ethernet connectivity, sub-600 ns latency and 200 million messages per second. ConnectX-6 EN, seen in the image, provides two ports of 200Gb/s for Ethernet connectivity. As the first adapter to deliver 200Gb/s throughput, ConnectX-6 is the perfect solution to provide machine learning applications with the levels of performance and scalability that they require.

ConnectX-5 EN—Adapter Supporting 100Gb/s EthernetConnectX-5

ConnectX-5 just as the image shows, supports two ports of 100Gb/s Ethernet connectivity, sub-700 nanosecond latency, and very high message rate, plus PCIe switch and NVMe over Fabric offloads, providing the highest performance and most flexible solution for the most demanding applications and markets.

Table 1 presents the detailed information about Mellanox ConnectX-5 EN Ethernet Adapter Cards

Ordering Part No.
Description
Speed Ports Connectors Dimensions w/o Bracket
MCX515A-CCAT 100GbE single-port QSFP28, PCIe3.0 x16, tall bracket, ROHS R6 100GbE 1 QSFP28 14.2cm x 6.9cm (Low Profile)
MCX516A-CCAT 100GbE dual-port QSFP28, PCIe3.0 x16, tall bracket, ROHS R6 100GbE 2 QSFP28 14.2cm x 6.9cm (Low Profile)
MCX516A-CDAT 100GbE dual-port QSFP28, PCIe4.0 x16, tall bracket, ROHS R6 100GbE 2 QSFP28 14.2cm x 6.9cm (Low Profile)
ConnectX-4 EN—Adapter Supporting 10G/40G/100Gb/s

ConnectX-4 LX ENConnectX-4 adapter cards have three different types: ConnectX-4 Lx EN Programmable Adapter Card, ConnectX-4 EN, ConnectX-4 Lx EN. ConnectX-4 Lx EN Programmable Adapter Card is listed in the right image. ConnectX-4 EN network is the single or dual port 100 Gigabit Ethernet adapter cards. ConnectX-4 Lx enables data centers to migrate from 10G to 25G and from 40G to 50G speeds at similar power consumption, cost, and infrastructure needs. If you are into this NIC card, you’d better look through their difference.

ConnectX-3 Pro EN—10/40/56 Gigabit Ethernet Network Interface Cards

ConnectX-3 Gigabit Ethernet interface card is one of the mostly used NIC cards nowadays. This kind of NIC card can support 10/40/56Gb/s Ethernet connectivitConnectX®-3 Pro Programmable Adapter Cardsy with hardware offload engines. The long-term goal at Mellanox ConnectX Gigabit Ethernet adapter card is to allow customers to wire once and switch protocols on the server and switch as required by workloads. Mellanox can presumably charge a premium for such capability, and ConnectX-3 silicon allows Mellanox to create fixed adapters and switches at specific speeds to target specific customer needs and lower price points, too. The image on the right display the ConnectX-3 Pro Programmable Adapter Cards.

For detailed information about ConnectX-3 Pro EN adapter cards, please see the Table 2.

Ordering Part No.
Description
Dimensions w/o Bracket
ConnectX-3 Pro EN Adapter Cards
MCX311A-XCAT Single 10GbE SFP+ 10.2cm x 5.4cm
MCX312A-XCBT Dual 10GbE SFP+ 14.2cm x 6.9cm
MCX313A-BCBT Single 40/56GbE QSFP 14.2cm x 5.2cm
MCX314A-BCBT Dual 40/56GbE QSFP 14.2cm x 6.9cm
ConnectX-2—Supporting 10G Ethernet Switches

ConnectX-2 Gigabit Ethernet Cards

Mellanox ConnectX-2 EN cards are the older cards for Ethernet only. That means that they will not work in Infiniband networks. In fact, there are still a few examples of OSes without ConnectX-2 support. Prime examples are FreeBSD 9.3 based FreeNAS and NAS4Free versions which did not have built-in support for the cards. The bottom line is that in terms of compatibility, one does need to verify these cards will work.

Many customers do use these in their Windows 10 home workstation for a 10Gb SFP+ back-haul network. Speeds are reliable and excellent. Nowadays, Mellanox does not supply this card, but ebay and Amazon do provide ConnectX-2 cards under $19.

How to Choose the Cables and Optical Modules for ConnectX-3 Ethernet Adapter Cards?

According to Mellanox, ConnectX-3 10G/40G/56G Ethernet adapter cards are interoperable with 10/40 Gb Ethernet switches. Passive copper cables with ESD protection are supported in this NIC card. ConnectX-3 cards can support up to 56Gb/s that can accommodate several fiber cables and optical transceiver types. Take the MCX313A-BCBT as an example, it has single 40GbE QSFP+ port. QSFP+ optical transceivers and DAC cables are feasible in this Ethernet Adapter Card. For the 10G SFP+ to 40G QSFP+ migration, Mellanox QSA (QSFP+ to SFP+) modules are required.

QSA Module

A previous article QSFP+ to SFP+ Adapter (QSA) Module Vs. QSFP+ to SFP+ Breakout Cable provides the detailed information about how to use the QSA module.

DAC Twinax or 10GBASE-T Copper Cable For ConnectX-2 NIC Cards

Mellanox ConnectX EN Gigabit Ethernet Cards can support up to 200Gbps data rate. Each ConnectX adapter card, as mentioned above, supports optical transceivers and modules applied for 10G/25G/40G/100G Ethernet network. ConnectX-2 EN Ethernet card, for example, can be used for 10GbE networks. Except the expensive SFP+ optical transceivers, SFP+ DAC Twinax and 10GBASE-T copper cables are the commonly used  transmission media for 10G data center inter-rack and TOR switching. So how to choose between them?

DAC Twinax Cable

DAC SFP+ Twinax cables integrates SFP+ modules and Twinax cables on the same conduit. It uses the SFP+ optical transceiver modules as connectors (not the real transceiver) on both ends so as to provide a cost-effective and low-power consumption solution for data center interconnection. 10G DAC Twinax cables can be divided into two types: active DAC twinax and passive DAC cables. For distances >5m and <10m, pickup the active version. Otherwise passive direct attach copper cables should be fine.

SFP+ DAC Twinax cables in NiC

Fiberstore is one of the best vendors for DAC and other fiber optics. Their packaging and after-sale support for even the smallest orders is excellent. For connecting two ConnectX-2 cards together, you can get one of the SFP+ copper cables.

Ethernet Network Cables

Ethernet Network Cables like Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6 do look alike from the outside and they all use the same connectors as well. However, they have significant differences on the inside. One simple method is that you can find out the type of cable you have by looking at the text printed on the side of the cable. There are other cables possible (like Cat7 and Cat8 cables) but Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6 cables are the most common now.

  • CAT5

Category 5 cabling is an older type of network cabling compared with Cat5e and Cat6 cables. Cat5 cables support transfer speeds of 10/100 Mbit/s (Fast Ethernet). Nowadays, many installers treat it as old and obsolete and try not to use it. For those who buy cat5 cables,  they tend to use in older devices such as an older router or switch.

  • CAT5e

Category 5 enhanced (Cat5e) cables currently are the most commonly used Ethernet network cables owing to its enhanced transmission data rate and reduced crosstalk. Cat5e cabling supports 1000 Mbit/s and cust down on external and internal crosstalk. It basically means that Cat5e is better at keeping signals on different circuits or channels from interfering with each other.

  • CAT6

Category 6 cabling (Cat6) supports 10 Gbit/s speeds with additional crosstalk improvements. If you’re purchasing a new cable for future proofing,  it should really be CAT6 or above. That doesn’t imply Cat6 cables protect your network from the future or anything, it just means it will keep it up to date for longer when the next products comes along.

Note : Your network speed depends on  the slowest part of your setup. If you want to deploy gigabit ports, gigabit routers, switches,  then please make sure you cabling also supports those speeds as well.

Summary

Mellanox is the world-class vendor for selling multi-protocol chips and adapter cards for servers. It provides a wide range of high-speed interconnection solutions including Gigabit Ethernet cards and InfiniBand adapter cards. The above mentioned ConnectX Gigabit Ethernet cards can not be used in InfiniBand networks. ConnectX Mellanox Gigabit Ethernet cards are the cost-effective devices for your network applications. If you do have the Mellanox NIC cards, you can buy the cost-effective DAC and optical transceiver modules from FS.COM to further reduce the total cost of your budget.

Several 100G DWDM Solutions for Arista 7500E Series

To keep up with the global demand for higher bandwidth, Arista has designated 7500E series switch to address 100G long-hual dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) connectivity. Arista 100G interconnect solution combines Layer 2/Layer 3 switching, wire-speed encryption and coherent DWDM into a high-density line card for the Arista 7500E data centers. Along with the introduction of Arista 7500E series switches, this article will illustrate several 100G DWDM solutions for distance up to 80 km, 150 km and 3000 km as well.

Arista 7500E Series Switch & Line Card

Arista 7500E series is the second generation of 7500 series switch that delivers scalable and deterministic network performance for mission critical data centers, enterprise and HPC environments. Available in a compact 7RU (4-slot) or 11RU (8-slot), Arista 7500E offers over 30Tbps of total capacity for 1,152 ports of 10GbE, 288 ports of 40GbE and support for 96-port 100GbE with a broad choice of interface types that support flexible combinations of 10G, 40G and 100G modes on a single port.

The 7504 and 7508 are the two types of Arista 7500E series switches. The 7508 systems support 8 linecards, dual supervisor modules and 6 fabric modules to provide a full 30Tbps of capacity. The smaller 7504 systems share a common architecture with the 7508 with the primary difference being support for 4 linecards and 15Tbps of forwarding capacity. The most unique feature of this switch is that it can connect with 10G SFP+, 40G QSFP+, 100G QSFP28 and CFP2 modules.

arista-7500E-switch

Arista 7500E series line card for addressing 1/10G, 40G and 100G with full support for industry standard connections and comprehensive layer 2 and 3 features for flexible deployment choice. The line card delivers error-free performance up to 3000 km of fiber and consumes less than 140W per 100Gbps. Similar to any other Arista platform, the DWDM line card utilizes the single binary image of Arista’s extensible operating system (EOS). Line cards with CFP2 and QSFP support standard 100G for both single and multimode fiber for distance up to 40 km.

Why Need 100G DWDM Solution?

100G optical transceivers provide the most straightforward method to connect 100G traffic over long-hual applications. 100G optics like CFP and QSFP28 offer cost-optimized solutions for connecting 100G switches together in a rack or data center. Nevertheless, the small and cost-effective QSFP28 100G optics now can only handle connections over distances of less than 10 km. For example, QSFP28 LR4 is compliant with 100GBASE-LR4 standard that operates over duplex LC cables for a link length of 10 km.

As to the CFP form factors, coherent CFP modules is designed to support metro and long-hual DWDM applications. CFP 100GbASE-ER4 can support up to 40 km. However, owing to its large size and high power consumption, CFP transceivers are less popular on the market. If you want to use CFP optics for 100G deployment, keep in mind, CFP modules are too large to fit in the Ethernet switches and will significantly reduce port counts and increase power usage, making 100G switches poor performance in cost-effectiveness. Therefore, customers who want to upgrade 100G network can only cover a distance of 10 km, which is obviously insufficient for geographically separated data centers or metro infrastructures. Figure 2 shows the basics of DWDM system.

DWDM-System

To realize 100G long-distance transmission, Arista 100G DWDM solution combines DWDM optics with a fully passive Mux/Demux system that can handle up to 3,000 km. Arista 100G DWDM solution is a 6 x 100G Coherent DWDM line card for the 7500E series with integrated wire-speed encryption and analog coherent CFP2 optical interfaces. Several use cases for the Arista 7500E Series DWDM card in multi-site data center networks exist. The following sections identify three use cases for Arista 7500E DWDM solutions.

Use Cases for Arista 7500E DWDM Solution
  • Use Case 1—Less Than 80KM Dark Fiber Connection

For a typical metro link that is less than 80 km, Arista 7500E Series DWDM line cards can directly terminate a dark fiber connection providing a point-to-point connection between two locations.

DWDM solution for 80 km

Just as figure 3 shows, Arista DWDM solution is ideal for metro applications transmitting up to 9.6Tbps traffic without the need for any additional amplification.

  • Use Case 2—Greater Than 80 km But Less Than 150 km

When extending the distance beyond 80 km, there is a need to amplify the signal to offset heavy signal loss that occurred in the light signal when passing through fiber cables, patch panels and other optical devices. Under this circumstance, EDFA’s or Erbium Doped Fiber Attenuators are employed to give the aggregated wave a boost.

100G DWDM solution about 100 km

By using EDFAs (seen in Figure 4) to the transmit side of each end of the dark fiber link, the signal can be boosted to achieve distances of up to 150 km. Exact distances will be dependent on the number of patches, fiber splices and quality of the fiber.

  • Use Case 3—Greater Than 150 km But Less Than 3,000 km

Arista 7500E DWDM solutions can also cover the distance of greater than 150 km but less than 3000 km. Employing further EDFAs at a spacing of approximately 80 km along the fiber route allows the length of a connection to be extended to over 3,000 km. As shown below, EDFAs are used on both paths to boost the signal.

DWDM solution for 3000 km

Supported Optics for Arista 7500E Series

All Arista 10G SFP+ transceivers, with the exception of LRM, are supported on the Arista 7500E SFP+ ports.

Interface Type SFP+ ports
10GBASE-CR 0.5m-5m
10GBASE-AOC 3m-30m
10GBASE-SRL 100m (OM3) / 150m (OM4)
SFP-10G-SR 300m (OM3) /400m (OM4)
SFP-10G-LRL 1km
SFP-10G-LR 10km
SFP-10G-ER 40km
10GBASE-DWDM 80km
SFP-10G-ZR100 100km
100Mb TX, 1GbE SX/LX/TX Yes

The 40G QSFP+ transceivers and cables allow for 4x10G mode support with the use of fiber breakout cables, MTP to LC cassettes, or QSFP to SFP+ cables. See the below table for details on the latest supported 40G transceivers.

Interface Type QSFP+ ports
40GBASE-CR4 0.5m-5m
40GBASE-AOC 3m-100m
QSFP-40G-UNIV 150m (OM3) / 150m (OM4), 500m (SM)
QSFP-40G-SRBD 100m (OM3) /150m (OM4)
QSFP-40G-SR4 100m (OM3) / 150m (OM4)
QSFP-40G-XSR4 300m (OM3) / 400m (OM4)
QSFP-40G-PLRL4 1km (1km 4x10G LR/LRL)
QSFP-40G-PLR4 10km (10km 4x10G LR/LRL)
QSFP-40G-LRL4 1km
QSFP-40G-LR4 10km
QSFP-40G-ER4 40km

100G QSFP28 and CFP2 Optics

Interface Type 100G CFP2 Ports 100G QSFP Ports
100GBASE-XSR10 300m OM3 / 400m OM4 Parallel MMF
100GBASE-SR4 100m OM3 / 150m OM4 Parallel MMF
100GBASE-LR4 10km SM Duplex 10km SM Duplex
100GBASE-LRL4 2km SM Duplex
100GBASE-ER4 40km SM Duplex
100GBASE-CWDM4 2km SM duplex
100GBASE-PSM4 500m SM Parallel
100GBASE-AOC 3m to 30m
100GBASE-CR4 1m to 3m
Conclusion

Arista 7500E DWDM solution works in conjunction with passive Optical Mux/Demux devices and in-line amplifiers to support additional bandwidth and extended reaches. Arista 7500E DWDM solution can directly reach up to 80 km without requiring in-line amplification, which is ideal for metro applications. With an Optical Signal to Noise ratio (OSNR) of 11.6dB, it can be used effectively for point to point long-haul applications up to 3,000kms with in-line amplifiers and multiplexers.

Related article : How to Deploy QSFP28 Modules for 100G Deployment

SFP and SFP+ Compatibility Issues

Recently, People have gotten the question about whether I can use the SFP transceivers in a 10g SFP slot. Users who purchase a 10G switch wondered if they could use SFP modules in the SFP+ slot (since they both have the same size and use the LC connectors) to achieve 1G data rate. Or can I use the SFP+ modules in SFP slot to have the 10G data links? To deal with this doubt, researches have been made to provide the objective solutions here.

In Most Cases, SFP Can be Plugged into SFP+ Ports

If you are asking if an SFP+ port will accept an SFP, then the answer is almost certainly yes. Not all SFP transceivers will be compatible with all devices though. Some device makers require that the SFP or SFP+ transceiver have a branded firmware on it. That is why some SFPs are marketed as Cisco brand or HP brand or Dell brand or whatever. The hardware is all from the same Chinese factory but before they are shipped they are loaded with a firmware that marks them as being compatible with a particular brand of device. You don’t need the same brand of transceiver at both ends unless you use the same brand of switch on both ends. The transceiver should be purchased to be compatible with the device you are inserting it into (not connecting the cable to). This isn’t always necessary, only some devices have strict compatibility requirements. However, you really never know until it is too late so make sure you buy your SFPs from somewhere that will assure the compatibility and has a good return policy.

sfp-10g

The most I have had to do to make an SFP work in an SFP+ slot is to configure the interface before inserting the SFP. Sometimes you have to tell the switch/router vendors that the port is going to run at 1000 megabit before you insert the SFP.

SFP+ Can’t Auto-negotiate to Support SFP Module

Most SFP+ ports accept SFP optics, but it can’t auto negotiation to the 1G SFP modules. In fact, most (95+%) SFPs and SFP+s will only run at the rated speed, no more, no less. Besides, there is no such thing as a SFP+ that does 1G on one side (towards the fiber) and then does 10G on another side (towards the unit). Though we can use SFP in SFP+ ports in many cases, that doesn’t mean a SFP+ plugged into the SFP port can support 1G. For example, a Cisco Meraki SFP-10GB-SR can only support 10G data rate plugging into a SFP+ slots in the 10G switch.

1g-connect-to-10g

Additionally, in a fiber link, if we plug a SFP in the SFP+ port on one side (1G), and then plug a SFP+ in the SFP+ port on the another side (10G), this may not work! You just can’t have 10 GbE at one end and 1 GbE at the other. For this question, if you use SFP+ copper twinax cable, it also can’t negotiate down to 1G.

Conclusion

To sum up, the SFP+ slots will take 1Gb SFP optics though, SFP modules can not be connected with SFP+ optics. And make sure you use the same fiber link at the both ends in a fiber optic network. This is actually a complex question, there is no exact answer now. Always remember to talk with your vendors first before making the next move, or you will end up with an error. FS.COM as a professional telecom supplier, offers a full range of optical devices including fiber optic cables, optical transceivers (SFP/SFP+/QSFP+/CFP, etc.), fiber patch panels, DAC/AOC cables. If you want to know more about our company, please contact us directly.