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Mikrotik Vs Ubiquiti – Which One is Better for Home Network?

Ubiquiti Networks and Mikrotik were the rising stars in telecom field for the past year and a half, I have heard various fiber optic technicians telling me that Ubiquiti is better suited wireless applications while Mikrotik is excellent at what it does best—routers. As the cheap and reliable alternative to Cisco expensive equipment, Mikrotik has a learning curve not many can endure and Uniquiti, famous for its 1G/10G Unifi Switches, also has its limits. So, how to make a choice between them? This article will offer detailed information about Ubiquiti and Mikrotik in terms of target markets, price point as well as their pros and cons, from the perspective of a long-time Ubiquiti and Mikrotik user.

Mikrotik Vs Ubiquiti

Target Markets

After looking around at their website, You must admit the Ubiquiti website is a bit better than the Mikrotik site. But, there is no way to say witch one is better? Each of them are making some unique products.

Founded in 1996, MikroTik is a Latvian company aimed to develop routers and wireless ISP systems. Mikrotik offers a complete solution for wireless connectivity needs from the mANTBox, SXT, LHG, DynaDish to hAP AC. And they are also famous for their router devices. Mikrotik even launch the Mikrotik academy by expanding RouterOS learning possibilities for educational institutions.

While Ubiquiti Networks is offering Unifi series devices and its wireless accessories. UBNT has Unifi series, setting up WIFI network could not be easier, range and performance is superior. For detailed information about Unifi switches and its compatible optical transceivers, please see this article.

All in all, in noisy environment, UBNT is more stable and reliable due to its good antenna design, where Mikrotik devices are reconnecting constantly. Mikrotik have CCR routers, they are performing great, there was DDoS attack targeted to my customers network, CCR12G CPU where running at 80%, but did not crashed.

Unifi Switches Or Mirotik Routers

UBNT Unifi Switches and Mirotik Routers are the hot selling products. Both of the two hardware providers are widely deployed in WISP networks, and their switches and routers are software based which are 1/10 or less of the cost of the equivalent Cisco/Juniper products.

  • UBNT Unifi Switches

Ubiquiti offers an amazing price for wired speed switching, especially their Edgeswitch, Unifi switches, and Edgerouter. Their Edgerouter solutions seem to be faster than Mikrotiks solutions. UBNT are no longer providing the Edgeswitch series switches.

US-8 Managed Gigabit Switches

Ubiquiti UniFi Switch is available with either 8, 16, 24 or 48 RJ45 Gigabit ports at either 250 or 750 watts. The UniFi Switch delivers robust performance, PoE+ support, and intelligent switching for growing networks. The UniFi switch targets the Enterprise / SMB market, which is designed for a wider IT audience, and therefore, tend to be simpler, and easier to use. For its total, non-blocking throughput, the 24port model supports up to 26 Gbps, while the 48-port model supports up to 70 Gbps. The above image shows the US-8 8-port managed Gigabit switches with PoE Passthrough.

  • Mirotik Routers

Mikrotik also makes routers and switches and supports advanced features such as MPLS. Ubiquiti routers use Cavium chips so they are not 100% software solutions, having a bit of programmable hardware support. Although most Mikrotik products are 100% software-based, their flagship router nowadays, CCR, also has similar hardware acceleration from Tilera.

CCR1016 is an industrial grade router with a cutting edge 16 core Tilera CPU. The CCR1016-12S-1S+ seen in the below image, comes with redundant power supplies and one RJ45 SFP 10/100/1000M copper module. It has 12 SFP Ports and one SFP+ port for 10G connectivity.

Mikrotik-Cloud-Core-Router

Wireless and BRAS-type solutions under RouterOS work fine, but routing has been a challenge since they moved from Quagga to XORP due to licensing issues; Mikrotik uses a lot of open source but published very little code, drawing extensive criticism from the open-source community. Although it’s unknown to me if they are still using XORP, whatever they use still has flaws.

FS.COM Enterprise Network Solution

FS.COM, as an optical solution expert, provides Ethernet switches, enterprise WiFi, power cords, and video converters, etc. Our Ethernet switches are ranging from 1G to 100G. Just take S3800 series switches as an example, This switch features 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports, 4, 32 or 48 SFP+ ports and 40G/100G ports, which provides smooth upgrading to high-speed network. FS.COM S5850-48S2Q4C switch is equipped with 48 SFP+ ports, 2 QSFP+ ports and 4 QSFP28 ports providing 960Gbps non-blocking bandwidth and 1200Mpps L2/L3 throughput.

S5850-48S2Q4C

Not only the Ethernet switches, we also supplies 100G QSFP28 transceivers, QSFP optical transceivers, SFP+ optics and data center jumpers with great variety and 100% assured tested. Customers can buy a whole series of devices in our online store.

Conclusion

There is no winner between Mikrotik and Ubiquiti Networks, none of them are better or worse, there is different tasks and problems, and different solutions for them. Choose product according your needs, not by brand! Besides FS.COM would be a great option,too. Thank you for your reading, if you are interested in this topic, please leave your comment here.

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.

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.

Comparison Between Different Fiber Optic Cable Types

Nowadays more and more fiber-based networks have been built in the backbone and risers environment. Both multimode and single-mode fibers are available for the applications. But different fiber types have briefly different limitations for speed and maximum distance. These characteristics they possess and the way cause the fiber to operate determine the application to which a given fiber is most appropriate. Today’s article will offer you some information about the classification of fiber optic cables and the difference in speed and distances.

Difference Between OM Multimode Fibers

Multimode fibers, according to the specification and briefly by their bandwidth performance are commonly classified into OM1, OM2, OM3 and OM4. Each multimode type has different transmission data rates, link length and bandwidth for specific protocols, applications and transceiver types. Table 1 outlines the international standards organization classification for multimode fiber which describe the strength for speed and distance.

multimode-fiber

From the above table, we can see that OM1 is the 62.5-micron fiber, while OM2/OM3/OM4 are the 50-micron multimode fibers. OM1 multimode fiber was used to be the most common multimode fibers in the 80’s and 90’s. However, it is generated accepted that OM1 will soon be obsolete for the lowest data carrying capacity and shortest distance limitations as compared with other multimode fibers. As for the 50-micron multimode fibers, they are the most commonly used fiber types today, especially the OM3 and OM4 cables. Why do the multimode fibers with a smaller diameter have better performance than the large one? Please read on.

In terms of the performance in 50-micron and 62.5-micron multimode fibers, the difference lies in the fibers’ bandwidth, or the signal-carrying capacity. Bandwidth is actually specified as a bandwidth-distance product with units of MHz-km that depends on the data rate. As the data rate goes up (MHz), the distance that rate can be transmitted (km) goes down. Thus, a higher fiber bandwidth can enable you to transmit at higher data rates or for longer distances. For example, 50-micron multimode fiber offers nearly three times more bandwidth (500 MHz-km) than FDDI-grade 62.5-micron fiber (160 MHz-km) at 850 nm.

While fiber bandwidth is a critical factor in determining link length and data rate, transmitter and receiver characteristics also matters. For 850-nm Gigabit Ethernet, these bandwidth values support link lengths of 220 meters over 62.5-micron fiber and 550 meters over 50-micron fiber. For example, Cisco GLC-SX-MM operating at 850-nm can support a link distance of 550 m over 50-micron fiber (OM2). Today, the 850-nm operating window is increasingly important, as low-cost 850-nm lasers such as verti cal-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) are becoming widely available for network applications. VCSELs offer users the ability to extend data rates at a lower cost than long-wavelength lasers. Since 50-micron multimode fiber has higher bandwidth in the 850-nm window, it can support longer distances using these lower-cost VCSELs. Thus, 50-micron multimode fiber is more suitable for fiber backbones running Gigabit Ethernet and higher-speed protocols over longer distances.

Multimode vs. Single-mode Fibers

Single-mode fiber, owing to the more expensive electronics required in the network, is usually used for much greater-reach applications but not a cost-effective investment for future application in building. As the multimode fibers can be divided into OM1, OM2, OM3 and OM4 fiber types, single-mode fibers usually come in OS1 and OS2 fibers. For the detailed information, please look at the article “The Truth About OS1 and OS2 Optical Fiber”.

Jacket color is sometimes a simple method to distinguish multimode cables from single-mode ones. The standard TIA-598C recommends, for non-military applications, the use of a yellow jacket for single-mode fiber, and orange or aqua for multimode fiber, depending on type as you can seen in the Figure 2.

fiber-optic-cable

Besides the jacket color, the difference between multimode and single-mode optical fiber (9-mircon core) is that the former has much larger core diameter; much larger than the wavelength of the light carried in it. Because of the large core and the possibility of large numerical aperture, multimode fiber has higher “light-gathering” capacity than single-mode fiber. In practical terms, the larger core size simplifies connections and also allows the use of lower-cost electronics such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs) which operate at the 850 nm and 1300 nm wavelength (single-mode fibers used in telecommunications typically operate at 1310 or 1550 nm). However, compared to single-mode fibers, the bandwidth & distance product limit of multimode fiber is lower. Because multimode fiber has a larger core-size than single-mode fiber, it supports more than one propagation mode; hence it is limited by modal dispersion, while single mode is not.

fiber-cable-type

The light sources used in these two cable types also plays a critical role in the performances. The LED light source sometimes used with multimode fiber produce a range of wavelengths and these each propagate at different speeds. This chromatic dispersion is another limit to the useful length for multimode fiber optic cable. In contrast, the lasers used to drive single-mode fibers produce coherent light of a single wavelength. Due to the modal dispersion, multimode fiber has higher pulse spreading rates than single mode fiber, limiting multimode fiber’s information transmission capacity. Thus, single-mode fibers are often used in high-precision scientific research because restricting the light to only one propagation mode allows it to be focused to an intense, diffraction-limited spot.

Conclusion

The growth in subscribers’ demand for more sophisticated electronics and web-connected services increases the requirement for information storage and cloud technology. End-users also want to know how to choose the right cable type for your network application. Therefore , I hope after reading this article you might have learned something from it.

How to Choose Between Coaxial Cable, Twisted Pair and Fiber Optic Cables?

As enterprises are striving for high reliability and performance as well as seamless data access and reporting, industrial networks are becoming more sophisticated. In terms of cabling solutions, it is essential to use the industrial Ethernet cable to achieve reliable performance. However, with so many fiber optics for sale, to select a right cable for broadband connection services is challenging. Coaxial cables and twisted pair or fiber optic cables are available for network connectivity. So which one is an ideal choice, coaxial cable or twisted pair cable? Is the fiber optic cable that fits your needs most? This article outlines the coaxial cable, twisted cable and fiber optic cables to help you select the right cable for your network.

Describing Coaxial Cable

Coaxial cable, or coax cable, is a single wire usually copper wrapped in a foam insulation. Because of its insulating property, coaxial cable can carry analogy signals with a wide range of frequencies. Thus it is widely used in feedlines connecting radio transmitters and receivers with their antennas, computer network connections, digital audio (S/PDIF), and distributing cable television signals. Over time, the industry settled on two characteristic coaxial cable impedances for the vast majority of applications: 50 Ohm and 75 Ohm.

coaxial_cable

The above figure shows the internal structure of the coaxial cables. In the middle of the coaxial cable is what is known as the center conductor. It can be made of either solid or stranded wire and is typically a mix of Aluminum and Copper. Surrounding the center conductor is something called the dielectric. The dielectric acts as a buffer of sorts to keep the center conductor isolated and straight. It usually is comprised of some blend of plastic and/or foam. Finally, on the outside of the dielectric is the coaxial cable’s shield, which is usually a combination of Copper and Aluminum foil and/or wire braid. The shield is then coated by something like PVC to insulate it from the environment.

Twisted Pair Cable Overview

Twisted pair cable is a type of copper wiring in which two conductors of a single circuit are twisted together. The twisting feature can avoid noise from outside sources and crosstalk on multi-pair cables, so this cable is best suited for carrying signals. Generally it comes in two versions: Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) and Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP). STP is commonly used in Token Ring networks and UTP in Ethernet networks. Besides STP and UTP cables, twisted pair cables can be alao found in Categories cable. For instance, Cat 6 twisted pair cables are used for 1000BASE-T and 10GBASE-T networks. The image below displays the STP and UTP cables.

stp-utp-cable

Finally Comes to Fiber Optic Cable

A fiber optic cable is a cable containing one or more optical fibers. Fiber optic cables often contain several silica cores, and each fiber can accommodate many wavelengths (or channels), allowing fiber to meet ever-increasing data capacity requirements. When terminated with LC/SC/ST/FC/MTRJ/MU/SMA connectors on both ends, fiber optic cables can achieve fiber link connection between equipment during fiber cabling. Nowadays, two types of fiber optic cables are widely adopted in the field of data transfer—single mode fiber optic cables and multimode fiber optic cables. Take LC to ST fiber cable for example, the LC to ST 10G OM4 multimode fiber cable (seen in the below image) is utilized for 10G short-reach applications, while the LC to ST single-mode fiber cable can be used for long-reach application.

lc-to-st-om4-fiber-cable

Comparison Between These Cables

When considering which kind of fiber cable is appropriate for network services, one thing you should keep in mind that each type of cable has its unique advantages and disadvantages concerning about these factors—cost, speed, security, reliability, bandwidth, data carrying-capacity, and so on.

Coaxial Cable can be installed easily, relatively resistant to interference. However, it is bulky and just ideal for short length because of its high attenuation. It would be expensive over long-distance data transmission. While Twisted Pair Cable is most flexible and cheapest among three kinds of cables, easy to install and operate. But it also encounters attenuation problem and offers relatively low bandwidth. In addition, it is susceptible to interference and noises.

As for fiber optic cables, it is treated as the most popular mediums for both new cabling installations and upgrades, including backbone, horizontal, and even desktop applications. Compared with the other two cables, fiber optic cable is small in size and light in weight, and the conductor is glass which means that no electricity can flow through. In addition, fiber cable is immune to electromagnetic interference. The biggest advantage of fiber optic cable is that it can transmit a big amount of data with low loss at high speeds over long distance. Nevertheless, it needs complicated installing skills, difficult to work with and expensive in the short run.

Conclusion

With all the features and disadvantages of the cables listed above, it is time for for you to make your won choice. Note that the cost of the cable is compared to the high costs of network failure, which can be thousands of dollars per minute. Therefore it is make sense to choose and install the right cable for your LAN network. FS.COM provides a full range of fiber optics including the cables, optical transceivers, patch panels, and fiber enclosures, etc. Other cables such as Cat 5e, Cat 6, Cat 6A are also available for your copper networks. Welcome to visit FS.COM for more detailed information.

Difference Between Twisted Pair Cable and Coaxial Cable

A wire or cable is an indispensable element in communication system for connecting optical devices like optical transceivers, router and switch. Recently the most common cable types deployed in communication system are fiber optic cable, twisted pair cable and coaxial cable. Both twisted pair cable and coaxial cable are copper cables, so what’s the difference between them? This article may help you sort it out.

Twisted Pair

Twisted pair cables as the names implies, consists of a pair of cables twisted together, which has been utilized in telecommunication field for a long time. The twisting can avoid noise from outside sources and crosstalk on multi-pair cables, so this cable is best suited for carrying signals. Basically, twisted pair cable can be divided into two types: unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) and shielded twisted-pair (STP).

twisted-pair

UTP is for UNshielded, twisted pair, while STP is for shielded, twisted pair. UTP is what’s typically installed by phone companies and data communication (though this is often not of high enough quality for high-speed network use) and is what 10BaseT Ethernet runs over. However, STP distinguishes itself from UTP in that it consists of a foil jacket which helps to prevent crosstalk and noise from outside source. It is typically used to eliminate inductive and capacitive coupling, so it can be applied between equipment, racks and buildings.

Coaxial Cables

Coaxial cable is composed of an inner solid conductor surrounded by a paralleled outer foil conductor that is protected by an insulating layer. A coaxial cable has over 80 times the transmission capability of the twisted-pair. Coaxial cable has also been the mainstay of high speed communication and has also been applied to network with 10 Gigabit links data centers, because it is proved to be cost efficient for short links within 10 m and for residential network.

coax cable

Comparison Between Twisted Cable and Coaxial Cable

Most people now are quite familiar with what coaxial cables are, as they are used in almost every home for cable television connections. These data cables are also popular in local area networks (LAN) because they are highly resistant to signal interference, which also gives coax cables the ability to support longer cable lengths between two devices.

The biggest advantage of twisted cables is in installation, as it is often thinner than coaxial cables and two conductors are twisted together. However, because they are thinner, they can not support very long runs. These tightly twisted designs cost less than coaxial cables and provide high data transmission rates. They connect with the RJ45 connector, which looks similar to a telephone jack but is designed for twisted pair pins.

In the end, twisted pair cabling is better suited when cost and installation are an issue and if EMI and crosstalk are not too much of a problem. But for coaxial cable, it supports greater cable lengths, and can be shielded in a variety of ways—with a foil shield on each conductor, a foil or braid inside the jacket or a combination of individual conductor and jacket shielding.

Additional Information About Fiber Optic Cables

Besides Twisted and coaxial cables, here comes a new generation of transmission media—fiber jumper. Fiber optic cables have a much greater bandwidth than metal cables, which means they can carry more data. They are also less susceptible to interference. For these two reasons, fiber optic cables are increasingly being used instead of traditional copper cables despite that they are expensive. Nowadays, two types of fiber optic cables are widely adopted in the field of data transfer—single mode fiber optic cables and multimode fiber optic cables.

LC-SC fiber patch cable

Single mode optical fiber is generally adapted to high speed, long-distance applications. While a multimode optical fiber is designed to carry multiple light rays, or modes at the same time, which is mostly used for communication over short distances. Optical fiber cables are also available in various optical connectors, such as LC to SC patch cord, LC to ST fiber cable, SC FC patch cord, etc. The picture above shows a LC to SC patch cord.

Conclusion

Some engineers confirm that fiber optic cables is sure to be the dominant transmission media in telecommunication field, while others hold that copper cables will not be out of the stage. Thus, whether to choose fiber optic cables, twisted cables or coaxial cables, it is advisable for you to have a full understanding of your application before selecting these data cables. All types of Ethernet cables as well as fiber optic cables are provided at FS.COM. Our Quick Order Tool will help you find what you need. If you have any requirement of our products, please send your request to us.

A Quick Lesson in Fiber Optics

Fiber optics, with its high bandwidth capacities and low attenuation characteristics, is considered to be the ideal building equipment in the telecommunication field. Depending on the type of application and the reach to be achieved, various types of optical fiber may be considered and deployed. This article is devoted to provide solutions to the questions about fiber optic cables. After going through the whole passage, you might form a basic understanding of optical cables.

What Is an Optical Fiber?

Core and cladding are the two main elements of an optical fiber. The core as shown in the image below, is the axial part of the optical fiber made of silica glass, which is the light transmission area of the fiber. The cladding is the layer completely surrounding the core. The refractive index of the core is higher than that of the cladding, so that light in the core strikes the interface with the cladding at a bouncing angle, gets trapped in the core by total internal reflection, and keeps traveling in the proper direction down the length of the fiber to its destination.

internal structure of fiber optics

There is usually another layer, called a coating surrounding the cladding that typically consists of protective polymer layers applied during the fiber drawing process, before the fiber contacts any surface. As we all known, the most typical types of fiber optic cable are MM fiber patch cords and single mode fiber optic cables.

How Do Fiber Optics Work?

Fiber optics use light pulses to transmit signals from one end to another. Light passes through the optical cable, bouncing off the cladding until it reaches the other end of the fiber channel, which is called total internal reflection. The diameter of the core corresponds directly with the angle of reflection.

As this diameter increases, the light requires more reflections and a greater amount of time to travel a given distance. For example, single mode fiber optic cable has a smaller diameter core which makes itself suitable for long distance, higher bandwidth runs. Multimode fiber, however, has a larger diameter core and is more commonly used in shorter cable runs.

What You Need to Know About Optical Fiber?

Attenuation and Wavelength

Light is gradually attenuated when it is propagated along the fiber. The attenuation value is expressed in dB/km. It is a function of the wavelength (λ), meaning that the operating wavelength to transmit a signal in an optical fiber is not any wavelength. It corresponds to a minimum of attenuation.

The typical operating wavelengths that light sources have been developed for are 850 nm and 1300 nm in multimode, and 1310 nm and 1550 nm in single mode. For a 850 nm operating wavelength, there is a 3dB light attenuation after 1 km propagation. 3 dB means that half of the light has been lost.

Bandwidth

Bandwidth is a measure of the data-carrying capacity of an optical fiber. For example, a fiber with a bandwidth of 500 MHz.km (Mega-hertz kilometer) can transmit data at a rate of 500 MHz along one kilometer. Bandwidth in single mode fibers is much higher than in multimode fibers.

How to Link Two Optical Fibers?

Fusion Splice

This operation usually needs a fusion splicer to accomplish the process. In this method, optical technician directly links two fibers together by welding with an electric arc, by aligning best possible both fiber cores. Compared with other method, this linking method is fast and relatively simple to make. And the light loss generated by the welding, due to an imperfect alignment of the cores, remains very weak.

However, just as the coin has two sides, this link method has drawbacks. In spite of a protection of fusion by a heat-shrinkable tube, this type of link is relatively fragile. It is a permanent link. What’s worst, the fusion splicer is usually very expensive.

Use of Connectors

In this case, it is necessary to terminate a connector at each end of the fibers to be connected. The two fibers can then be connected by connecting the two connectors together. The following picture shows a SC fiber patch cord.

SC fiber patch cord

Just as the following picture shows, this type of connection is robust. The type of connector can be chosen according to the application field of the system. Unlike fusion splice, this connection is removable. It is possible to connect and disconnect two fibers hundreds to thousands times without damaging the connectors. But the implementation is longer than fusion, and requires an experiment as well as specific tools. Furthermore, the light loss due to connection is higher than in the splicing solution.

Why to Choose Fiber Optics?

The main advantages of fiber optics are the followings:

  • Lower loss: Optical fiber has lower attenuation than copper conductors, allowing longer cable runs and fewer repeaters.
  • Increased bandwidth: The high signal bandwidth of optical fiber provides a significantly greater information-carrying capacity. Typical bandwidths for multimode fibers are between 200 and 600 MHz.km, and > 10 GHz.km for singlemode fibers. Typical values for electrical conductors are 10 to 25 MHz.km.
  • Immunity to interference: Optical fibers are immune to electromagnetic and radio frequency interference and also emit no radiation themselves.
  • No detection: Standard fiber optic cables are dielectric, so they cannot be detected by any type of detector.
  • Electrical isolation: Fiber optics allows to transmit information between two points at two different electrical potentials, and also next to high voltage equipments.
  • Decreased size and weight: Compared to copper conductors of equivalent signal-carrying capacity, fiber optic cables are easier to install, require less duct space, and weight about 10 to 15 times less.

Conclusion

The Internet nowadays is largely based around optical fiber. For those who do not understand fiber optics, they will have confusion and misconceptions when working with fiber optic networks. This article probably will not make you an optical engineer, but it will guide you to touch on a little bit of every topics, from the theoretical to the practical even if you aren’t designing optical networks. FS.COM offers s variety of fiber optic cables with the highest quality and low price. If you are interested, you can contact us.