Cabling Guide for Cisco Nexus 9508 Switch

Due to the the ever-expanding data center consolidation, virtualization and cloud technologies, network installers feel the urge to maintain a competitive advantage of their infrastructure. Except for the performance, bandwidth and latency in datacenter cabling, management and operational agility and simplicity have also elevated themselves to the top mind of data center architects and operator. Cisco Nexus 900 series represents a familiar starting point on the journey toward a new era in software-defined network, which is announced to be the most port dense and power efficient plus fastest packet forwarder and programmable data center modular switch in the industry. This article introduces basic information of Cisco Nexus 9000 series and the cabling solutions for Nexus 9508 switch.

Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switch

According to Cisco’s announcement, the Nexus 9000 Series switch is the foundation of the Cisco next generation data center solution. The Cisco Nexus 9000 Series switch contains two main branches including the Nexus 9300 series fixed switches and Nexus 9500 series modular switches. Of particular interest is the Nexus 9508 of 9500 series, which is impressive in terms of performance, power efficiency, 10/40GbE and future 100GbE port density, programming environment and orchestration attributes. The following image shows the inner structure of the Cisco Nexus 9508 switch.

inner sructure of Cisco 9500 switch

Cisco Nexus 9508 can offer up to 8 line cards slots with a comprehensive selection of modular line cards in a 13RU space. There are totally three line card options available: 48 port 1/10GbE SFP+ with four 40GbE QSFP+, 48 port 1/10GBASE-T with four 40GbE QSFP+ and 36 port 40GbE QSFP+ full line rate. The 1/10GbE line cards provide 640 Gbps of line rate capacity. And the 40GbE line card is based on QSFP+ form factor. From a network design perspective, the Cisco Nexus 9508 switch can be configurable with up to 1152 10 Gigabit Ethernet or 288 40 Gigabit Ethernet ports, which is very helpful for 10GbE & 40GbE migration.

Main Features of Cisco Nexus 9508 Switch

The Cisco Nexus 9508 is a versatile data center switching platform that can host 10, 40, and future 100 Gigabit Ethernet interfaces. Other than this, the switch also has other unique features:

Predictable high performance—The switch delivers 30 Tbps of non-blocking performance with latency of less than 5 microseconds, enabling data center customers to build a robust network fabric that can scale from as few as 200 10 Gigabit Ethernet server ports to more than 200,000 10 Gigabit Ethernet server ports.

Nonblocking, high-density 1 to 10 & 10 to 40 Gigabit Ethernet transition—The Cisco Nexus 9500 platform helps organizations transition from existing 1 Gigabit Ethernet Cisco Catalyst®6500 series switches server access designs to 10 Gigabit Ethernet server access designs with the same port density. And it can also helps organizations transition from 1 and 10 Gigabit Ethernet infrastructure to 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet infrastructure to support the increased bandwidth demands.

Advanced optics—This switch can directly use the pluggable 40 Gigabit Ethernet QSFP+ bidirectional transceiver that enables customers to use existing 10 Gigabit Ethernet data center cabling to support 40 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity.

Highly available, scalable, and robust solution—All major components are redundant, including supervisors, system controllers, power supplies, and fan trays. The switch line cards use a mix of merchant and Cisco application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) to produce a low-complexity, low-cost design. All buffer memory is integrated into the forwarding ASICs, avoiding the need for a large number of external memory modules.

All transceivers are pluggable to support the highest possible mean time between failure (MTBF) for the switch. What’s more, the flexible and efficient chassis design has 100% headroom for future expansion with the capability to support more bandwidth and cooling and twice the number of power supplies needed to support today’s maximum configuration.

Power efficiency—The Cisco Nexus 9500 platform is the first switch chassis designed without a midplane. Line cards and fabric modules connect directly. This design approach provides optimal front-to-back airflow and helps the switch operate using less power. In addition, all Cisco Nexus 9000 series power supplies are 80 Plus Platinum rated. The typical power consumption per 10 Gigabit Ethernet port is less than 3.5 watts (W). The typical power consumption of each 40 Gigabit Ethernet port is less than 14W.

QSFP+ Direct Attach Copper Cabling

As we all know, direct attach cables (DACs) are often used to connect two or more switches which are in the same rack or in the adjacent rack. This is done to reduce the cabling cost for which DACs are much cheaper than transceivers and fiber patch cords. The following figure shows a wiring option for a Cisco Nexus 9396 to Cisco Nexus 93128 using 40G QSFP+ to 40G QSFP+ DAC cabling assemblies.

QSFP+ DAC cables

40G QSFP+ to 4 x 10 SFP+ Interconnection

The Cisco Nexus 9508 switch can also be operated in 4×10 Gigabit Ethernet mode. If the interface is logically configured as a 4×10 Gigabit Ethernet port, then each port becomes four 10Gbqs port. This will be accomplished by using copper twinax, hydras or breakout cables. This scenario can be achieved by connecting a Cisco Nexus 9000 Series Switch to a Cisco Nexus 2232 using a QSFP+ to four SFP+ copper hydra cable assembly.

QSFP+ to 4SFP+

40GE QSFP SR4/CSR4 Optics Cabling Options

Multimode fiber cabling is generally preferred when the distance between Cisco Nexus 9508 switch and other switches is less than 400 meters. In this circumstance, 40G QSFP+ SR4/CSR4 transceivers and MPO interconnect cable assemblies are often used. The following scenario shows how the Cisco Nexus 9508 switch is connected to Cisco Nexus 93128 switches with 40G QSFP+ SR4/CSR4 optics and MPO cable assemblies.


40GbE Connectivity With 40G BiDi Optics

As noted before, Cisco 40G SR-BiDi QSFP can be used in Cisco Nexus 9508 switch for 40G connectivity. The 40G BiDi QSFP multiplexes two 10GbE signals into one 20GbE stream and runs two 20GbE wavelengths on the optics side, and delivers a QSFP pluggable MSA compliant electric signal to the switch module, thereby only requiring the termination of a dual LC connector as used in 10GbE optical infrastructure. The SR-BiDi QSFP enables the re-use of existing 10GbE multimode fiber cable infrastructure plus patch cables as it supports the same LC connector. The SR-BiDi QSFP eliminates the cable infrastructure upgrade requirement of today’s 40GbE, which can lower capex of cabling and switch hardware. The following image shows the Cisco Nexus 9508 switch using 40G BiDi transceiver providing a zero-cost fiber cabling upgrade path for 10GbE to 40GbE.



Cisco is offering a practical way to transition to higher speed data center networking through favorable economics. With the use of Cisco Nexus 9508 switch, designers will embrace a new programmable network platform ready for the age of software-defined networking. FS.COM provides various 40G QSFP+ transceivers and fiber optic cable for the 40G connection of Cisco Nexus 9508 switch. 10G SFP+ transceivers and MPO/MTP-LC harness fiber patch cables for the 10G SFP+ to 40G QSFP+ direct connection are also provided. Please kindly contact us for more information.

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In-depth Understanding of LC Duplex Connectors

As one of the small form factor (SFF) field polish connectors, LC duplex connectors are widely used for equipment cross-connects or interconnects in backbone, horizontal and work area applications for high-speed data transmissions. They provide a solution for high-density telecommunication rooms, LANs (Local Area Networks), public networks and fiber-to-the-desk applications. While talking about LC duplex, most just think them as the small useful tools which allow fast and easy field termination for fiber optic connectivity. Actually, LC duplex connectors are more than what their design and appearance show. Their world are full of colors. This article guides the inner world of these LC duplex connectors from their several family members.

Standard LC Duplex

It’s known that the standard LC connector is developed by Lucent Technologies. Its connector body is squarish shape that is similar to SC connector, and has half the size of the SC. Standard LC duplex connectors are LC with a duplex configuration with a plastic clip. The fibers used to terminate in its 1.25mm ceramic ferrule can be both single-mode and multi-mode versions, such as LC to LC fiber patch cable single mode and LC LC multimode patch cord. Compared with SC, LC’s high-density design and 1.25mm ferrule double the port density, reducing space requirements on racks, enclosures, panels and faceplates. Nowadays, LC duplex connectors are still popular both in telcos and high bit rate LANs, etc..

LC to LC fiber patch cable single mode

Mini-LC Duplex

As a variation of standard LC duplex, the mini-LC duplex uses current industry-standard LC connectors, but allows closer ferrule spacing by using the duplex clip (usually with color coding)—mini-LC has a reduced center spacing of 5.25mm compared to a standard LC of 6.25 mm. This type of LC duplex connector is designed to operate with the Mini SFP modules and provide a higher density deployment for data center equipment.

Mini-LC Duplex vs. Standard LC Duplex

LC Duplex with Uniboot

LC duplex connector with uniboot is two LC connectors encased in a common housing with one boot, terminated on a single twin-fiber round cable. This type of connector is more compact compared to standard LC duplex. Fiber patch cables terminated with uniboot LC duplex connectors, are ideal for high-density cabling application since they reduce more fiber counts and greatly reduce cable management space. (The boots of an LC duplex connector can be configured with various versions according to different requirements. In addition to standard connector boots and uniboots, there are mini boots, BTW (Behind the Wall) boots, short boots, and 45 or 90 degree angel boots in the market.)

LC Duplex with Uniboot

LC-HD Duplex

In practical operation, it’s not easy to release the LC duplex connectors in patch panels, and sometimes thumbs and forefingers are not ideally suited to operate the release lever and pulling the connector. As such, LC-HD duplex connectors are designed to help deal with this issue. With a flexible “pull-tab” or “push-pull tab”, the LC-HD duplex connector can be disengaged easily from densely loaded panels without using the special tools which allows users easy accessibility in tight areas when deploying in data center high-density applications. Some types of LC-HD duplex connectors combine the advantages of uniboot, which make them more suitable to high-density cabling applications.


Keyed LC Duplex

Keyed LC duplex connectors are available in 12 colors, thus creating a colorful LC world. Each color of the keyed LC duplex connectors represents a unique keying pattern which only allows its matched color-coded adapter mating. This kind of LC duplex connector can help segregate or identify of parts or paths within a network infrastructure, as well as reducing the risk of accidental or malicious network access, particularly in shared access areas or in secure hierarchical environments.

Keyed LC duplex connectors

LC Duplex Connector Advantages

The LC duplex connector is designed in response to the growing needs for smaller and easier-to-use fiber optic connectivity. It simplifies moves, adds, and changes, and reduces installation time for field mountable connectors, time- and money-saving. Additionally, it doubles fiber density in shelves and outlets –lowering system costs again, as well as improves durability and reduces cross-connect rearrangement effort.


LC duplex connector uses an improved version of the familiar and user-friendly telephone plug, which provides a reassuring, audible click when engaged. The unique combination of small size and the click of connectivity makes the LC duplex the right choice for your network. With the increasing connectivity requirements. The family LC duplex connectors are sure to be enlarged. When you want to buy these connectors, Fiberstore is a good choice for many LC solutions. Besides LC solutions, SC solutions are also available for you,like SC patch cord, SC adapters, and so on. Visit Fiberstore for more information about LC and SC fiber optic solutions.

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