Why Recommend Fiber Over Copper in 2017?

2017 is coming in less than a month, looking back, in the communication field, the old remaining dilemma between fiber and copper is still left behind. People are struggling about whether they should hold on to the tried-and-tested copper cables that are sufficient so far, or make the leap into the future, and go fiber optic. From a technical perspective, the case for switching to fiber is growing ever stronger. Using a fiber system will lead to more bandwidth, reliability, less down time and end up saving you money. Today’s article will make you understand the trend for switching to fiber.


More Bandwidth, Faster and Longer

People are aware that fiber optics is winning out over copper because of its higher performance, namely more bandwidth, faster speed and longer link distance.

Bandwidth decides how much data you can receive and send. Copper cable that can be used for 10 Gigabit cabling, and 100 Gigabit cables is at the point of topping out, but these data rates can be sent only for very short distances between servers in data centers. While with fiber you can transmit more data over greater distances, and if you’re preparing for fiber now, you’ll also start to see remarkable differences in the not too distant future.


Have you ever though of the reason why fiber can transmit at higher speed for longer distances then copper cables? In short, copper cable uses the electric waves to carry the signal data, the phrase of the wave are modulated in sophisticated patterns to try and send as much data as possible through the continuous signal. This works well for low amount of data, but the copper cable will start to break down if you get to higher bandwidths and greater distances. As for fiber cable, it uses light to carry signals with transmitters and receivers at both ends. Light loses much less power than an electrical signal, so fiber can send data over much greater distances.

Fiber is More Reliable Than Copper

Besides the above reasons, another big reason that makes enterprises choose to use fiber other than copper is the reliability of the fiber optic system. If you put too many copper wires in close proximity, or just put them near any significant power sources, the signals can be easily interfered and read by others. Brazilian E-Voting machines were compromised using Van Eck Phreaking, with hackers able to read secret votes through these side-band electronic-magnetic emissions from the machines.

But fiber doesn’t suffer from the same problems as copper, so maintenance issues are rare. You can put multiple fiber optics next to each other and there won’t be any interference, and you can route them wherever in your building and they’ll still work perfectly. In fact, fiber can be routed through a building near power line conduits without any degradation of the signal. Therefore, it is not the good choice to still stay at copper wire because of its crosstalk where data from one wire gets mixed up with data on another.

Fiber is Safer

There are also safety issues, for people and equipment, with copper cabling which are no doubt at the forefront of your tech’s mind when they are telling you to go for a fiber installation. Any misconfiguration of your system, or out of the blue power surge, and having everything wired together with copper suddenly becomes a serious problem. For example, a lightening strike jumped through copper cabling between buildings, can destroy all the electrical equipment in both buildings.

Light doesn’t leak, and if it does you’ll know about it. Someone splicing into the fiber will leave a tell-tale signal as the attenuation will drop, just as when fiber is damaged. Using a testing technique called optical-time domain reflectometry, you can easily find where someone has spliced into the system and hunt the spies down!

In general, it’s also easier to test if something does goes wrong. The way light travels through glass is better understood than how electricity flows through copper, so any diagnostics are straightforward.

Fiber is More Flexible Than Copper

Fiber optic cable is composed of a thin, flimsy strand of glass, which is very delicate, needing installation by specialists in white gloves. And it can be destroyed by any clumsy-fingered techie thereafter. However, it is stronger than copper cables (made of a thick cord of metal).

Even though the fiber optic cable is lightweight and thin, it can be pulled through buildings with more force than copper, and can take a dunking in water, and is more flexible so can negotiate tricky building geography. All the while being lighter and thinner than copper, so it can be installed with more ease anywhere in your building.

Because it’s so lightweight and thin, it takes up less space, and is easier to handle. If you want to scale a copper wired system then you need more and more of bigger and bigger cabling. With an optical system, there is almost no difference in size between the diameter and weight of different size fibers, and because a smaller fiber can carry so much more data than copper cables, you need less overall.

Fiber Will Cost You Less

When people suggest you switching to fiber, you might not think that they take budget into account, but in the long run, fiber optic system will cost your company less.

Because fiber is more resilient, there is less downtime on the network. Because of all the maintenance and legacy issues with copper wires, you’ll always have downtime while an ISP technician is down a manhole somewhere splicing together copper cables that have been damaged.

There’s also less hardware to go with the fiber optic system. Because data can be transmitted over fiber for longer distances, you don’t need the extra power boosters, junctions, and terminals that are needed for copper cabling. Your fiber can be brought directly to your office with no need for multiple connections.

Fiber is new technology that is constantly evolving and a hot area of research. We believe that in 2017, fiber optic based system will be more popular among users.

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Four Aspects About Multi-mode Fibers

Data centers are never ceased their steps to bring greater speed and efficiency to telecommunication and datacoms industries. An enormous amount of data is transmitted, gathered and analyzed everyday, all which requires a vast number of high-bandwidth interconnections between data centers, and people. During these interconnections, fiber optic cables see their heaviest use.

Fiber optic cables can deliver more bandwidth for voice, video and data applications, and carry thousands of times more information than copper wire. With fiber optic cables, reliable and secure data transmission is ensured. Fiber optic cables are available in single-mode and multi-mode versions based on transmission mode standard. This article puts its focus on the latter version: multi-mode fiber (MMF), discussing MMF from its core size attenuation, bandwidth and manufacturing ways.

MMF: Larger Core Size

It’s known that MMF has a much larger core size and cladding diameter, whose different types are distinguished by jacket color: for 62.5/125 µm (OM1) and 50/125 µm (OM2), orange jackets are recommended, while aqua is recommended for 50/125 µm “laser optimized” OM3 and OM4. MMF’s larger core endows it greater light gathering capacity, allowing multiple modes of light to propagate through the fiber simultaneously. Thus, MMF is more suitable for relatively shorter-reach application, usually less than 600m. When it’s deployed in GbE applications, the maximum reach is 550m in combination of 1000BASE-SX SFP (ie. 1783-SFP1GSX).

MMF, larger core size

MMF: Attenuation/Signal Loss

Attenuation refers to the reduction of signal loss when light travels through the fiber optic cable, which is measured in decibels per kilometer (db/km). Insertion loss is the total attenuation from all sources plus any reflection losses over a specific fiber length. Such attenuation is often caused by absorption of optical energy by tiny impurities in the fiber such as iron, copper, or cobalt. Sometimes, the scattering of the light beam as it hits microscopic imperfections, called Rayleigh scattering can also lead to signal loss phenomenon. Attenuation problem is a commonplace in MMFs.

MMF: More Bandwidth

Bandwidth quantifies the complicated data-carrying capacity of MMF, given in units of megahertz-kilometer (MHz·km). Bandwidth behavior of MMF arises from multi-modal dispersion (multi-path signal spreading) which happens as the result of light traveling along different modes in the core of fibers. The bandwidth specification of performance of a MMF is verified through optical measurements during fiber manufacture. Actual system performance and data-rate handling rely heavily on bandwidth, affected by transceiver technology and device characteristics.

MMF: Manufacturing Ways

MMF can be manufactured in two ways: step-index or graded index.

  • Step-index fiber has an abrupt change or step between the index of refraction of the core and the index of refraction of the cladding. Multi-mode step-index fibers have lower bandwidth than other fiber designs.
  • Graded index fiber is designed to reduce modal dispersion inherent in step index fiber. This design maximizes bandwidth while maintaining a larger core diameter for simplified system assembly, connectivity and lower network costs. Graded index fiber is made up of multiple layers with the highest index of refraction at the core. Each succeeding layer has a gradually decreasing index of refraction as the layers move away from the center. High order modes enter the outer layers of the cladding and are reflected back towards the core. Multi-mode graded index fibers have less attenuation (loss) of the output pulse and have higher bandwidth than multi-mode step-index fibers.
MMF related transceivers: Multi-mode Transceivers

A fiber optic transceiver is a package, usually a pluggable module, comprising of a receiver on one end of the fiber and a transmitter on the other end. Over the years, multi-mode bandwidth specifications and measurement methods have evolved along with the transceiver technology, so as to keep up with delivery of higher transmission speeds. The combination of transceiver and fiber optic cable plays an important role in fiber’s practical link length. As for multi-mode transceivers which have larger core, they are often used in short-reach applications with 850mn wavelength. Listed below are several commonly-used multi-mode transceiver ports: 1000BASE-SX, 10GBASE-SR, 10GBASE-LRM, among which 10GBASE-SR port type enjoys widely deployment in 10GbE applications when the required distance is not so long. Take F5-UPG-SFP+-R for example, this F5 compatible 10GBASE-SR SFP+ transceiver listed in Fiberstore takes OM3 MMF as its transmission medium for 300m reach.

F5-UPG-SFP+-R, a 10GBASE-SR multi-mode transceiver

Besides what have been discussed above, there is also another MMF feature that comes into your mind: that is the affordability. MMF is less expensive than its counterpart single-mode fiber (SMF). Because of this, more people prefer MMF to SMF when the required distance is not so long. Thus, this big saving can be re-invented in other projects.


MMF is able to operate at data rates from 100Mbit/s to 1Gbit/s, to 10Gbit/s, to 40Gbit/s, to100Gbit/s, or even more. Choosing the right fiber type for your network project is a critical task. Here, Fiberstore MMFs provide the cost-effective combination of leading bandwidth performance and increased reliability, suitable for the demanding bandwidth interconnects. You can visit Fiberstore directly for more information about MMFs.

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Transceiver Selection Guide for Your Networking Use

Thanks to the advances made in fiber optical technologies, fiber solutions have been deployed in ever-increasing applications where high-speed and high-performance data transmission is needed. They outweigh the copper solutions in such aspects as higher bandwidth, longer distances and Electromagnetic interference (EMI) immunity. Transceivers, one of the key components required in such fiber connections for high networking performance, have experienced the never-ceasing industrial designs, from lower port density to higher, from the standard modules to the final hot-pluggable ones, to meet the ever more flexible networking infrastructure.

There is a broad selection of hot-pluggable transceiver modules available for fiber networking use, and you may feel a little confused about how to select the correct transceivers for your networking transmission. In this article, I will illustrate different aspects of transceivers that need to be known before choosing a transceiver.

Transceiver Basics

Before giving guidance to transceiver selection, it’s necessary to know the basics of transceiver. Transceiver is a combination of a transmitter and a receiver in a single package, while they function independently for bidirectional communication. Typically, a fiber optic transceiver converts the incoming optical signal to electrical and the outgoing electrical signal to optical. More specifically, the transmitter takes an electrical input and converts it to an optical output from a laser diode or LED. The light from the transmitter is coupled into the fiber with a connector and is transmitted through the fiber optic cable plant. The light from the end of the fiber is coupled to a receiver where a detector converts the light into an electrical signal which is then conditioned properly for use by the receiving equipment.

Here go the several aspects of transceivers that are helpful in your purchasing.


Multi-source agreements (MSAs) between different equipment vendors specify guidelines for electrical and optical interfaces, mechanical dimensions and electro-magnetic specification of a transceiver. The equipment vendors follow these MSA defined values for designing their systems to ensure interoperability between interface modules. The form-factor or the MSA-type is needed so that the transceiver can mechanically and electrically fit into a given switch, router, etc. Transceiver MSAs define mechanical form factors including electric interface as well as power consumption and cable connector types. There are various MSA types: SFP (eg. MGBSX1), SFP+, XFP, CFP, CFP2, CFP4, QSFP and so on.

several MSA types

Transmission Media

Transceivers can work over single-mode fiber (SMF), multi-mode fiber (MMF), and copper. In different Ethernet applications, media can achieve different link lengths when combined with transceivers. Take Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) applications for example, single-mode transceivers can have a transmission distance of 5km to 120km, while multi-mode transceivers are defined to have the maximum reach of 55om, with copper solution establishing even fewer link length at 25m. Take MGBLX1 for example, this Cisco compatible 1000BASE-LX SFP works through SMF for 10km reach.

Power Budget

The transceiver power budget is the difference between transmitter launch power and receiver sensitivity and has to be 2-3dB larger (Margin) than the measured link loss. If the link loss cannot be measured, it has to be calculated. Therefore transmission distance [km], the number of ODFs, patches and passive optical components (Muxes) have to be known. Common values for power budget are <10, 14, 20, 24, 28, >30dB.

power budget

If you’re seeking high-speed data carrier, transceivers can help accomplish goals. By transmitting data at 10Gbit/s, 40Gbit/s, 100Gbit/s or 12940Gbit/s, they can ensure that data arrives quickly. Transceiver modules that are capable of handling fast speeds can help with downloads and high and low bandwidth video transmission.


Transceivers are instrumental in ensuring that the data is transmitted securely, expeditiously, and accurately across the media. Choosing the right type of transceiver for your network is not always easy, but knowing above discussed parameters beforehand helps you narrow it down to a few transceivers. Fiberstore offers a sea of transceiver modules which are fully compatible with major brands, like the above mentioned MGBSX1 and MGBLX1, the Cisco compatible transceiver modules. For more information about transceiver modules, you can visit Fiberstore.

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Two Main Questions About Direct Attach Cables

The increasing bandwidth demands in data centers call for new cost-effective network solutions that are able to provide great bandwidth and improved power efficiency. As such, direct attach cables (DACs) are designed to replace expensive fiber optic cables in some Ethernet applications, like choosing SFP+ DACs and QSFP+ DACs accordingly as 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) and 40GbE cabling solutions to achieve high performance. How much do you know about this kind of cable? Do you know its such basic information as classifications? If not, then you can follow this article to understand DAC in depth based on the two main questions.

Question 1: What Is DAC?

DAC, a kind of optical transceiver assembly, is a form of high speed cable with “transceivers” on either end used to connect switches to routers or servers. Often referred to as twin-ax, this direct attach twin-axial cable is very similar to coaxial cable, except for one additional copper conductor core. DACs are much cheaper than the regular optics, since the “transceivers” on both ends of DACs are not real optics and their components are without optical lasers. In some 10GbE and 40GbE infrastructures, DACs have been selected to replace fiber optic patch cord when the required link length is relatively short. And in storage area network, data center, and high-performance computing connectivity, DACs are preferable choice because of their low cost, low power consumption and high performances.

Question 2: How DAC Is Classified?

When it comes to DAC’s classifications, there exist two primary standards: Ethernet transmission rate, material of cables.

Based on Ethernet transmission rate and construction standard, 10G SFP+ DACs, 40G QSFP+ DACs, and 120G CXP+ DACs are all available, meaning that DAC can be used as transmission medium for 10GbE, 40GbE, and 120GbE applications when combined as transceivers. Typical DAC assemblies have one connector on each end of the cable. Take SFP-10G-AOC1M for example, this Cisco compatible SFP+ to SFP+ Direct-Attach Active Optical Cable assembly has one SFP+ connector on each end of the cable, designed for relatively short reach that is 1m.

SFP-10G-AOC1M, one SFP+ connector at each end

According to material of cables used, DACs are available in direct attach copper cables and active optical cables (AOCs).

Direct Attach Copper Cable

Direct attach copper cables are designed in either active or passive versions, providing flexibility with a choice of 1-, 3-, 5-, 7-, and 10-meter lengths. The former provides signal processing electronics to avoid signal issue, thus to improve signal quality. What’s more, the former can transmit data over a longer distance than the latter which offers a direct electrical connection between corresponding cable ends. Both direct attach passive copper cables and direct attach active copper cables have gained popularity in data centers. For instance, EX-QSFP-40GE-DAC-50CM, the Juniper 40G cabling product, hot-removable and hot-insertable, is the QSFP+ to  QSFP+ direct attach passive copper cable assembly, really suitable for short distances of up to 0.5m(1.6ft), appropriate for highly cost-effective networking connectivity within a rack and between adjacent racks.

EX-QSFP-40GE-DAC-50CM, for short reach

Active Optical Cable

AOC is also one form of DAC. It uses electrical-to-optical conversion on the cable ends to improve speed and distance performance of the cable while mating with electrical interface standard. Compared with direct attach copper cable, its smaller size, electromagnetic interference immunity, lower interconnection loss and longer transmission distance make it popular among consumers.

DACs offer great flexibility in cabling length choices, simplify server connectivity in top-of-rack deployments, and reduce the power needed to transmit data. More importantly, DACs ensure high system reliability after going through rigorous qualification and certification testing, helping network designers to achieve new levels of infrastructure consolidation while expanding application and service capabilities.


DACs are able to provide an end-to-end solution that is easy to maintain, thus helping improve the availability of networks that support mission-critical applications. Fiberstore offers a broad selection of DACs with high quality for state-of art performance, 10G SFP+ DACs, 40G QSFP+ DACs, and 120G CXP+ DACs all included. For more information about DACs, you can visit Fiberstore.

Originally published at http://www.fiber-optic-components.com/two-main-questions-about-direct-attach-cables.html

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Overview of 40/100GbE Terminations

Today’s data centers growth is placing increasing demands on the networking infrastructure. For some enterprises, existing 1GbE connections can’t support the growing business requirements well very, not to say 100Mbps connections. In order to accommodate these demands, it’s imperative to upgrade the data center network architecture to 40 or 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) connections. This 40/100GbE network design helps to support not only the current growth, but also the increasing demands in the future.

IEEE 802.3ba 40G and 100G Standard

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.3 working group is concerned with the maintenance and extension of the Ethernet data communications standard. And 802.3ba is the designation given to the higher speed Ethernet task force to modify the 802.3 standard to support higher speeds than 10Gbit/s, that is 40/100G in 2010. This 802.3ba 40/100G standard encompasses a number of different Ethernet physical layer (PHY) specifications which are supported by means of pluggable modules, like Quad Small-Form-Factor Pluggable (QSFP) and C Form-Factor Pluggable (CFP). As for transmission medium, the transport speeds at 40/100Gbit/s use two methods: parallel optics and copper cables, with the fiber optics solutions allowing more flexibility and greater distance reach.

40GbE Terminations

In most cases, 40GbE connections use a QSFP+ transceiver terminated to receive the multi-fiber push-on/multiplex pass-through (MPO/MPT) trunk. That is, the short-range QSFP+ transceivers (eg. QFX-QSFP-40G-SR4) use multi-mode MPO trunks to establish 40G links. During this link establishment, polarity becomes a consideration when implementing 40GbE switch-to-switch interconnects over multi-strand multi-mode fiber (MMF). Method B polarity is recommended for the functional link.

QSFP+ transceivers are also able to run on single-mode fiber (SMF) for long reach. These links are Little Connector (LC) terminated and can run up to 40km, mainly used for 40GbE interbuilding connections. Take QSFP-40G-ER4 for example, this 40GBASE-ER4 transceiver supports link lengths up to 40km over SMF with duplex LC connectors.

The QSFP+ transceiver can also be used for 40GbE to 4x10GbE partitioned applications, that is QSFP+ to 4SFP+ fan-out cabling assemblies. One end of the connection is terminated using a MPO/MPT configuration with four individual pairs terminated with LC connectors at the other end. The image below just shows the QSFP+ to 4SFP+ Active Optic Cable (AOC) assembly.

QSFP+ to 4SFP+ AOC, 40GbE to 4x10GbE partitioned application

100GbE Terminations

100GbE connections use a CFP transceiver. Two CFP options are dominant in the industry: CFP2 and CFP4. The primary differences between the two are physical density and transmit/receive lane configurations. More specifically, CFP2 supports 100GBASE-SR10, 100BASE-LR4, and 100GBASE-ER4 optical interfaces, while CFP4 doubles the port density on the line card and supports 100GBASE-SR4, 100GBASE-LR4, and 100GBASE-ER4 optical interfaces.

CFP options, for 100G transmission

40/100GbE Termination Benefits

The 40/100GbE network infrastructure provides the following benefits:

  • Reduced data center complexity: As virtualization increases, the use of fewer physical servers and switches has been made possible by 40/100GbE network infrastructure.
  • Reduced total cost: Since 40/100GbE network system simplifies the local area network (LAN) and cable infrastructures, the potential cost reduction in virtualization environment is also accessible. Besides, the 40/100GbE network infrastructure requires fewer data center space, power, and cooling resources.
  • Increased Productivity: Faster connections and reduced network latency provide network designers with faster workload completion times and improved productivity.
  • Upgrading network architecture to support speeds greater than 10GbE, that is 40/100GbE, is essential in optimizing data center infrastructure, giving a hand in moving quickly in respond to business needs. At the same time, the services and value brought by information technology itself can also be enhanced.

The high-performance 40/100GbE network architecture simplifies the cabling infrastructure and reduces per-server total cost of ownership, capable of allowing high speeds at 40/100Gbit/s. Fiberstore offers a large selection of 40/100G optical modules, as well as 40/100G fiber optic-based cables and copper cables. For more information about 40/100GbE solutions, you can visit Fiberstore.

Originally published at www.fiber-optic-cable-sale.com/overview-of-40100gbe-terminations.html

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Pluggable Transceivers Used in Data Centers

Today’s data centers are going through unprecedented growth and innovation as emerging optical standards and customers’ demands for higher-level networking services converge. Bandwidth, port density and low-power demands come as the main drivers that populate the deployment of fiber optic networks. And in fiber optic network implementations, pluggable transceivers provide a modular approach to safe-proof network design and become the ideal choice to meet the ever-changing network needs in data centers. This text just mainly introduces pluggable transceivers deployed in data centers.

A Quick Question: What Are Pluggable Transceivers?

Pluggable transceivers are transceivers that can be plugged into routers, switches, transport gear, or pretty much any network device to transmit and receive signals. They are hot swappable while the device is operating, standardized to be interchangeable among vendors, capable of operating over many different physical medium and at different distances. For instance, pluggable transceivers can work through copper, through fiber optic cables available in both single-mode fibers (SMFs) and multi-mode fibers (MMFs), realizing 100m, 300m, 10km, 80km distance reach, etc. In addition, these hot-swappable transceivers are also able to support a wide variety of speeds, like 1Gbit/s, 10Gbit/s, 40Gbit/s, 100Gbit/s, or even higher.

Pluggable Transceiver – Standards & Protocols

Just as what has been mentioned above, pluggable transceivers are interchangeable. These interchangeable transceivers allow a single device to operate with a wide selection of protocols and functions. Listed below are commonly-used pluggable transceiver standards and protocols.

SFP—The small form-factor pluggable (SFP) supports a wide range of protocols and rates, such as Fast and Gigabit Ethernet (GbE), Fibre Channel (FC), and synchronous optical networking (SONET) for dual and bidirectional transmission. SFP medium are available in SMF, MMF, and copper. For MMF media, there exists 1000BASE-SX port type used in 1GbE applications. Take J4858C for example, this HP 1000BASE-SX SFP can realize a maximum of 550m reach at 1.25 Gbit/s over MMF.

J4858C, HP 1000BASE-SX SFP

SFP+—The enhanced small form-factor pluggable (SFP+) is an enhanced version of the SFP, supporting data rates up to 16Gbit/s. It was first published on May 9, 2006, and version 4.1 was published on July 6, 2009, supporting 8Gbit/s FC, 10GbE and Optical Transport Network standard OTU2. SFP+ is a popular industry format supported by many network component vendors.

XFP—The XFP (10G SFP) is a standard for transceivers for high-speed computer network and telecommunication links that use optical fiber. Its principal applications include 10GbE, 10Gbit/s FC, SONET at OC-192 rates, synchronous optical networking STM-64, 10 Gbit/s Optical Transport Network (OTN) OTU-2, and parallel optics links.

QSFP—The Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable (QSFP) is a also a compact, hot-pluggable transceiver used for data communications applications. QSFP+ transceivers are designed to carry Serial Attached SCSI, 40GbE (100G using QSFP28), QDR (40G) and FDR (56G) Infiniband, and other communications standards. They increase the port-density by 3x-4x compared to SFP+ modules. In 40GbE applications, these QSFP+ transceivers establish 40G links with distances up to 300m over MMF, and 40km over SMF. QSFP can also take copper as its media option when the required distance is short. Like QSFP-4SFP10G-CU5M, this product is the QSFP to 4 10GBASE-CU SFP+ direct attach passive copper cable assembly designed for relatively short reach, that is 5m. The image below just shows what this QSFP-4SFP10G-CU5M product looks like.


CFP—The C form-factor pluggable (CFP) is a multi-source agreement (MSA) to produce a common form-factor for the transmission of high-speed digital signals. The c stands for the Latin letter C used to express the number 100 (centum), since the standard was primarily developed for 100 Gigabit Ethernet systems.


Pluggable transceivers offer distance extension solutions, allowing flexibility in network reach and easy replacement in the event of component failures. They are the answer to today’s network architecture and performance demands. Fiberstore supplies various pluggable transceivers supporting different speeds, like SFP (J4858C), SFP+, XFP, QSFP, CFP, etc. Additionally, their transmission medium available in fiber and copper can also be found in Fiberstore. For more information about pluggable transceivers, you can visit Fiberstore.

Originally published at www.fiber-optic-cable-sale.com/pluggable-transceivers-used-in-data-centers.html

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Three Media Options for 10GbE in Data Centers

With the added network infrastructure complexity, power demands, and cost considerations, 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) comes to network administrators’ thinking point. While 1GbE connection is able to handle the bandwidth requirements of a single traffic type, 10GbE has been preferred as the ideal solution by customers to meet current and future input/output (I/O) demands. Delivering more bandwidth, 10GbE simplifies the network infrastructure at the same time by consolidating multiple gigabit ports into a single 10gigabit connection.

Generally speaking, there are three media options for 10GbE: 10GBASE-CX4, SFP+, and 10GBASE-T. Each option has its own virtual point and downside in terms of cost, power consumption and distance reach. This paper analyzes these three options respectively, helping you understanding the pros and cons of current 10GbE media options.


10GBASE-CX4 was the first 10G copper standard published by 802.3 (as 802.3ak-2004), an early favorite standard for 10GbE deployments. Using the XAUI 4-lane PCS (Clause 48) and copper cabling similar to that used by InfiniBand technology, 10GBASE-CX4 is able to reach 15 meters. Practically, this option is limited by its heavy weight and expensive cables. In addition, the size of the CX4 connector prohibited higher switch densities required for large scale deployment. Larger diameter cables are purchased in fixed lengths, causing problems in managing cable slack. What’s more, the space isn’t sufficient to handle the larger cables.


SFP+ fiber optic cables and SFP+ direct attach cables (DACs) are all better solution than CX4.

10GBASE SFP+ Fiber Optic Cables

10GBASE-SR, 10GBASE-LR, 10GBASE-LRM are all specified to work through fiber optic cables, such as JD094B (shown below). This HP 10GBASE-LR SFP+ transceivers takes fiber as its transmission medium with distance up to 10km. Really, great for latency and distance, but fibers are expensive. Although they offer low power consumption, the project of laying fiber networks in data centers is limited due to the cost of the electronics largely. The fiber electronics can be four to five times more expensive than their copper counterparts, meaning that ongoing active maintenance, typically based on original equipment purchase price, is also more expensive.

JD094B, HP 10GBASE-LR SFP+ transceiver


DAC can be classified in to direct attach copper cable and active optic cable (AOC). On the one hand, SFP+ DAC is a lower cost option alternative to fiber, with its distance reaching flexible in 1m (eg. SFP-10G-AOC1M), 2m, 3m, 5m, 7m and so on. On the other, SFP+ DAC is not backward-compatible with existing 1GbE switches. Besides, this solution requires the purchase of an adapter card and requires a new top of rack (ToR) switch topology. And the cables are much more expensive than structured copper channels, and cannot be field terminated. All these factors make SFP+ DAC less popular the 10GBASE-T which will be discussed soon.SFP-10G-AOC1M, for short reach


10GBASE-T, or IEEE 802.3an-2006, is a standard released in 2006 to provide 10Gbit/s connections over unshielded or shielded twisted pair cables with distances up to 100metres (330 ft). Due to additional encoding overhead, 10GBASE-T has a slightly higher latency in comparison to most other 10GBASE standards. What’s more, 10GBASE-T offers the most flexibility, the lowest cost media. And because of its backward-compatibility with 1000BASE-T, 10GBASE-T can be deployed based on existing 1GbE switch infrastructures that are cabled with CAT6 and CAT6A (or above) cabling, keeping costs down while offering an easy migration path from 1GbE to 10GbE.


The deployment of 10GbE infrastructure should be much easier, with these media options in mind, coupled with your own such project considerations as cost, power consumption and distance reach. Fiberstore, as a professional fiber optic product supplier, offers a broad selection of fiber and copper cables, including SFP-10G-AOC1M mentioned above. For more information about 10GbE media options, you can visit Fiberstore.

Originally published at www.fiber-optic-cable-sale.com/three-media-options-for-10gbe-in-data-centers.html

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