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Is Cumulus Linux and White Box Switch Combination A Good Idea?

Today, enterprise organizations are facing the challenges of highly dynamic computing, storage and networking needs than ever before. They want to build data centers with efficiency, scalability and flexibility for these increasing demands. In this quest for the perfect solution, an approach has been proposed, that is to deploy white box switch with Cumulus Linux operating system (OS). Is it a good idea? Here we will discuss it.

What Is White Box Switch?

White box switch is a data switch that is pre-loaded with minimal software or simply sold as a bare device. By using white box switches, IT staff can separate hardware-purchase decisions from software decisions. They can choose Linux or other OSes to manage the switch and network applications based on their own network demands and scales. This freedom of choice brings an open network installation environment and dramatically drives costs down.

Why Use White Box Switch with Cumulus Linux?

Most traditional switches’ OSes are highly locked and limited by traditional switch vendors like Cisco. Data centers have to pay a lot for new proprietary hardware or software. Besides, it takes a long time for vendors to develop new hardware which can satisfy the increasing network demands. Plus, with the development of white box switch, IT staffs hope to use an open network OS that can run on the white box switches. Under these reasons, Cumulus Linux is developed, which could be applied in white box switches and a variety of commodity hardware like Dell, Delta, HPE and so on. It helps users to unlock the network stack that they can choose the best hardware, applications, instead of using the expensive proprietary hardware. There is no vendor lock-in anymore, so the users can set up network architectures according to their specific requirements or scales. This helps to reduce CapEx and OpEX. Besides, Cumulus Linux provides standardized toolsets that are compatible with their hardware, so customers can use the tools such as automation and others to improve efficiency.

Cumulus Linux vs traditional

Is Cumulus Linux and White Box Switch Combination A Good Idea?

Both Cumulus Linux and white box switch promises flexibility and lower costs, so should we all need to make the leap? It depends. For those small or medium size networks, they already have a comprehensive support from the traditional vendors, and they don’t need to change or upgrade their networks frequently. Therefore, these enterprises don’t need to change the existing network devices for staying up-to-date with the trend. However, for those big data centers, they will quickly find the flexibility and cost saving of Cumulus switches. In these places, Cumulus switches provide customers with affordable and flexible networking options.

  • Cost Saving

Compared with the traditional network operating system (NOS) which is closed to users, Cumulus Linux provides an open network installation environment. Thus, users are no longer limited to one vendor’s hardware. Today, many network manufacturers like Delta, Accton are producing hardware like bare-metal hardware or white box switch. And the hardware can be built in all types, ranging from a Gigabit Ethernet switch or 10Gb Ethernet switch to 40G/100G switch. The switches that support Cumulus Linux allow users to choose the optical and electrical pluggable device they want to use, without using the software supported by the brand switch vendors. This conserves the precious budgets.

  • More Flexible Automation

Plus, Cumulus Linux helps users manage the switch with automation. Thus, all the configurations are stored in one place. Users don’t need to log into the switches when they need to make a change to different switches. They just make changes in one centralized repository, which makes upgrades much easier. Of course, network automation isn’t new. Big switch producers have their own automation tools. If users use their network OSes, they have to use the producers’ networking devices, too. This makes network operation fragile, complicated and expensive. However, white box switches with Cumulus Linux change it. Ansible, Chef and Puppet are popular automation tools that run on Linux. This provides users the flexibility to choose the applicable tool that works for their networks. Once you get Cumulus switches, you are free to choose your software and tools, instead of using expensive proprietary products. This will greatly reduce one’s network budget.


The combination of Cumulus Linux and white box switches helps users to set up networks with efficiency, scalability and flexibility at a low cost. For big data centers, it’s an economical solution for reducing the cost and eliminating vendor lock-in. But for small or medium size networks without frequent upgrade demands, it’s not the best one. Therefore, customers should decide whether to use Cumulus switch or not according to their actual situations.

Fiber SFP Module Compatibility with APC, UPC, PC

APC, UPC, PC are different polishing types of fiber patch cable connectors. And we always hear the description like LC UPC/APC duplex single mode patch cables. What exactly are they, and which fiber connector can work with your fiber SFP module? Here introduces the definitions of the connectors, and explains the SFP module compatibility with APC, UPC, PC connectors.

What Does APC, UPC, PC Mean?

APC, UPC and PC connectors are different polish styles of fiber optic ferrules, which determine the quality of the fiber optic lightwave transmission, mostly performed in optical return loss and insertion loss.

Fiber SFP module compatibility with APC, UPC, PC
Figure 1: Picture of APC, UPC, PC connectors.


PC stands for physical contact, which is the most common connector used in fiber connection. The end faces of this design are polished with a slight curvature. And the raised shape places the fibers at the highest point of the surface, which reduces air gap between them and forces the fibers into contact. Its typical return loss is about -40 dB, which means 0.01% of the light is reflected back. PC connector is used in most applications.


UPC, or ultra physical contact, is an improvement to the PC connector. UPC connector uses an extended polishing method to achieve a better surface finish. And the curvature makes it look dome-shaped. Its return loss is about -55 dB or higher. UPC connectors are often used in Ethernet network equipment like serial devices or network switches. Also, they are applied in digital and telephony systems.


APC is short for angled physical contact, which is the latest technology in fiber connectors. Its ferrule is polished with an 8-degree angle, which can reduce the light reflected between the cables. The return loss is about -60 dB, providing a better performance connector. Thus, APC connectors are used in radio frequency applications that require higher optical wavelength ranges. In addition, since GPON and passive optical LAN also use radio frequency to deliver video, APC connectors are employed in these applications.

Fiber SFP Module Compatibility Is Important

Most optical transceiver modules have two ports for bidirectional communication. One port is used for sending signals and the other one is for receiving signals. Normally, this transmission process is achieved through a fiber patch cable. And note that the fiber patch cables are designed with different connectors, like SC APC, LC UPC and so on. So it’s important to check whether the fiber connectors are compatible with the SFP optical transceivers before making the connection. Otherwise, it will cause serious consequences such as invalid connection or network failure. For example, we can not use APC connector in SFP modules. Because APC connector has an angle, but the connector of the SFP module is flat. Therefore, misalignment will be created when mating APC and SFP module, which will result in more loss and even the interface within the transceiver may be damaged.

APC vs UPC vs PC, Choose the Correct One For Fiber SFP Module

In principle, different connectors can not be mated. However, the fiber ends of PC and UPC are flat, and the difference between them is the quality of polishing. Therefore, UPC and PC are compatible and interchangeable without causing any damages to the connectors. This means UPC or PC fiber can be equally used with fiber SFP module.

However, the physical and mechanical properties of APC connector are quite different. This means APC should not be mated with UPC or PC. If someone does that, it will destroy the connectors. Plus, it’s not recommended to use APC connectors in fiber SFP modules. Unless the transceiver module has stated clearly that the APC connectors are allowed, users may use UPC connectors. If the network requires a connection between a fiber SFP module and an APC connector, users must use a conversion patch cable (UPC to APC) to connect from a transceiver with flat UPC/PC interface to an angled APC interface.


Figure 2: Example of SC UPC vs SC APC.


Now, it’s clear that UPC and PC connectors are generally used in Ethernet network equipment like fiber switch, and are compatible with most standard fiber SFP modules. Instead, APC connectors are mostly employed in PON network architecture or passive optical LANs, and they are not recommended to be used with fiber SFP modules. Therefore, choose the right connector depends on your particular networking needs. FS.COM provides a full line of fiber connectors with APC/UPC/PC polishing types and fiber SFP module. For more details, please feel free to contact us via [email protected]

Things You Should Know About SFP Transceiver


High speed development of optical communication requires communication system with lower energy consumption and higher bandwidth. SFP transceiver plays an extremely important role in this system. This article focus on SFP transceiver.

SFP transceiver

Figure 1: Examples of SFP transceiver.

SFP Transceiver Introduction

SFP module, also called as small form-factor pluggable or mini GBIC (gigabit interface converter), is a compact, hot-pluggable optical transceiver module. It’s designed to support Fibre Channel, Gigabit Ethernet and other communication standards. SFP modules are used in network switches, routers or network interface cards, supporting different speeds such as 2G, 4G or even more.

Types of SFP Transceiver

SFP transceiver module comes in various types on the basis of different classification standards. Basically, SFP transceiver is divided into fiber SFP and copper SFP types according to the different cable types, optical fibers and copper cables, such as 1000BASE-LX/LH SFP transceiver module and 10/100/1000BASE-T copper RJ45 transceiver module. The transmission rate of SFP module is available from 100Mbps up to 1000Mbps or more. Working distance of these SFP transceiver modules can be from 500 meters to 100 kilometers. Usually, SFP modules are used to connect network switches and other network devices via a fiber or copper network cable.

Considerations When Choosing a Third-party SFP Module

When it comes to buying SFP modules, most enterprises and individual users would like to use third-party transceiver modules, because they are more money-saving based on the same quality as the OEM optical transceivers. However, on the market, there are lots of SFP modules made by various vendors. And how can we choose one with good quality? The following are some factors that you must take into account.


Figure 2: Before buying an SFP transceiver, we should we consider?

  • Compatibility

Compatibility is always the most important factor. Before place your order, make sure that the data rate, transmission distance and wavelength of the SFP module can be compatible with your networking devices. If you are uncertain which cables or other equipment you are utilizing, just ask the sales for details about the SFP transceiver compatibility.

  • Quality and After-Sale Service

Nobody can ensure the SFP modules received are 100% normal. It’s wise to buy transceivers from a vendor that offers longer service and support terms into the deal. Thus, you can enjoy a better technical support and service for your products.

  • Price

Price means a lot when buying anything. Compared with Cisco SFP or other brand SFP modules, third party SFP optical transceivers are more cost-effective. Usually, there is no difference between the performance of compatible 1G SFP and OEM SFP modules except for the price. Users can compare the prices of several third-party vendors. Then they can choose the right compatible SFP optical transceiver from a reliable vendors according to their need with a cheap price.

Therefore, buying a transceiver from a reputable source, there’s simply no good reason to fear them somehow causing harm. It’s simple, standardized, reliable technology no matter who the manufacturer is. As long as you pick a reliable vendor, third-party transceivers will work just as well as first-party.

FAQ That You May Concern

  • Is there any differences between SFP and SFP+?

Visually, SFP and SFP+ have the same size and appearance. The main difference is the application. SFP is used for 100Base or 1000Base applications, while the SFP+ is applied in Gigabit Ethernet network. And the data rate and transmission distance of them are also different. For example, SFP supports speed up to 4Gbps Fibre Channel transceiver, while the speed of SFP+ transceiver is up to 10.3125Gbps.

  • Can we use SFP hardware in SFP+ slots?

As a general rule of thumb, SFPs will work in SFP+ slot, but SFP+ optics do not work in SFP slots. Note that, when you insert SFP module in SFP+ slot, the speed of the port only can be up to 1G not the 10G. Besides, SFP+ optics cannot be plugged into SFP port, because SFP+ does not support speed under 1G. Though it’s feasible often, for security reasons, it’s suggested to ask your product vendor for some detail information.


SFP transceiver is the linking modules applied in base station, switch, optical network card and so on. FS, the leading supplier of fiber communication industry, will serve customers with good quality and service. Any question about SFP transceiver modules, please let us know and feel free to contact us via [email protected]

10GbE RJ45 Switch Recommendations

Over the years, the advent of more affordable 10GBASE-T copper solutions has seen growing adoption. And modern business, from sales and marketing to technical support and service, has become increasingly dependent on a fast and reliable network. With a 10GbE RJ45 switch, people can better manage and protect their networks, avoiding network congestion at busy time and shortening the response time to customers and then bring new products to the market faster. Here, we’ll recommend some 10GbE RJ45 switches for your references.

10GbE RJ45 switch

The Reason of Choosing 10GbE RJ45 Switch

10GbE means the speed will be 10 times faster than a normal Gigabit network. Visually, there’s no difference. But if you need to copy large files, a 10GbE switch is necessary. However, why we use the RJ45 type, not the fiber one? Because RJ45 ports can be connected by the copper cables which are something we all are used to. And SFP switch is popular in data centers, which needs to be connected by the expensive fiber cables. RJ45 switch is better since it can be backward compatible with people’s older computers. This is a perfect solution for home use or SMB, since these users would not like to cost too much to buy fibers or new optical equipment. Therefore, a 10GBASE-T switch is their first option.

FS 10GbE RJ45 Switch Recommendations

As a reputable supplier, FS understands the importance of reliable and high performance networks for home users and SMB users. The 10GbE RJ45 switches from FS present the right solution for these users. The following are two RJ45 switches from FS.

48-port 1Gb SFP and 4-port 10Gb SFP+
48 x 10GBase-T ports and 4 x 40Gb uplinks
Switching Class
Layer2/3, data center, Metro
Switching Capacity
Forwarding Rate

S5800-48F4S and S5850-48T4Q switches come with different port designs. With different switching capacity and forwarding rate, they are made to meet various demands.


Both S5800-48F4S and S5850-48T4Q 10GBASE-T switches provide comprehensive L2 or L3 features like MLAG, SNMP etc. in order to meet current and future needs on virtualization, converged networking and mobility. Each port can automatically detect which device is connected to the switch and what speed is needed, then support the device with sufficient speed. Both S5800-48F4S and S5850-48T4Q data switches will give the exact speed like 100MB, 1, 5 or 10 Gigabit that is required without downgrade. In addition, the ports of these switches can be connected with regular Cat5 cables. As a result, there is no need to change into Cat6 or Cat7 wiring. Also, FS data switch uses a Web-based management. Users can easily manage the device through a handy Web-based tool.


10GbE RJ45 switch is the ideal choice for small businesses that want an affordable network switch solution. Whether you are working with a small network of just 10G connections, or a large campus or enterprise network with higher links speed, FS has the right switch for you. Any question about buying issues, please feel free to contact us via [email protected]

Understanding Power Consumption of PoE Ethernet Switch

As PoE changes to meet today’s increasing application requirements like IP cameras or WiFi access points, it’s widely used for enterprises networks. Using a PoE or PoE+ switch, technicians can simplify the cabling installation because the PoE technology can support power and data transmission over the same cables. When choosing a PoE Ethernet switch, we always care about the ports and power consumption most. This article will introduce the power consumption of PoE Ethernet switch and take two PoE Ethernet switches as examples to explain power consumption.

What Is Power Consumption of PoE Ethernet Switch?

At present, PoE power consumption follows two standards, IEEE 802.3af and 802.3at. The original IEEE 802.3af rules that power consumption on each port of a PoE network switch can be up to 15.4W. The updated IEEE 802.3at standard also named PoE+, which is backward-compatible with IEEE 802.3af, provides up to 25.5W of power on each port. However, because the power dissipate exists in cables, the minimum output power assured on each port for PoE switch is 12.95W, and 25.5W for PoE+ switch.

power consumption standard

Figure 1: IEEE 802.3af and IEEE 802.3at standards.

The key to successful PoE installation is to ensure that the selected power over Ethernet switch provides the necessary watts of PoE required for each device, and the total power consumption also must be guaranteed for powering all devices. Simply put, the total power consumption of all the connected devices must be controlled in the range of the PoE switch max power consumption.

How Many Devices Can I Connect to My PoE Ethernet Switches?

Power consumption of 150W and 400W are the most popular choices on the market. The following are two switches from FS, 8 port PoE switch and 24 port PoE switch, and we’ll use them to further explain the question how many devices can we connect to my PoE Ethernet switches.

PoE Ethernet switches applications

Figure 2: How many devices can be connected to a PoE switch?

How Many Devices Can the 8 Port PoE Switch Connect?

FS S1150-8T2F switch is a managed PoE+ switch. It has 8 10/100/1000Base-T RJ45 ports, and 2 Gigabit SFP slots. Its PoE standard complies with IEEE802.3af/at. And designed with a max power consumption of 150W, each port can support up to 30W power. This means the switch provides the availability of PoE on all 8 RJ45 ports, and each port can potentially power devices that are connected. From the above, we know the standard PoE can supply 15.4W power for each port, and 30W for PoE+. Therefore, this switch can simultaneously connect 8(15.4W×8=123.2W<150W) devices that use IEEE 802.3af standard, and only 5(30W×5=150W) devices that use IEEE 802.3at standard. For example, if a typical outdoor IP camera needs a PoE power of 20W, the connection of 7 typical IP cameras will require 140W of PoE power (7×20W), which is well within the power consumption of this network switch.

How Many Devices Can the 24 Port PoE Switch Connect?

FS S1400-24T4F managed PoE+ switch is designed with 24 Gigabit PoE+ ports, 1 console port and 4 Gigabit SFP ports. This switch complies with IEEE 802.3af/at with a max power consumption of 400W and 30W for each port. Through a calculation, we know the 24 port switch can connect 24(15.4W×24=369.6W<400W) devices with PoE standard at the same time, and support 13(30W×13=390W<400W) devices with PoE+ standard. And as for the same outdoor IP camera with a power requirement of 20W, the 24 port switch can support 20(20×20W=400W) cameras.


Knowing the power consumption of PoE Ethernet switches is very important. If you want to connect multiple devices to a PoE switch, you need to calculate the total power consumption that all the devices require, and make sure you PoE switch can provide the needed current.

FS Fiber Optic Cable Types

To date, fiber optic cables have brought high speed network services to companies, campuses and homes. And we have discussed fiber optic cables a lot in the past, such as Introduction of Fiber Optic Cable. However, the truth is we have just scratched the surface of this complicated system. Different fiber optic cable types are versatile in the function and installation. Today, we’ll introduce FS fiber optic cable types in order to further understand the optic cables.

Why Fibers?

Fibers are truly one of the greatest inventions of our world. They are slim cables that have thousands of optic fibers within the plastic, outer jacket. The optic fibers are incredibly hair-thin strands of glass that transmit data by light, which is quite different from the copper cables or RJ45 cables. Basically, compared with the copper cables, fiber cables are much more efficient and secure for network applications. They can deliver more data with a greater degree of fidelity over greater distances. In addition, because fiber cables are made of glasses, they are immune to any type of electrical interference. Therefore, these cables could be put in direct contact with soil or in close proximity to chemicals without concern.

FS Fiber Optic Cable Types

To make a clear product catalog, FS has classified the fiber cables by different applications. Therefore, people can select the cables more easily according to their various needs.

MTP/MPO Fiber Cable

MTP/MPO fiber cables consist of MTP/MPO connectors and fiber cables. Each cable can bring 8, 12 or 24 fibers together in a single MTP/MPO interface. And other connectors like SC or LC are also could be found in some MTP/MPO cables. MTP/MPO cables are designed for 40 or 100G applications in data centers for ultra-high density cabling. FS MTP/MPO cables have low insertion loss, and help you reach direct connection for 40G connectivity. As the figure shows, MTP/MPO cable is usually used for connecting optic transceivers, MTP cassettes and fiber adapter panels and so on.

mtp cables

Figure 1: MTP/MPO cable is widely used.

Fiber Patch Cables

Usually, fiber patch cables are terminated with fiber optic connectors such as LC, SC, ST and so on at each end of the cables. Through these connectors, optical cables can be connected to network switches, patch panels or other networking devices. Based on fiber cable mode, fiber patch cables are divided into single mode fiber like OS2, and multimode fiber such as OM3 and OM4. All FS fiber patch cables are made of PVC jacket material with low insertion loss and attenuation at different distances. They play important roles for indoor uses like server rooms. Commonly, fiber patch cables are used to connect transceiver modules. Note that, fiber cables with different connectors must be connected with the transceivers that have the corresponding interfaces. For example, the following cable is a LC to LC single mode cable. Therefore, the transceivers here must have LC interfaces.

fiber optic cable types- fiber cable

Figure 2: A fiber patch cable connects two transceivers.

Ultra HD Fiber Cables

In FS ultra HD fiber cables catalog, there are ultra low loss LC SMF/MMF, uniboot LC cables, BIF fiber cables and customized LC+ cables. Compared with traditional fiber cables, ultra HD fiber cables use a compact design with a flat clip model and a slimmer wire body, which saves about 50% of cabling space. This is extremely suitable for high density data centers.

ultra HD fiber cables

Figure 3: Ultra HD fiber cables save lots of space.


Where to buy fiber optic cables? FS is absolutely your preferred choice. Here we offer different fiber optic cable types, MTP/MPO cables, patch cables and ultra fiber cables for all your voice, video and data communication needs. In addition, FS provides customized services for fiber cables with a favorable fiber optic cable price. Any questions about fiber cabling, please contact us via [email protected]

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