Suggestion for content: 10+GbE wiring

mbello

New Member
Nov 14, 2016
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Patrick,

I know this request may sound dumb to you, but many corporate networks are still on GbE days. So I suggest you write about what it is like moving a network from gigabit ethernet (twisted pairs) to 10+ GbE (optic cables) for those of us who have not made the switch yet.
When I think about rolling out 10GbE I always think I will need expensive fiber fusion equipment, is it still the case? What an optic cable "patch cord" looks like? What are the ways to connect 10GbE over small distances (~1-2 meters)? What about large distances? I have seen SFP modules with one fiber and two fibers (1 for RX another for TX). Are they equally good? Do you try to use the same SFP modules across your entire network to avoid interop issues? What are the things one must be aware of (best practices) when rolling out a 10+GbE for the first time?
 

Evan

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Jan 6, 2016
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Are you taking about user networks ? They mostly run 10g base-t over cat6,6a,7 and no different than existing network really accept tolerances.

In the datacenter there has generally been a shift to top of rack switches so the existing copper infrastructure cabling is fine, the existing fiber is still used as uplinks for the top of rack switches and SAN as well.

Even the copper if installed in last 10 years would be cat7 and the fiber would have already been OM3 so no need to do anything there.
If you have a datacenter room with older than 10 year infra cabling maybe a refresh is needed.
 
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Patrick

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Dec 21, 2010
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Thank you for the suggestion. Let me think a bit, talk to Rohit, and see how we might do something like this.
 

Terry Kennedy

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Jun 25, 2015
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When I think about rolling out 10GbE I always think I will need expensive fiber fusion equipment, is it still the case? What an optic cable "patch cord" looks like? What are the ways to connect 10GbE over small distances (~1-2 meters)? What about large distances? I have seen SFP modules with one fiber and two fibers (1 for RX another for TX). Are they equally good? Do you try to use the same SFP modules across your entire network to avoid interop issues? What are the things one must be aware of (best practices) when rolling out a 10+GbE for the first time?
This certainly sounds like something a bunch of us can contribute to. Off the top of my head (and simplifying a bit):
  • No, you don't need any fancy equipment. If you're staying within a single building you'll be buying pre-made cables, so you just plug things in. My runs are often a bit longer (the most recent was 160000 feet, give or take) so things get a bit more complicated there. :cool: For patch cables, I can buy a pre-made, tested patch cable for less than the cost of one of the connectors, so I don't make my own any more.
  • The patch cords will look like skinny lamp cord and will usually be yellow (singlemode) or aqua (multimode) in color. There are a number of different connector styles in use. You will need LC on the end connecting to your SFP/SFP+ equipment. You can either use LC or SC on your patch panels. LC takes up less space but SC is easier to grab a hold of when inserting / removing in tight spaces. The color of the connectors should be blue for singlemode and beige for multimode. Avoid green connectors as they are not compatible with the blue ones. Green is APC (angled polish) and will damage things if mated to the blue ones. The patch cables come in 2 thicknesses, 2mm and 3mm. As long as people won't be yanking on them, use 2mm as they take up less space and are more flexible. You will want to pick a fiber + connector standard and stick with it. I'd suggest singlemode, as the large price premium it had when new is no longer relevant once prices came down. You can run longer distances with singlemode.
  • For short distances you can use DAC (direct attach cable). This is a pre-made cable with SFP-type connectors permanently attached at each end. They're less expensive but take up a bit more space than the 2mm patch cables. Longer ones are available (Active DAC) but then you can run into issues of vendor lockout (see below).
  • Normally you will use duplex (2-fiber) SFP/SFP+ and cables. The single-fiber version (BiDi for bidirectional) is only needed when there is a shortage of fibers between places you need to connect. Within a single building it is usually easier to pull more fiber than to convert lots of ports to BiDi.
  • All SFP/SFP+ modules are supposed to conform to the MultiSource Agreement (MSA) so they are all supposed to work together happily. However, many larger vendors (such as Cisco) put "magic footprints" in the identification data to prevent people from using less-expensive commodity parts. Most vendors have learned how to label their SFPs to make Cisco, etc. happy. You just have to specify what brand of device you're going to use them in and they will code them for you. Many people use Fiberstore (fs.com). I occasionally use them for optics, but I usually buy my fancy optics (DWDM, etc.) from a company called Solid Optics (solid-optics.com). The advantage of the Solid Optics ones is that you can reprogram them yourself for compatibility with different vendors. To be honest, plain old SFP/SFP+ are such a commodity that I just buy them in bulk from eBay.


[Note: Any hotlinks in this post are auto-generated shopping links and not ones I intentionally put in.]