Author Archives: Priscilla.Luo

40G vs 100G: Which One Is Worth the Investment?

Today, the trend for high-speed data transmission and high-bandwidth is overwhelming. Some years ago, people had witnessed upgrading from 10Mbps Ethernet to 100Mbps Ethernet. And the migration from 1G to 10G was happened not very long ago. But now, whether you believe it or not, prepared or not prepared, 40G and 100G have already on the way. To upgrade to 40G or skip it and directly migrate to 100G has become a question for many data center mangers and IT engineers. Here, in this article, you may find some clue you want.

The Rise of 100G

To begin with, it has to be made clear that the market trend is 100G Ethernet, which will eventually become the mainstream in the future. The strong demand in 100G Ethernet is being driven by cloud services and hyper-scale data centers. And there is a demand for lower-priced 100G pluggable transceivers from data center customers. Currently, the market transition to 100GE is in full swing, fueled primarily by the seemingly insatiable need for networking bandwidth by hyper-scale data centers and cloud services. As it has been shown in the picture below, 100G Ethernet transceivers will exceed 15 million units a year.

100G market

This tremendous growth in deployments by a small number of key customers, together with a large number of suppliers competing for these orders, will undoubtedly drive down the cost of 100GE modules rapidly. It is predicted that the cost of 100G transceiver is expected to decline by 75% in the next couple of years. In the meantime, Facebook has publicly set a target cost of $100 for a 100G transceiver with a reach of less than 2km. While the Facebook target appears to be years away, we believe that a 70% cost reduction in 2 years is possible. By that time, the 100G transceivers will be more affordable.

Why not 40G?

If you ask me why 40G Ethernet will be obsolete? The short answer is “cost”. From the technical point, The primary issue lies in the fact that 40G Ethernet uses 4x10G signalling lanes. On UTP, 40G uses 4 pairs at 10G each. Early versions of the 40G standard used 4 pairs, but rapid advances in manufacturing developed a 4x10G WDM on a single fiber optic pair. Each 40G SFP module contains a silicon chip that performs multiplexing so that the switch see 40 gigabits in and 40 gigabits out. It’s similar to Coarse Wave Division Multiplexing when using fiber. When you buy a 40G cable or QSFP, you are paying for the cost of the chip and software, plus the lasers, etc. When using 25/50/100G, the “lane speed” is increased to 25 gigabits per second. For 100G Ethernet, there are four 25G signalling lanes. It’s cheaper to buy 100G with four lanes rather than 40G with a four-lane MUX.

40GEthernet

Scale up to 100G with FS 100G Optics Solution

As one of the leading providers in optical communication , FS provides customers with 100G optics that are manufactured at the highest quality of standards in the industry, including QSFP28, CFP, CFP2, CFP4, 100G patch panels, 100G switches, etc. Part of the products are listed as follow:

Model ID Description    Price

48862

Juniper JNP-QSFP-100G-SR4 Compatible 100GBASE-SR4 850nm 100m Transceiver

   US$  269

48354

Cisco Compatible QSFP28 100GBASE-SR4 850nm 100m Transceiver

   US$  269

65228

Juniper Networks CFP-100GBASE-SR10 Compatible 100GBASE-SR10 850nm 150m Transceiver

   US$  1,500

Summary
100G Ethernet are racing to market and will finally takeover the 40G market. Don’t hesitate to migrate your network to the 100G Ethernet to embrace the future technology.

Point-to-Point VS Structured Cabling: Which One Is Best for You?

With the emergence of the Internet of Things, the cloud and mobility, much of the conversation about network connectivity is focused on wireless. However, cabling isn’t going away. Requirements are evolving, but cabling is still an essential component of any IT environment. Because the life-cycle of a cabling system is typically much longer than most of your IT infrastructure, it is important to understand the primary cabling methods and plan carefully. This article will make a comparison between two basic cabling methods: point-to-point cabling and structured cabling.

What Is Point-to-Point Cabling?

Point-to-point cabling refers to a data center cabling system comprised of “jumper” fiber cables that are used to connect one switch, server or storage unit directly to another switch, server or storage unit. A point-to-point cabling system is adequate for a small number of connections. However, as the number of connections in a data center increases, point-to-point cabling lacks the flexibility necessary when making additions, moves or changes to data center infrastructure. When the first data centers were built, end user terminals were connected via point-to-point connections. This was a viable option for small computer rooms with no foreseeable need for growth or reconfiguration. As computing needs increased and new equipment was added, these point-to-point connections resulted in cabling chaos with associated complexity and higher cost. Therefore, there is a downside to point-to-point cabling. However, the point-to-point cabling is surfacing again with the use of top of rack (ToR) and end of row (EoR) equipment mounting options. ToR and EoR equipment placement relies heavily on P2P cables, which can be problematic and costly if viewed as a replacement for standards-based structured cabling systems.

p2p cabling

What Is Structured Cabling?

As it has been mentioned before, point-to-point cabling had aroused many problems. In response, data center standards like TIA-942-A and ISO 24764 recommended a hierarchical structured cabling infrastructure for connecting equipment. Structured cabling is a comprehensive network of cables, equipment and management tools that enables the continuous flow of data, voice, video, security and wireless communications. Instead of point-to-point connections, structured cabling uses distribution areas that provide flexible, standards-based connections between equipment, such as connections from switches to servers, servers to storage devices and switches to switches. Structured cabling is designed to meet Electronic Industry Alliance/Telecommunications Industry Association (EIA/TIA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards related to design, installation, maintenance, documentation and system expansion. This helps to reduce costs and risk in increasingly complex IT environments.

Comparison Between Point-to-Point and Structured Cabling

Traditionally, point-to-point cabling has been used in the manufacturing sector to establish a direct connection between devices and automation and control systems. However, point-to-point cabling lacks the flexibility, reliability, manageability and performance required for the exploding number of connections within today’s networks.

Structured cabling provides the flexibility that point-to-point does not, as well as the capability to support future technologies, faster connections and more intelligent networks. Although structured cabling has long been the preferred approach in IT, we cannot deny point-to-point cabling completely. Here, the pros and cons of selecting a structured cabling implementation versus point-to-point implementation are listed in the picture below:

Conclusion

Cabling is among the most important considerations for organizations managing a data center, and investing in the right technologies to enable flexibility and optimal performance is key. Although there are several instances where point-to-point Top of Rack or End of Row connections make sense, an overall study that includes total equipment cost, port utilization, maintenance, and power cost over time should be undertaken—involving both facilities and networking—to make the best overall decision. On the whole, point-to-point cabling can present data center many problems. Structured cabling is a better choice over point-to-point cabling.

Introduction to WDM Transponders

With the development of wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) technology, the network traffic volume is increasing and the demand for more network bandwidth is also on the rise. By converting the operating wavelength of the incoming bitstream to an ITU-compliant wavelength, WDM transponder serves as a key component in WDM system. As an important technology in the fiber optical network, WDM is moving beyond transport to become the basis of all-optical networking. And how to optimize WDM network has always been a hot topic. The transponder is a device to optimize the performance of WDM network, which plays an important in the whole system of WDM network. This article will introduce you the information on WDM transponders.

What Is a WDM Transponder?

Also called as an OEO (optical-electrical-optical) transponder, a WDM transponder is an optical-electrical-optical wavelength converter, which has been widely adopted in a variety of networks and applications. The picture below shows us how a bidirectional transponder works. In this picture, the transponder is located between a client device and a DWDM system. And we can see clearly that, from left to right, the transponder receives an optical bitstream operating at one particular wavelength (1310 nm), and then converts the operating wavelength of the incoming bitstream to an ITU-compliant wavelength and transmits its output into a DWDM system. On the receive side (right to left), the process is reversed. The transponder receives an ITU-compliant bit stream and converts the signals back to the wavelength used by the client device.

WDM transponder

The Application of a WDM Transponder

According to its function, the application of a WDM transponders can be classified into the following types.

  • Wavelength Conversion. It is known to us that when a CWDM Mux/Demux or DWDM Mux/Demux is added into a WDM network, there is a requirement to convert optical wavelengths like 850nm, 1310nm and 1550nm to CWDM or DWDM wavelengths. Then the OEO transponder comes to assist. The OEO transponder receives, amplifies and re-transmits the signal on a different wavelength without changing the signal content.
  • Fiber Mode Conversion. Multimode fiber optic cables (MMF) are often used in short distance transmission, while single-mode fiber optic cables (SMF) are applied in long optical transmission. Therefore, in some network deployment, considering the transmission distances, MMF to SMF or SMF to MMF conversions are needed. WDM transponders can convert both multimode fiber to single-mode fiber and dual fiber to single fiber.
  • Signal Repeating. In long haul fiber optic transmission, WDM transponder also can work as repeaters to extend network distance by converting wavelengths (1310nm to 1550nm) and amplifying optical power. The OEO converters convert the weak optical signals from the fiber into electrical signals, and regenerate or amplify, then recover them into strong optical signals for continuous transmission.
WDM Transponder and FMT Solution

At FS, OEO transponders are made into small plug-in cards to be used on the FMT platform. FMT platform makes devices like EDFA, OEO, DCM, OLP and VOA into plug-in cards and provides standard rack units as well as free software to achieve better management and monitoring. In addition, FMT series products like OEO, DCM and OLP also have higher performance than that of old ones. FMT series OEO transponder can convert optical signals into DWDM wavelengths, reducing the fault risk caused by high power consumption of DWDM fiber optic transceiver. Since the OEO transponder is made into small plug-in card in the FMT platform, it only occupies one slot in the special designed chassis when installed, thus saving a lot of space. In addition, all these FMT plug-in cards, including OEO, in a rack unit share the same power source and support hot plug & play operation. And they can be inserted or removed flexibly in the racks for DWDM networking.

FMT

Conclusion

Since the OEO transponder plays an important role in WDM network, such as receiving, amplifying and re-transmitting the signal on a different wavelength, adding an OEO transponder into the WDM network is very essential. The OEO transponders in our FMT series are made into small plug-in cards with high quality to ensure good transmission performance. For more information on our FMT system, please visit www.fs.com.

Brief Introduction to EDFA

In fiber optic communication systems, problems arise from the fact that no fiber material is perfectly transparent. The visible-light or infrared beams carried by a fiber are attenuated as they travel through the material. This necessitates the use of optical amplifiers. And EDFA (Erbium Doped Fiber Amplifier) is a representative one in the optical amplifier. There is one saying that EDFA is the most popular optical amplifier in optical network communications. Next, we will begin with the definition of EDFA.

The Definition of EDFA

An EDFA, also called optical amplifier or an erbium-doped fiber amplifier or erbium amplifier, is an optical or IR (Infrared Radiation) repeater that amplifies a modulated laser beam directly, without opto-electronic and electro-optical conversion. The device uses a short length of optical fiber doped with the rare-earth element erbium. When the signal-carrying laser beams pass through this fiber, external energy is applied, usually at IR wavelengths. This so-called pumping excites the atoms in the erbium-doped section of optical fiber, increasing the intensity of the laser beams passing through. The beams emerging from the EDFA retain all of their original modulation characteristics, but are brighter than the input beams.

Three Major Applications for Optical AmplifierThree Major Applications for Optical Amplifier

The above picture illustrates the three major applications for optical fiber amplifiers: booster, in-line amplifier, and pre-amplifier. These applications are described in more details below:

Booster Amplifier

Booster amplifiers are placed directly after the optical transmitter. In this application, booster amplifier is adopted to compensate for the losses of optical elements between the laser and optical fibers so that the increased transmitter power can be used to go further in the link.

In-line Amplifier

In-line amplifiers or in-line repeaters are placed along the transmission link to compensate for the losses incurred during propagation of optical signal. They take a small input signal and boost it for re-transmission down the fiber. Here it should also be pointed out that to control the signal performance and the noise added by the EDFA is important, because noise added by amplifier will limit the system length.

Pre-amplifier

Pre-amplifiers are placed just before the receiver to increase the signal level before the photodetection takes place in an ultra-long haul system so as to improve receiver sensitivity. By placing a pre-amplifier, a much larger signal can be presented to the receiver, thus easing the demands of the receiver design.

Top EDFA Products Overview

By now, you should have a basic idea of what an EDFA is and what it is used for, next I will introduce you some truly excellent EDFA products on the market.

Type
Description
22dBm Output Booster DWDM EDFA C-band 24dB Gain, 1U Rack Mount
16dBm Output Mid-stage DWDM EDFA C-band 26dB Gain, Plug-in Card for FMT Multi-Service Transport System
17dBm Output Mid-stage DWDM EDFA C-band 17dB Gain, Plug-in Card for FMT Multi-Service Transport System
Conclusion

Of the various technologies available for optical amplifiers, EDFA technology is the most advanced, and consequently the vast majority of optical amplifiers are designed based on this technology. In addition, the combination of reliable performance and relatively low cost allows EDFA to be widely deployed in modern optical networks.

The Rise of White Box Switch

White-box switching is nothing new to us. ODMs (original design manufacturers) have been building hardware for well-known vendors for many years. These vendors take the ODM hardware, install their operating system, and sell the unit as a bundle, often attaching a support contract. Until now many companies like FS are also getting into the game of producing white-box switches. White-box switches look just like any other switch, which are gaining increasing attention in next generation data center deployments, with many software-defined networking (SDN) startups offering solutions that include them. Enterprises are wondering how white-box switches will impact their data center plans. So what is a white box switch?

What Is a White Box Switch?

white box switch

A white box switch is a network switch which comes with an installed operating system. It can be used as a standard for the base of hardware system elements. In the case of operating systems, white box switches are generally preinstalled on the system, or can be installed later. Loading of the white box switch is not difficult and can be done in a short period of time. They are generally used with SDNs and particularly useful in terms of a networking approach where the control is generated from the physical infrastructure after decoupling it. It can act as an efficient open-source tool for management of materials and information on a device.

And the major difference between traditional black box switch and white box switch is that the first one can’t be programmed but the later one can be programmed. With white box switches, a service can be programmed by using switch controller like ONOS while traditional black box switch provides very limited features and every time when you need to update something you have to log into switches and then change the rules. The white box switches are flexible, fast and inexpensive, which is why many opt for this type of switch.

Reasons for Buying White Boxes

Although white box switches have been around for years, the adoption has been limited to niche companies that have large engineering departments. The rise of software-defined networking (SDN) has brought them into the public eye, though, as a lower-cost alternative to traditional network hardware. In fact, some of the early messaging around SDN revolved around using white boxes as a complete replacement for all network hardware. Besides, many improvements have been made in white boxes during the past few years. So if you ask me why it is the time of white box switches and why you should buy white box switches. Here I’ve got a number of reasons for you:

  • 3-year ROI. A low-cost product can get ROI (return on investment) in less time and be replaced sooner. Faster hardware rotation equals more innovation/feature adoption.
  • Software bugs. Vendors take months to locate, accept, and fix bugs, which has enormous impact on your business. With OCP-compliant white boxes, you can switch software and keep your business alive, or work around slow vendor support.
  • Self-sparing. For some/most use cases, self-sparing is better than relying on vendor inventory. When products are cheap, you can hold inventory in your data center and bring MTTR down to hours instead of days.
  • Cost and reliability. What the customer is often paying for is the software that rides on top of the hardware and the logo. From a reliability standpoint, white boxes are on par with brand-name systems because they are actually the same hardware.
  • SDN. Move your operational focus from a vendor-specific CLI to an SDN solution. If you’re concerned about having multiple vendors to operate, then buy a SDN solution that is device independent.
  • Network operations. Many engineers may ask questions like “Do I have to write my own operating system?” “How do I install a network operating system” “What do I buy?” when considering a white box switch. Now, they can be reassured because white boxes can now be purchased from mainstream network vendors such as FS and HP. Also, when one purchases a white box, those suppliers will offer the kind of technical support most engineers need.
Conclusion

White boxes are certainly ready for mainstream adoption. Although they aren’t for every use case, but in the right situation, like an SDN deployment, they can be as good or better than traditional switches with a much lower price point and equivalent operational costs. If you want to purchase one, you may visit FS.COM where you can find the best-value and cost-efficient white box switch.