Question SFP+ or Copper 10G & Product Opinion

AJAshinoff

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Feb 18, 2019
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Hello,

In place I have 5 copper CAT7 cable runs without termination. The spools of CAT7 copper were something purchased early on when it was on sale and has sat for several months. The intention was to create a 10G backbone between cascading switches to provide reliable 1G to any and all workstations and servers on my networks. When looking at switches I faced the option of SFP+ ports or 10G capable copper ports. My understanding is that SFP will allow for 1G>10G but copper would allow for backward compatibility from 100mbps>10G. Since this scenario is to create a 10G backbone between cascading switches backward compatibility to 100mbps between switches is unnecessary. Still, considering the nature of whats to be moved/streamed I wouldn't want to move that slowly if a better option was available.

My questions:
Is using CAT7 copper a hindrance to using SFP+ transceivers to obtain 10G between my switches? Would it be advantageous to purchase switches with 10G enabled copper ports rather than use SFP+ transceivers?

Lastly,
In searching for solutions, I came across FS switches ( FS.com ). Does anyone have experience with these switches/ this company?
 
Last edited:

kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Hello,

In place I have 5 copper CAT7 cable runs without termination. The sppols of CAT7 copper were something purchased early on when it was on sale and has sat for several months. The intention was to create a 10G backbone between cascading switches to provide reliable 1G to any and all workstations and servers on my networks. When looking at switches I faced the option of SFP+ ports or 10G capable copper ports. My understanding is that SFP will allow for 1G>10G but copper would allow for backward compatibility from 100mbps>10G. Since this scenario is to create a 10G backbone between cascading switches backward compatibility to 100mbps between switches is unnecessary. Still, considering the nature of whats to be moved/streamed I wouldn't want to move that slowly if a better option was available.

My questions:
Is using CAT7 copper a hindrance to using SFP+ transceivers to obtain 10G between my switches? Would it be advantageous to purchase switches with 10G enabled copper ports rather than use SFP+ transceivers?

Lastly,
In searching for solutions, I came across FS switches ( FS.com ). Does anyone have experience with these switches/ this company?
The difficult part is terminating that cat7 cable to cat6a or better standards. Were you planning on terminating yourself? Even keystone jacks with punchdown can be difficult to keep the untwisted wire as short as the 6a spec requires.
Assuming we are talking about a home rather than a dorm/frat-house, then there might be 4 x 4K streams. Even at 40Mbit each, that doesn't tax a gigabit connection.
10GE in a home situation has very limited benefits. PC backups can benefit, but are still limited to disk speed on both ends. I would recommend limiting 10GE to your central storage infrastructure. Leave everything else as 1GE.
 

AJAshinoff

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Feb 18, 2019
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The difficult part is terminating that cat7 cable to cat6a or better standards. Were you planning on terminating yourself? Even keystone jacks with punchdown can be difficult to keep the untwisted wire as short as the 6a spec requires.
Assuming we are talking about a home rather than a dorm/frat-house, then there might be 4 x 4K streams. Even at 40Mbit each, that doesn't tax a gigabit connection.
10GE in a home situation has very limited benefits. PC backups can benefit, but are still limited to disk speed on both ends. I would recommend limiting 10GE to your central storage infrastructure. Leave everything else as 1GE.
No, this is workplace related and the live multimedia streaming and sheer amount of data would make anything more than 1G between servers a benefit. I have a few decades of wiring experience (hundreds of runs, with terminations), just not with CAT7. I know to keep the number of twists in place from point to point and do have the keystones and ends to facilitate retaining those twists in the last 1/2 inch. I've never had to use SFP+ transceivers.
 
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kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
No, this is workplace related and the live multimedia streaming and sheer amount of data would make anything more than 1G between servers would be a benefit. I have a few decades of wiring experience (hundreds of runs, with terminations), just not with CAT7. I know to keep the number of twists in place from point to point and do have the keystones and ends to facilitate retaining those twists in the last 1/2 inch. I've never had to use SFP+ transceivers.
OK, this is a different use case than is typical here, and you are not a typical "home" network installer.
Again, you have to look at actual bandwidth usage. What is the per-user bandwidth for streaming? If you have 24 or 48 port edge switches, then 10GE uplinks can make sense. BUT you also have look at where that bandwidth is going. Local shared storage? Local server access? Internet? Again, concentrate your budget on the shared resources first.
Installation cost is usually the biggest consideration in a business environment. A trunk of single mode fiber (8 pairs) installed from a central "shared" location to each TDR location can be the most "future proof". Single mode SFPs are more expensive than multimode, but single mode fiber will handle 100GE in the future for any distance required. 10GE, 40GE and 100GE have unique distance limitations on OM4 multimode fiber.
Terminating fiber is usually best handled by a specialty company that has the tools to do the job.
If you have a single hardware provider, then you also have the option of proprietary trunking between switches.
 

AJAshinoff

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Feb 18, 2019
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OK, this is a different use case than is typical here, and you are not a typical "home" network installer.
Again, you have to look at actual bandwidth usage. What is the per-user bandwidth for streaming? If you have 24 or 48 port edge switches, then 10GE uplinks can make sense. BUT you also have look at where that bandwidth is going. Local shared storage? Local server access? Internet? Again, concentrate your budget on the shared resources first.
Installation cost is usually the biggest consideration in a business environment. A trunk of single mode fiber (8 pairs) installed from a central "shared" location to each TDR location can be the most "future proof". Single mode SFPs are more expensive than multimode, but single mode fiber will handle 100GE in the future for any distance required. 10GE, 40GE and 100GE have unique distance limitations on OM4 multimode fiber.
Terminating fiber is usually best handled by a specialty company that has the tools to do the job.
If you have a single hardware provider, then you also have the option of proprietary trunking between switches.
Apologies, I came to this room specifically because I thought it was centered on networking questions and not necessarily consumer. I'll reach out to a vendor during the week to see if they can provide direct answers.

I have existing unused Cat7 copper. I'm trying to find out if using that copper will be problematic for 10G with or without an SFP+ transceivers. Is purchasing switches with 10G capable copper ports advantageous to using my copper runs (properly terminated) with SFP+ transceivers?
 
I have existing unused Cat7 copper. I'm trying to find out if using that copper will be problematic for 10G with or without an SFP+ transceivers. Is purchasing switches with 10G capable copper ports advantageous to using my copper runs (properly terminated) with SFP+ transceivers?
Generally copper will be more expensive for 10G as everything has been fibre for years. Plus, as mentioned fibre can just scale so much better.
 
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kanewolf

Titan
Moderator
Apologies, I came to this room specifically because I thought it was centered on networking questions and not necessarily consumer. I'll reach out to a vendor during the week to see if they can provide direct answers.

I have existing unused Cat7 copper. I'm trying to find out if using that copper will be problematic for 10G with or without an SFP+ transceivers. Is purchasing switches with 10G capable copper ports advantageous to using my copper runs (properly terminated) with SFP+ transceivers?
I work in an HPC environment daily, and have worked on design for campus fiber infrastructure. I made the first statement, because most of the posts are the home network type.
Switches with 10GE copper ports are usually more flexible than SFP+ copper ports. Many times SFP+ copper ports will not autonegotiate to lower speeds if required. Those ports were generally designed for optical connections and the copper support can be limited.
Do I think that asking the switch vendor is a good thing? Always. They are the experts on their product.
I apologize if I focused on the wrong aspect of SFP+ infrastructure.
 
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AJAshinoff

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Feb 18, 2019
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I work in an HPC environment daily, and have worked on design for campus fiber infrastructure. I made the first statement, because most of the posts are the home network type.
Switches with 10GE copper ports are usually more flexible than SFP+ copper ports. Many times SFP+ copper ports will not autonegotiate to lower speeds if required. Those ports were generally designed for optical connections and the copper support can be limited.
Do I think that asking the switch vendor is a good thing? Always. They are the experts on their product.
I apologize if I focused on the wrong aspect of SFP+ infrastructure.
Thanks to both of you. Backward compatibility between servers isn't much of an issue for me so SFP+ transcievers is likely the route I will go. I only want to obtain 1Gb to workstations so the bulk of the ports can be 1GB only.

@SimirD As for long term expense, I own the wiring and have the skill set to deploy and finish the wiring. I don't have the skill set to cut and polish fiber. Now I just need to consider brands, find transceivers and compare costs.

Thanks to you both.
 
Thanks to both of you. Backward compatibility between servers isn't much of an issue for me so SFP+ transcievers is likely the route I will go. I only want to obtain 1Gb to workstations so the bulk of the ports can be 1GB only.
Glad to help. Don't forget DAC cables to servers--those are a great alternative to fibre and can hit 10Gb no problem.
 
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