Differentiate the 3 Technologies: Switch Stacking vs Cascading vs Clustering

When we have more than one switches on hand we often seek to a better way in making use of them and managing them. There are mainly three technologies that we might use when we interconnect or combine several switches together, which are switch stacking, cascading and clustering. For many people that firstly get in touch with these terms, they can’t figure out the differences between them. Some discussions of the switch stacking versus switch clustering and switch stacking versus switch cascading have been put forward, but a comprehensive comparison between them has not been made. So this post is a discussion of switch stacking vs cascading vs clustering.

switch stacking vs cascading vs clustering

Switch Stacking vs Cascading vs Clustering

The comparison of switch stacking, cascading and clustering should be based on knowing the meaning of these technologies. So firstly we will see what switch stacking, cascading and cluster are.

What Are Switch Stacking, Cascading and Clustering?

Switch stacking is a technology that combines two or more switches together at the backplane typically via a specialized physical cable (stack cable), so they work like a single switch. The group of switches form a “stack”, and it requires a stack master. There’s also virtual stacking, where switches are stacked via Ethernet ports rather than stack cable/module. In such scenario, switch stacking vs cascading seems to be much similar. The port density or the switch capacity of a stack is the sum of the combined switches. For example, when you cascade two 24-port switches, you will get one large 48-port switch when it comes to configuration. And all the switches in the stack share a single IP address for remote administration instead of each stack unit having its own IP address. Only stackable switches are able to be stacked together. And it should be noted that, when the switches are stacked, there is no need to connect switches in the group via copper or fiber port besides the stacking ports, because the stack logically is one switch. It is like connecting 2 ports together on the same switch, which can cause loop.

By cascading more than one switch you can have multiple ports interconnecting each of your switches in the group. But they are configured and managed independently. Switches that are cascaded together should all support Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), in order to allow redundancy and to prevent loop. Generally switches of any models or from any manufacturers can be cascaded. But it does not rule out the cases that two switches can not be cascaded.

A switch cluster is a set of switches connected together, whether through common user port or special ports. One switch plays the role of cluster command switch, and other switches are cluster member switches, which are managed by the command switch. In a switch cluster only one IP address is needed (on the command switch). Not all switches can be clustered. Only specific cluster-capable switches from the same manufacturer can be clustered. And different manufacturers may use different software for clustering.

Switch Stacking vs Cascading

Where it comes to switch stacking vs cascading, the most obvious difference is that only stackable switches can be stacked while almost all switches can be cascaded. And the stackable switches are generally of the same model or at least belonging to the same manufacture.

In a switch stack, the port capacity is the combination of all the member switches and the bandwidth is also the sum of all switches. But by cascading switches, the bandwidth will not be increased. There’s even possibility of congestion at the cascade ports if you have only one connection between each switch.

The stack is managed as a whole. When you configure one switch, the change will be duplicated to every other switches in the stack, which is time-saving. However, in a switch cascade, you have to manage and configure every switch separately.

Stacking has a maximum number of stackable switches that you can have in a group. For example, you can connect up to four FS S3800-24F4S or FS S3800-24T4S in a stack. The switch cascading has limitation on the layers that you can have, which are usually the traditional three layers topology: core, aggregation and access. When the limitation is exceeded, there might be problems of latency and losing packet.

FS S3800-24F4S or FS S3800-24T4S stackable switch

Switch Stacking vs Clustering

Stacking and clustering is very similar in that a stack or a cluster both use only one IP address, and member switches are managed as a whole. So when you wan to simplify the management of multiple switches, both stacking and clustering are technologies that can be adopted.

Stacking might be a bit easier to configure since the stack can automatically recognize new stack member, while in a cluster, you have to manually add a device to be the switch cluster. The management of stack members is through a single configuration file. Cluster members have separate, individual configurations files. So the management by a stack master is complete on every stack switch, but the cluster command switch is the point of some management for all cluster members.

The distances between clustered switches can be more flexible. They can be in the same location or they can be located across a Layer 2 or Layer 3. But stacked switches are in the same layer and generally they are located in the same rack. Only virtual stackable switches can be placed in different locations.

Conclusion

After reviewing the discussion of switch stacking vs cascading vs clustering, you may find that the three technologies have the similarity that switches in a stack/cascade/cluster group need to be physically connected. Some are through common Ethernet ports, while some are through special stack ports. Cascading has the minimal requirements on the switch model, while both stacking and clustering require the switches to be stackable/cluster-capable, and are of the same model or at least from a single manufacturer. Stacking and cascading are based on hardware implementation while clustering is based on software implementation. The management of a stack is the most complete among the three.

Buy PoE Switch: 48-Port Switch vs 2 24-Port Switches

When we have about 30 PoE and non-PoE mixed connections in our network, the problem of buying a 48-port PoE switch vs. 2 x 24-port PoE switch always puzzles us. If we already have one 24-port PoE switch in use and we’re just adding more ports, we can choose to buy a single 16-24 ports PoE switch or a 16-24 ports Ethernet access switch to connect the increased devices. But as for a newly built network or 30 newly-deployed PoE devices, we have to balance the pros and cons of choosing one 48-port switch vs. 2 24-port switch.

48-Port Switch vs 2 24-Port Switch

PoE Connectivity: 48-Port Switch vs. 2 24-Port Switch Debate

In terms of the cost, usually one 48-port PoE switch will cost more than two 24-port PoE switches of the same model, but it does not mean always. For example, buying the 48-port PoE+ managed switch FS S1600-48T4S is lower than buying two 24-port PoE+ managed switches FS S1600-24T4F. If we have a tight budget and concerns cost saving most, the 1 x 48-port switch vs. 2 24-port switch debate can end here by buying the cheaper choice. Otherwise, we have more factors to consider.

Concerns of Installing 2 x 24 Port PoE Switch

In the options of one 48-port switch vs. 2 24 port switches, if we choose to do the job with two 24-port PoE switches, then we may have to undertake these shortcomings, unless they do not matter in our case. Firstly, two 24-port PoE switches take up more space than a 48-port PoE switch. A fixed-chassis 48-port PoE switch takes up a standard 1 RU space of the rack while 2 x 24-port PoE switch will use more space than that whether it is 1RU size or smaller. Secondly, if the 2 x 24-port PoE switches are not stacked then we have to do trunk between those two switches, which will eat up ports and give you only 46 ports available. At the same time it provides additional potential of bottleneck at the uplink port. Since the internal traffic on a switch is going to be gazillions of times faster than a 1G or even a 10G uplink between switches. But for a 48-port one, it will have less issues with bottleneck/congestion. The last concern is that two 24-port PoE switches are harder to manage than one 48-Port PoE switch, even when stacking the two.

Concerns of Installing 1 x 48 Port PoE Switch

When we decided to install only one 48-port switch versus 2 x 24-port switch, there are also some concerns in practice. The biggest issue is that we lose redundancy. If we have only one switch and it fails, we’re chained until we get the replacement, which could be over 24hrs away. But in a two switches’ scenario, if one switch fails at least half of our devices can still be up and running. Another thing we may lose is the separate placing of the 2 x 24-port switches. If we have a single rack to install them, then there’s no issue but if we want to place desktop switch for IP cameras and IP access points in different offices, we may not go with a 48-port PoE switch.

Suggestions for Selection

After the discussion about 48-port switch vs. 2 24-port switches, here are the conclusions we have. In terms of better performance, the a 48-port PoE switch is over 2 x 24-port switch. There’s less possibility of creating congestion between the two switches at the uplink ports. For easier management of the devices, it is also suggested to go with one single 48-port PoE switch rather than 2 x 24-ports. All ports on the 48-port PoE switch could communicate between them at wire speed. When we need the redundancy, we’d better go with 2 x 24-port PoE switch. If we want to avoid some problems brought by trunking and separate managing, we can choose stackable PoE switches or modular switch with two 24-port modules, which will provide large backplane and can be managed as a whole.

Ending

The concerns that we discuss in this post are general ones that we may have in choosing one 48-port switch vs. 2 24-port switch for PoE devices. The final decision should depend on our key purpose of buying them. The above factors are several things that we can take into account when we face the similar issue.

Related article: How to Choose a Suitable 48-Port PoE Switch?

Comparison of 48-Port PoE Switch Price and Functionality

When it comes to connecting a lot of VoIP phones and IP cameras, a 48-port PoE switch is great for powering them. Whether it is for home use or business use, a 48-port PoE switch can best solve the problems of installing these PoE network devices in places that has no power lines. If you need to know the application of 48-port PoE switch in access and core area, you could read Deploying 48-Port Gigabit PoE Managed Switch in Different Networks. Due to the high capacity and power supply feature, a 48-port PoE switch price is often higher than a standard 48-port Ethernet switch with no PoE. In this post, we will introduce some cheap 48-port PoE switches and do a comparison between them.

48-port PoE switch for VoIP phone IP camera

Comparison of Four 48-Port PoE Switches Prices and Functions

The four 48-port PoE switches that we’re going to discuss are UniFi US-48-500W, TP-Link T1600G-52PS, D-Link DGS-1210-52MP/ME and FS S1600-48T4S. They are inexpensive compared with most enterprise class 48-port PoE switches. Let’s have a look at these switches.

Difference Between the Four 48-Port PoE Switches

The table below gives some basic parameters of these four switches, including the port type, supported data rate, the maximum PoE power consumption, switching capacity and forwarding rate.

Switch Model UniFi US-48-500W TP-Link T1600G-52PS D-Link DGS-1210-52MP/ME FS S1600-48T4S
10/100/1000Mbps RJ45 Ports 48 48 48 48
Gigabit SFP Ports 2 4 4 0
SFP+ Ports 2 0 0 4
Max. PoE Power Consumption 500 W 470.4 W 479.5 W 600 W
Max. Power Per Port (PoE+) 30 W 30 W 30 W (ports 1-8) 30 W
Switching Capacity 140 Gbps 104 Gbps 104 Gbps 180 Gbps
Forwarding Rate 104.16 Mpps 77.4 Mpps 77.4 Mpps 130.94 Mpps
Price US$760.00 to US$1,230.90 US$481.99 to US$725.99 US$988.06 to US$1,028.01 US$689.00

The UniFi US-48-500W is a 48-port Layer 2 access switch. In addition to 48 Gigabit RJ45 ports, it has 2 fiber ports of Gigabit SFP and 2 fiber ports of 10G SFP+. It has a non-blocking throughout of 70 Gbps, which is sufficient for typical home use and most small business use. But compared with the other three 48-port PoE switches, it lacks some Layer 3 features. The other three are Layer 2+ switches that support static routing and access resolution protocol (ARP) inspecting, which are simple but efficient approaches in segmenting and securing the network.

Outwardly, the TP-Link T1600G-52PS and D-Link DGS-1210-52MP/ME are similar in many aspects. They both have 4 Gigabit SFP ports and their switch fabric capacity and forwarding rate are identical. However, the 48 RJ45 ports of T1600G-52PS are all IEEE 802.3at/af-compliant PoE+ ports, while the 48 RJ45 ports of DGS-1210-52MP/ME are not. Only ports 1-8 are PoE+ and the ports 9-48 are PoE. The price of T1600G-52PS is much lower than DGS-1210-52PS but the former one is released in 2015 while the latter one is 2017’s new model. Both T1600G-52PS and DGS-121052MP/ME has no 10G ability.

Obviously the switching capacity (or backplane bandwidth) and forwarding rate of the FS S1600-48T4S are the highest among these four switches. It has four 10G uplink ports, which allows large traffic from the access switch to the core switch and ensures high speed and precise transmission and recording without delay. Meanwhile, it supports the largest power to the device, which is suitable for connecting more PoE network devices. This 48-port PoE switch’s price is lower than two of the other switches.

48-port PoE switch FS S1600-48T4S

Common Benefits and Features of the Four 48-Port PoE Switches

These four 48-port PoE switches’ prices are much lower than that of high-end PoE switches. They are all managed PoE switches equipped with 48 10/100/1000Mbps Rj45 ports of auto-sensing IEEE 802.3af (PoE), which provides a maximum per PoE port output power to each device of 15.4 W. They also support IEEE 802.3at (PoE+), which enhanced the max. per port power consumption to 30 W. All of them have been equipped with fiber uplink ports.

Another common feature is that these four 48-port PoE switches all support easy management. And the managing function is not limited to only one type. They all have an RJ45 console port or a serial port for managing through web-based graphical user interface (GUI, IPv4/IPv6) or command line interface (CLI).

Summary

This post has compared some 48-port PoE switches’ prices and functions. They are generally inexpensive and suitable for both home use and business use. The managing functions are simplified compared with high-end switches, in order to help better management of the network. If you want 10G uplink, UniFi US-48-500W or FS S1600-48T4S are recommended. Before purchasing a 48-port PoE switch, be sure to check the power requirement for your total PoE devices, the standard it complies to and the overall PoE budget of your installation.

Affordable 8-12 ports 10G SFP+ Switches for SMB HCA Expansion

Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) has been earning a good reputation in data centers, whether it is of the entire branch offices, the IT duties of small and medium businesses (SMBs) or the virtual desktop infrastructure deployments. HCI offers numerous integrated services such as backup, data protection and solid-state drive storage, and allows seamless management and expansion of various compute, storage and network devices, i.e., users can scale the network flexibly by adding a new appliance to the hyper-converged cluster. For SMBs, the requirements for network switches is not the same as large enterprises when adding a 10G appliance. This post is to suggest some affordable 8-12 ports 10G SFP+ switches for SMBs during hyper-converged appliance (HCA) expansion.

10G SFP+ Switches Requirements for SMB HCA Expansion

In today’s SMBs, applications are requiring higher data rate and some management features. For a SMB with a considerable size, the core switches might be required to a fully-managed switch with strong capacity, high bandwidth and high port count. The switches for the connectivity of the cluster (compute, storage and network devices) may also have many ports. But when adding new appliance to the cluster, the switch usually needs not to be high port count or with high data rate. An 8-12 ports 10G SFP+ switch is generally enough for hyper-converged appliance expansion, which is rational considering the expenditure for expansion as well. The following table gives some 8-12 ports 10G SFP+ switches in the market for your reference.

Switch Model Ports Switching Capacity Fowarding Rate Switching Layer Price
Dell X4012 12 x 10G SFP+ 240 Gbps 178.6 Mpps L2+ $1,063.54
Netgear M4300-8X8F 8 x 10G SFP+ and 8 x 10GBASE-T 320 Gbps 238.1 Mpps L3 $1,719.00
Cisco SG500XG-8F8T 8 x 10G SFP+ and 8 x 10GBASE-T 320 Gbps 238.1 Mpps L3 $2,146.59
FS S5800-8TF12S 12 x 10G SFP+ and 8 x 1GBASE-T/SFP Combo 240 Gbps 178.6 Mpps L3 $1,699.00
D-link DXS-1210-12SC 10 x 10G SFP+ and 2 x 10GBASE-T/SFP+ Combo 240 Gbps 178.6 Mpps L3 $1,055.00

12 10G SFP+ FS S5800-8TF12S

According to the information available, these switches can be got online well under $3K in brand new condition. Suppose that a SMB has a core switch which has a fabric capacity of 960 Gbps, and now it needs to add 5 nodes of 10G speed to the cluster for downstream, an 8-12 ports 10G SFP+ switch will not only give enough ports for current nodes and for uplink to the core, but also gives the SMB space to grow.

These switches have some features in common. These common features are very helpful in SMB network managing and ensuring data quality.

Management and Functionality Services

For all the switches mentioned above, some of them are fully managed switches while some are smart managed switches. But all of them are not limited to web interface management. They also support Command Line Interface (CLI), Telnet (multi-session support), SSH and SNMP (simple network management protocol). The most functions that a SMB might need are all equipped, such as VLAN, port mirroring, LACP (link aggregation control protocol) and RMON (remote network control).

QoS and Security Features

The QoS (Quality of Service) features include ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) inspection, ACLs (Access Control Lists), DSCP remark, etc. These features can contribute a lot in securing the SMB network, for example, with the help of ARP inspection and ACLs, the switch can block fake ARP entries outside the system, so that data frames will not be easily sniffed or modified. Broadcast Storm Control is also supported in order to avoid traffic disorder caused by malicious attack from intruders.

How to Connect These 10G SFP+ Switches?

Although these 8-12 ports 10G SFP+ switches chosen for SMB hyper-converged appliance expansion are relatively low-priced, but the OEM 10G SFP+ fiber transceivers can overburden a SMB if bought in large quantity. Four OEM 10G SFP+ transceivers can cost as much as a 10G SFP+ switch we have found above. Fortunately, there is way to release the SMBs from expensive OEM optics. That is cost-effective 10G SFP+ compatible modules. So the total cost for the HCA expansion will not exceed $3k either. In addition, most OEM switches support third party transceiver modules and DAC cables from third party transceiver vendors.

Summary

In sum, for SMB hyper-converged appliance expansion, the 10G SFP+ switches used to connect the core switch and the cluster need not to be high port count, but should be equipped with enough management functions for SMB applications. An 8-12 ports 10G SFP+ switch is good enough.

What’s the Difference: FET-10G vs. SFP-10G-SR

You must be puzzled by the two different short reach optical transceivers for a long time: FET-10G vs. SFP-10G-SR. What’s their difference? Does the connection work if we connect Cisco Nexus switches with FET-10G on one end and SFP-10G-SR on the other end? With these questions in mind, I’d like to invite you to keep reading the article.

FET-10G vs. SFP-10G-SR Difference

FET-10G vs. SFP-10G-SR are Cisco brand for building short network. FET is short for “Fabric Extender”. Just as its name implies, this module can only support fabric links from a Nexus 2000 to a Cisco parent switch. Fabric Extender transceiver can support link lengths up to 100m over OM3 or OM4 multimode fiber cable. SFP-10G-SR transceiver supports link lengths of 26m on standard fiber distributed data interface-grade multimode fiber cable. The link lengths can reach up to 300m over OM3 fiber cable and 400m over OM4 fiber optic jumpers. You can learn some small differences from the following table.

SFP+ Wavelength(nm) Cable Type Interface Modal Bandwidth(MHz km) Max Cable Distance (m)
FET-10G 850 MMF Duplex LC 500 (OM2)

2000 (OM3)

4700 (OM4)

25

100

100

SFP-10G-SR 850 MMF Duplex LC 160

200 (OM1)

400

500 (OM2)

2000 (OM3)

4700 (OM4)

26

33

66

82

300

400

Can We Connect FET-10G With SFP-10G-SR

In Cisco Nexus switch, do the transceivers have t ends in order for the connection to work? Does FET module have to be linked with another FET module? Now there is a FET-10G module in Cisco Nexus 2000 series fabric extender and SFP-10G-SR in a Nexus 5000 series switch. Can this connection work normally? Before making a judgement, let’s first compare the power of FET-10G and SFP-10G-SR.

SFP+ Module Transmit Power (dBm) Receive Power (dBm)
Max. Min. Max. Min.
FET-10G -1.3 -8 -1 -9.9
SFP-10G-SR -1.2 -7.3 -1.0 -9.9

From the above chart, transmit power and receiver power are different. And it has mentioned before that FET-10G vs. SFP-10G-SR support different network distance over the same fiber cable. Therefore, we can get a conclusion that FET-10G transceiver have to be connected with another FET-10G module. If we build a connection with SFP-10G-SR into the Nexus 5000 and FET-10G in Nexus 2000, it won’t work.

For better connection, when using FET-10G fabric extender transceiver, you should follow these rules:
1. FET-10G only supports fabric links, for instance, fabric links from a Nexus 2000 series to a Cisco parent switch.
2. Cisco fabric extender transceiver must be connected to another fabric extender transceiver, FET-10G to FET-10G.
3. FET-10G can be used for Nexus Cisco 2200 uplinks.
4. FET-10G can support fabric links on Cisco 5000, 6000, 7000 series switch.

Can We Replace FET-10G with SFP-10G-SR Modules?

FET-10G transceiver is designed to connect Cisco Nuplink ports (fabric interfaces) with the upstream parent Cisco Nexus switch. We already know that we can’t intermix FET-10G with SFP-10G-SR modules. How about plugging SFP-10G-SR transceivers into the fabric ports to connect Cisco Nexus switches? That is to say, can we replace FET-10G with SFP-10G-SR?

The answer is yes. However, it’s more expensive compared with original Cisco SFP-10G-SR transceiver. FET-10G is to provide an uplink to a Fabric Extender and save you money. If you already have them, then use them. If you making a purchasing decision, buy the FET-10G or third-party SFP-10G-SR.

FET-10G vs. SFP-10G-SR

Conclusion

From this article, you can find FET-10G vs. SFP-1T-10G is specially designed for Cisco Nexus series switches. To make sure the right connection, bear in mind that use the sane transceivers on both sides, either FET or 10G-SR. You can replace FET-10G with SFP-10G-SR while you can’t do that in turn.

Tunable SFP+ VS. Fixed Wavelength DWDM SFP+ Transceiver

Dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) is one of most important technologies to increase network transmission capacity. Early DWDM systems applied fixed wavelength DWDM transceivers and performance is good. However, as the demand for great traffic capacity keeps growing, more optical transceivers of different wavelengths are needed, leading to high cost. So how to deal with that? Tunable SFP+ arises your attention.

Tunable-SFP+

What Is Tunable SFP+

Conventional DWDM SFP+ transceivers use fixed-wavelength lasers as light sources. It means that many optical transceivers are needed for the wavelength channels in a DWDM system. While tunable SFP+ is different from fixed wavelengths modules because it applies tunable laser, which can operate at any channel wavelength, means that only one kind of transceiver is needed. Tunable lasers are now widely used as light sources in DWDM systems. Tunable SFP+ modules are only available in DWDM since CWDM grid is too wide. Tunable SFP+ optics are for the C-Band 50GHz. About 88 different channels can be set with intervals of 0.4nm, which is the 50GHz band.

For better understanding, I’ll show you a tunable module. This is a Cisco Compatible 10G DWDM C-band tunable SFP+ 50GHz Transceiver. It’s hot swappable, can support 10.3Gbps data rate up to the distance of 80km over single mode LC duplex fiber patch cable. Support 1563.86nm-1528.77nm C-band tunable wavelengths.

Cisco-tunable-SFP+ optics

What you should note is that wavelengths of tunable SFP+ can be tuned only when your Cisco/Juniper/Arista/etc switch supports. If your switch only support common fixed-wavelength DWDM SFP+, you need external software to change tunable optics into certain wavelength before putting into use.

Why Tunable SFP+ Is Better Than Fixed Wavelength SFP+?

Fixed wavelength SFP+ are still in the market and not too many problems found in use. So you may feel puzzled about choosing tunable SFP+ or fixed wavelength SFP+ as tunable SFP+ is more expensive. The following will tell you why you need tunable optics.

First, save you cost. With the development of optical communication systems, the shortages of fixed-wavelength laser gradually revealed. Conventional DWDM SFP+ can lead high costs. The number of wavelengths in DWDM 50GHz has reached the hundreds. Then spare modules of each laser should be prepared for protection of the system because you don’t know which module will break down and it’s difficult to predict the number of stock in specific channels. Therefore you have to buy large quantity of DWDM SFP+ modules with fixed wavelengths. While the tunable optics are configured with different DWDM wavelengths in one module. You can select the right wavelength you need based on your optical fiber communication environment. Tunable SFP+ are typically used as “spare-optics” to save you cost.

Second, flexible network management. When running a DWDM network with lots of nodes, for instance, up to 80 different wavelengths, management could be a nightmare. You have to prepare couple of DWDM SFP+ optics of each wavelength and possibly in different locations. Field engineers may not access network nodes as quickly as you wish. Thus tunable optics would be a good choice. Tunable optics could be configured for a specific wavelength to support bandwidth changes as needed in optical network.

Third, suitable for large network capacity. As the development of increasing network transport, 400G or 1T would be the trend. Then 400G and 1T transmission formats are expected to be bulky and not fit within 50GHz spacing. These future new data rate formats require that channel spacing is flexible, that your OTN system can adapt to new rates and can re-arrange channel spacing to find place for new rates in it. Tunable optics will double the number of channels supported in this transceiver module. Upgrading to 50GHz channel spacing doubles the capacity potential in Enterprise and Metro networks.

Choose Tunable SFP+ in the Long Run

Tunable SFP+ are high-performance optics which can be tuned to the appropriate wavelength in seconds. The ability to function on various wavelengths has set these optics apart from fixed-wavelength DWDM SFP+. Tunable SFP+ will become popular among DWDM systems due to their ease of spare use and flexibility. Tunable SFP+ would be a powerful and invaluable transmission tool in high-speed network. At present, many engineers are using fixed wavelengths SFP+ transceivers. Some may be stopped by the tunable SFP+ price. But in the long run, you are suggested to consider tunable SFP+.

Core Switch & Edge Switch: How to Make a Decision?

When considering buying a new switch for your small business, you need to ask yourself a few questions: How many devices will the switch need to support? What kinds of devices will I be connecting? Has our network grown to the point where we need a switch with more advanced management capabilities? And here is an important decision you are going to make: whether core or edge for your network.

What Is A Core Switch?

A core switch, is also known as a backbone switch. It is a high-capacity switch generally positioned within the backbone or physical core of a network. Core switches serve as the gateway to a wide area network (WAN) or the Internet—they provide the final aggregation point for the network and allow multiple aggregation modules to work together. You use it to connect to servers, your Internet service provider (ISP) via a router, and to aggregate all switches that your company uses to connect crucial pieces of equipment that your company can’t afford to lose to downtime. As a result, your core switch should always be a fast, full-featured managed switch.

48 ports managed switch

What Is An Edge Switch?

An edge switch also is called an access node or a service node. It is a switch located at the meeting point of two networks. These switches connect end-user local area networks (LANs) to Internet service provider (ISP) networks. Edge switches can be routers, routing switches, integrated access devices (IADs), multiplexers and a variety of MAN and WAN devices that provide entry points into enterprise or service provider core networks. Edge switches can directly connect client devices, such as laptops, desktops, security cameras, and wireless access points, to your network.

what is edge switch

Core Switch vs. Edge Switch

Generally speaking, a core switch would have more up-market features such as higher backplane speed, layer 3 including routing protocols such as OSPF, and physical redundancy features such as removable PSUs. They might not have any copper presentation at all. A core switch will typically have deeper buffers, such that multiple connections can be experiencing congestion.

Edge switches are what your desktops and phones plug directly into (at the “edge of the network”). Typically they are lighter on features and more about copper port count and some form of fibre interface into the backbone / core.

How Should I Make A Choice?

A small company with fewer than 100 employees should function well with one core switch. However, as your business—and your network—grow, you might need to expand the number of core switches to two or more. In this case, you might want to consider stackable switches, which further simplify management.

Edge switches generally are considered less crucial than core switches to a network’s smooth operation. If there are areas of the office such as a conference room where you don’t need the features of a fully managed switch, your company can save some money by installing smart switches. But if you can’t tolerate any downtime whatsoever, want to maintain tight security throughout your office, or have the infrastructure to be able to add multiple different types of applications in the future, you should consider outfitting your entire network with managed switches.

Conclusion

Fortunately, managed switches are no longer out of reach for small businesses. Not long ago the price gap between managed and smart switches was as much as 40 percent. Today, though, that difference has shrunk to 10-20 percent. If you’re unsure which switch will meet your business’s needs, FS.COM, a manufacturer specializing in networking can help you choose the product that’s just right for you. Besides, we also offer other network related optic products like fiber optic transceivers, copper wires, fiber patch cable and so on. For more details, please visit www.fs.com.

Wireless Network vs. Wired Network: Which One to Choose?

Our home networks rely on either wired (Ethernet) or wireless technology. Sometimes, we use both of them, especially when multiple Internet capable devices are set up in homes. Wireless networks enable multiple devices to use the same internet connection remotely, as well as share files and other resources. But it’s still hard to say wireless is better than wired, since each one has advantages and drawbacks. This article is meant to compare wireless and wired technology from three primary factors: mobility, reliability, and security.

wireless network anywhere

Wireless Network vs. Wired Network

wired network vs wireless network

Mobility

A wired LAN (Local Area Network) uses Ethernet cables to connect computers together directly or more commonly, through a hub, switch, or router. Wired connections typically cost much less and reduce battery drain on laptops and other mobile devices because Wi-Fi adapters use more power.

As for wireless network, users can move around freely within the area of the network with their laptops, handheld devices etc and get an internet connection. The popularity of Wi-Fi has also increased due to increased smartphone and tablet sales. Many of these devices are not capable of wired Ethernet connections and rely on wireless signals for Internet connectivity.

Reliability

Ethernet-based(wired) networks tend to be much more reliable than wireless networks. The backbone of any network relies on an Ethernet connection. The most common problem with wired network is loose cable connections. Because you have to lay lots of cables and put them through walls etc. A bundle of tangled wires can result in damage and performance degradation. Using Zip-Ties is an excellent way to keep cables out of the way and tangle-free.

For the most part, wireless technology is reliable. There are some concerns about interference from home appliances such as microwaves and cordless phones, but most wireless routers provide multiple channels that can mitigate this concern relatively easily.

Security

The security of a home-based Ethernet network is almost primarily dependent upon a firewall. Most broadband routers include a firewall already and software firewalls can also be installed on individual machines. Unlike wireless networks that broadcast data through the air, all data packets in a wired network safely travel through Ethernet cables. As long as the router is protected from intrusion using a firewall, your wired home network is safe.

The mobility of wireless networks is overshadowed in some respects by the lower security inherent to wireless. An unsecured wireless network can easily be compromised by a hacker or identity thief looking to intercept private information traveling through your wireless network. Although these risks are very real, many of them can be avoided with proper network installation. For example, using a secure password for logging into the wireless network. Although this does not make a wireless router completely safe, it certainly reduces the likelihood of unwanted guests gaining access to your information.

Summary of The Advantages and Disadvantages

Activity/Category Wireless Network Wired Network
Freedom of movement for users Users can access network from anywhere within range Users location limited by need to use cable and/or connect to a port
Sharing Files Easier with wireless network as you do not need to be cabled to network, though transfer speeds may be slower Generally less convenient as you have to be cabled in, but transfer speeds often faster
Cables Far less complicated, disruptive, and untidy cabling needed Lots of cables and ports needed which can be a headache
Business For businesses dealing with public, customers like and often expect wireless, so wireless can increase income Wired networks are not convenient for public use, but sometimes acceptable for a traditional office
Connection speeds Usually slower than wired Usually faster than wireless
Security Less secure than wired. Both bandwidth and information can sometimes be accessed More secure than wireless
Set up Upgrading to a wireless network can be difficult and expensive Can also be difficult and expensive to set up

Conclusion

Here, we do not mean to abandon one over the other. A good home network will often have both wireless and wired components. Ethernet connections are great for high-speed transfers on desktops or other devices that do not move. Your smart phone, tablet, or laptop will benefit from a wireless network that has been properly configured to ensure a secure browsing experience. Whether you choose a wired or wireless network, or a combination of the two, take time to configure it properly and add a firewall to protect your privacy and the integrity of your network while enjoying the benefits afforded by both technologies. If you need any Ethernet cables for wired network, or cost-effective Ethernet switches for wireless network, just give FS.COM a shot. For more information, please visit www.fs.com.

Cisco 2960X Series Switches vs. Huawei S5700 Series Switches

As we all know, Cisco System is one of the biggest multinational technology conglomerate in the world for decades. Its network devices, such as routers, switches..are popular in their customers. We can believe that Cisco will develop stronger, but new and strong competitors are arising, like Huawei. Huawei is one of the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world, having overtaken Ericsson in 2012. Both are the giants of switch manufactures. Both switches offer more than enough bandwidth to be capable of forwarding at line rate for all ports. Both switches are designed to use the minimum amount of power possible at all times, earning them Green designations. But which one should I choose? Read on to know more about these switches.

cisco vs huawei

Cisco Switches vs. Huawei Switches

Before we cut to the chase, let’s take a look at the comparison between Cisco switches and Huawei switches. Although the function of switch is the same, different brands have different features.

Switches Series

Now, Cisco switches have many series. The popular series, enterprise switches, are Catalyst series and Nexus switches. Cisco Catalyst series includes 2960 series, 3650 series, 3850 series, 4500E series, etc. Cisco Nexus series includes 9000, 7000, etc. Huawei switches also have various series. There are data center switches, campus switches and SOHO & SMB switches. The popular one is the campus switches. In all the campus switches, the S5700 series is the hottest switches in enterprises.

Product Code Rules

Except the different series, there are also differences of their switches product code rules. Take Cisco WS-C3850-24T-L and Huawei S5700-28X-LI-AC switches as an example.

Cisco WS-C3850-24T-L Code Introduction:

  • WS=Switch, C=catalyst, 3850=3850 series
  • 24=Ethernet Port Number
  • T=Ethernet Ports
  • L=LAN Base image

Huawei S5700-28X-LI-AC Code Introduction:

  • S=switch
  • 57=5700 Series
  • 00=5700 Sub Series like 5710 series
  • 28=the biggest number of data interfaces is 48, including uplinks and downlinks
  • Li=Lite software Image
  • AC=Ac power supply
Cisco 2960X Series Switches vs. Huawei S5700 Series Enterprise Switches

Here is a one-to-one mapping between cisco 2960x and huawei s5700 switches, covering the relationship of them and help you choose the best network switch for your need.

About Cisco Catalyst 2960-X Series Switches

Cisco Catalyst 2960-X Series are stackable Gigabit Ethernet Layer 2 and Layer 3 access switches that provide enterprise-class access for campus and branch applications. Designed for operational simplicity to lower total cost of ownership, they enable scalable, secure and energy-efficient business operations with intelligent services and a range of advanced Cisco IOS Software features.

Cisco Catalyst 2960-X Series Switches feature:

  • 4 or 48 Gigabit Ethernet ports with line-rate forwarding performance
  • Gigabit Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP) or 10G SFP+ uplinks
  • FlexStack-Extended capabilities for out-of-the wiring-closet distance stacking of up to 8 switches with 40 Gbps of stack throughput (optional)
  • FlexStack-Plus for stacking of up to 8 switches with 80 Gbps of stack throughput (optional)
  • Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+) support with up to 740W of PoE budget
  • 4-port PoE fanless switch for deployment outside the wiring closet
  • Reduced power consumption and advanced energy management features
  • USB and Ethernet management interfaces for simplified operations
  • Application visibility and capacity planning with integrated Full (Flexible) NetFlow and NetFlow-Lite
  • AN Base or LAN Lite Cisco IOS software features
  • Enhanced Limited Lifetime Warranty (E-LLW) offering next-business-day hardware replacement
  • Identify, classify and control of trusted internal network traffic through Domain Name System as an Authoritative Source (DNS-AS)

Cisco Catalyst 2960-XR Series Switches also offer:

  • Power resiliency with optional dual field-replaceable power supplies
  • P Lite Cisco IOS software with dynamic routing and Layer 3 features
About Huawei S5700 Series Gigabit Enterprise Switches

The S5700 series gigabit enterprise switches are next-generation energy-saving switches developed by Huawei to meet the demand for high-bandwidth access and Ethernet multi-service aggregation. S5700 provides a large switching capacity and high-density GE ports to accommodate 10 Gbit/s upstream transmissions. The S5700 can be used in various enterprise network scenarios. For example, it can function as an access or aggregation switch on a campus network, a gigabit access switch in an Internet data center (IDC), or a desktop switch to provide 1000 Mbit/s access for terminals.

  • Dual power slot
  • Intelligent stacking(iStack), supporting a maximum of 9 switches in a stack
  • Hardware BFD, hardware Ethernet OAM
  • Netstream
  • Energy-Efficient Ethernet(EEE)
Comparison Chart of Cisco 2960-X and Huawei S5700

Comparison Chart of Cisco 2960-X and Huawei S5700

FS.COM White Box switches and Compatible Transceiver Modules

FS 40G/100G white box switches provide high performance, increased availability, low latency and better serviceability for next-generation data centers and enterprise networks in different applications. And they also support spine-leaf network topology that leverage commoditized hardware for the best price/performance, just as shown below.

100g-switches

Summary

Cisco Vs Huawei, we can’t say which one is better than the other. Cisco switches meet the needs of organizations and offices of all sizes and sorts. As for Huawei, it has several product lines that are similar to Cisco devices, but have their own network hardware lines and IT solutions for different network demands. It all depends on what you need and of course your budget. Also as a global high performance data center solutions provider, FS.COM provides various networking devices for your reference like optical transceivers, which are compliant with major brand, patch cables for customized service and also Ethernet switches.

Transceiver Solutions for Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series Switch

This year, Cisco unveiled the Catalyst 9000 family, shaping the new era of intent-based networking. The Network. Intuitive. The Cisco Catalyst 9000 Series switches are the next generation of enterprise-class switches built for security, Internet of Things (IoT), mobility, and cloud. The Cisco Catalyst 9000 Series switches come in three main varieties: The Catalyst 9300, the Catalyst 9400 and the Catalyst 9500. Here, the post will give an emphasis on Cisco Catalyst 9400 series switches and transceiver solution for them.

Overview of Cisco Catalyst 9300

The Catalyst 9300 Series is the next generation of the industry’s most widely deployed stackable switching platform. Built for security, IoT, and the cloud, these network switches form the foundation for Cisco’s Software-Defined Access, the leading enterprise architecture. In addition, the Cisco Catalyst 9300-based models support a variety of uplink modules for both copper and fiber uplink support. These models add even more flexibility to the interface choices that you can make in a single Cisco Catalyst 9300 Switch or in a stack of Cisco Catalyst 9300 Switches.

cisco catalyst 9300

Supported Transceiver Modules for Cisco Catalyst 9300

The Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series Switches support optional network modules for uplink ports. All modules are supported across all 9300 platforms:

  • 4 x 1 Gigabit Ethernet network module
  • 4 x 1, 2.5, 5, or 10 Gigabit Ethernet network module
  • 8 x 10 Gigabit Ethernet network module
  • 2 x 40 Gigabit Ethernet network module

100G Solution

Model Number Transceiver Description Interface Max Cable Distance
CFP-100G-SR10 100GBASE-SR10 CFP form factor transceiver module for multi mode fiber, short wavelength over 10 lanes, in the 850-nm wavelength window MTP/MPO-24 Up to 100m on OM3/<150m on OM4
CFP-100G-LR4 100GBASE-LR4 CFP form factor transceiver module for SMF, 4 LAN-WDM lanes in the 1310-nm wavelength window LC duplex 10km
CFP-100G-ER4 100GBASE-ER4 CFP form factor transceiver module for SMF, 4 LAN-WDM lanes in the 1310-nm wavelength window LC duplex 40km
QSFP-100G-SR4-S 100GBASE-SR4 QSFP form factor transceiver module for multi mode fiber, short wavelength over 4 lanes, in the 850-nm wavelength window LC duplex 100m
QSFP-100G-CWDM4-S 100GBASE CWDM4 QSFP form factor Transceiver for single mode fiber, 4 CWDM-WDM lanes in the 12761-1331-nm wavelength window LC duplex 2km
QSFP-100G-PSM4-S 100GBASE PSM4 QSFP form factor transceiver module for single mode fiber, short wavelength over 4 lanes, in the 1195-1325-nm wavelength window MTP/MPO-12 500m
QSFP-100G-LR4-S 100GBASE-LR4 QSFP form factor transceiver module for SMF, 4 LAN-WDM lanes in the 1310-nm wavelength window LC duplex 10km

40G Solution

Model Number Transceiver Description Interface Max Cable Distance
QSFP-40G-SR4 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ transceiver module for MMF, 4-lanes, 850-nm wavelength MTP/MPO 150m on OM4
QSFP-40G-CSR4 40GBASE-CSR4 QSFP+ transceiver module for MMF, 4-lanes, 850-nm wavelength MTP/MPO 400m on OM4
QSFP-40G-SR4-S 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ transceiver module for MMF, 4-lanes, 850-nm wavelength MTP/MPO 150m on OM4
QSFP-40G-SR-BD 40G QSFP Bi-Directional transceiver module for duplex MMF LC duplex 150m on OM4/100m on OM3/30m on OM2
QSFP-40G-ER4 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP40G transceiver module for Single Mode Fiber, 4 CWDM lanes in 1310nm window Muxed inside module LC duplex 40km
QSFP-40GE-LR4 100GBASE-LR4 QSFP form factor transceiver module for SMF, 4 LAN-WDM lanes in the 1310-nm wavelength window LC duplex 10km
WSP-Q40GLR4L 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP40G transceiver module for Single Mode Fiber, 4 CWDM lanes in 1310nm window Muxed inside module LC duplex 2km

25G Solution

Model Number Transceiver Description Connector Type Cable Type
SFP-H25G-CU1M 25G Copper Cable 1-meter SFP28 to SFP28 Passive Copper Cable
SFP-H25G-CU2M 25G Copper Cable 2-meter SFP28 to SFP28 Passive Copper Cable
SFP-H25G-CU3M 25G Copper Cable 3-meter SFP28 to SFP28 Passive Copper Cable
SFP-H25G-CU5M 25G Copper Cable 2-mete SFP28 to SFP28 Passive Copper Cable
SFP-25G-SR-S 25GBASE-SR SFP+ transceiver module for MMF, 850-nm wavelength LC duplex MMF

10G Solution

Model Number Transceiver Description Interface Max Cable Distance
SFP-10G-SR 10GBASE-SR SFP+ transceiver module for MMF, 850-nm wavelength LC duplex 300m over OM3
SFP-10G-SR-S 10GBASE-SR SFP+ transceiver module for MMF, 850-nm wavelength LC duplex 300m over OM3
SFP-10G-SR-X 10GBASE-LRM SFP+ transceiver module for MMF and SMF, 1310-nm wavelength LC duplex 300m over OM3
SFP-10G-LRM 10GBASE-LRM SFP+ transceiver module for MMF and SMF, 1310-nm wavelength LC duplex 220m
SFP-10G-LR 10GBASE-LR SFP+ transceiver module for SMF, 1310-nm wavelength LC duplex 10km
SFP-10G-LR-S 10GBASE-LR SFP+ transceiver module for SMF, 1310-nm wavelength LC duplex 10km
SFP-10G-LR-X 10GBASE-LR SFP+ transceiver module for SMF, 1310-nm wavelength LC duplex 10km
SFP-10G-ER-S 10GBASE-ER SFP+ transceiver module for SMF, 1550-nm LC duplex 40km
SFP-10G-ZR 10GBASE-ZR SFP+ transceiver module for SMF, 1550-nm LC duplex 80km
SFP-10G-BX40D-I 10G SFP+ Bidirectional for 40km, downstream LC duplex 40km
SFP-10G-BX40U-I 10G SFP+ Bidirectional for 40km, upstream LC duplex 40km
DWDM-SFP10G-49.32 10GBASE-DWDM 1549.32 nm SFP+ (100-GHz ITU grid) LC duplex 40km
DWDM-SFP10G-60.61 10GBASE-DWDM 1560.61 nm SFP+ (100-GHz ITU grid) LC duplex 40km
CWDM-SFP10G-1470 CWDM 1470 nm SFP+ 10 Gigabit Ethernet Transceiver Module LC duplex 20km
CWDM-SFP10G-1490 CWDM 1490 nm SFP+ 10 Gigabit Ethernet Transceiver Module LC duplex 20km
XENPAK-10GB-ER 10GBASE-ER XENPAK transceiver module for SMF, 1550-nm wavelength SC duplex 40km
XENPAK-10GB-LR 10GBASE-LR XENPAK transceiver module for SMF, 1310-nm wavelength SC duplex 10km
X2-10GB-LR 10GBASE-LR X2 transceiver module for SMF, 1310-nm wavelength SC duplex 10km
X2-10GB-SR 10GBASE-SR X2 transceiver module for MMF, 850-nm wavelength SC duplex 300m over OM3 MMF
XFP-10GLR-OC192SR Cisco multirate XFP transceiver module for 10GBASE-LR Ethernet and OC-192/STM-64 short-reach (SR-1) Packet-over-SONET/SDH (POS) applications,SMF LC duplex 10km
XFP-10GER-OC192IR Cisco multirate XFP transceiver module for 10GBASE-ER Ethernet and OC-192/STM-64 intermediate-reach (IR-2) Packet-over-SONET/SDH (POS) applications, SMF LC duplex 40km

Conclusion

Digital disruption is changing how we think about our networks. Whether customers or employees, the “experience” has become a strategic imperative. The Cisco Catalyst 9300 Series fixed access switches are designed to help you change your network from a platform of connectivity to a platform of services. If you are in need of compatible optical transceivers for Catalyst 9300, give FS.COM a shot. FS.COM provides a wide range of supported optical transceivers for Cisco Catalyst 9300 series switch. Each one of them has been tested with assured 100% compatibility to them.