The Internet is where we store and receive a huge amount of information. Where is all the information stored? The answer is data centers. At its simplest, a data center is a dedicated place that organizations use to house their critical applications and data. Here is a short look into the basics of data centers. You will get to know the data center layout, the data pathway, and common types of data centers.
When it comes to data center design, location is a crucial aspect that no business can overlook. Where your data center is located matters a lot more than you might realize. In this article, we will walk you through the importance of data center location and factors you should keep in mind when choosing one.
The Importance of Data Center Location
Though data centers can be located anywhere with power and connectivity, the site selection can have a great impact on a wide range of aspects such as business uptime and cost control. Overall, a good data center location can better secure your data center and extend the life of data centers. Specifically, it means lower TCO, faster internet speed, higher productivity, and so on. Here we will discuss two typical aspects that are the major concerns of businesses.
Data centers have extremely high security requirements, and once problems occur, normal operation will be affected. Of course, security and reliability can be improved by various means, such as building redundant systems, etc. However, reasonable planning of the physical location of a data center can also effectively avoid harm caused by natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, fires and so on. If a data center is located in a risk zone that is prone to natural disasters, that would lead to longer downtime and more potential damages to infrastructure.
Higher speed and better performance
Where your data center is located can also affect your website’s speed and business performance. When a user visits a page on your website, their computer has to communicate with servers in your data center to access data or information they need. That data is then transferred from servers to their computer. If your data center is located far away from your users who initiate certain requests, information and data will have to travel longer distances. That will be a lengthy process for your users who could probably get frustrated with slow speeds and latency. The result is lost users leaving your site with no plans to come back. In a sense, a good location can make high speed and impressive business performance possible.
Choosing a Data Center Location — Key Factors
Choosing where to locate your data center requires balancing many different priorities. Here are some major considerations to help you get started.
First and foremost, the decision has to be made based on your business needs and market demands. Where are your users? Is the market promising in the location you are considering? You should always build your data center as close as possible to users you serve. It can shorten the time for users to obtain files and data and make for happy customers. For smaller companies that only operate in a specific region or country, it’s best to choose a nearby data center location. For companies that have much more complicated businesses, they may want to consider more locations or resort to third-party providers for more informed decisions.
Damages and losses caused by natural disasters are not something any data center can afford. These include big weather and geographical events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, lightning and thunder, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, blizzards, hail, fires, and landslides. If your data center is in a risk zone, it is almost a matter of time before it falls victim to one. Conversely, a good location less susceptible to various disasters means a higher possibility of less downtime and better operation.
It is also necessary to analyze the climatic conditions of a data center location in order to select the most suitable cooling measures, thus reducing the TCO of running a data center. At the same time, you might want to set up a disaster recovery site that is far enough from the main site, so that it is almost impossible for any natural disaster to affect them at the same time.
The nature of data centers and requirements for quality and capacity determine that the power supply in a data center must be sufficient and stable. As power is the biggest cost of operating a data center, it is very important to choose a place where electricity is relatively cheap.
The factors we need to consider include:
Availability — You have to know the local power supply situation. At the same time, you need to check whether there are multiple mature power grids in alternative locations.
Cost — As we’ve mentioned, power costs a lot. So it is necessary to compare various power costs. That is to say, the amount of power should be viable and the cost of it should be low enough.
Alternative energy sources — You might also want to consider whether there are renewable energy sources such as solar energy, wind energy and air in alternative locations, which will help enterprises to build a greener corporate image.
It is necessary to make clear the local power supply reliability, electricity price, and policies concerning the trend of the power supply and market demand in the next few years.
There are a number of additional factors to consider. These include local data protection laws, tax structures, land policy, availability of suitable networking solutions, local infrastructure, the accessibility of a skilled labor pool, and other aspects. All these things combined can have a great impact on the TCO of your data center and your business performance. This means you will have to do enough research before making an informed decision.
There is no one right answer for the best place to build a data center. A lot of factors come into play, and you may have to weigh different priorities. But one thing is for sure: A good data center location is crucial to data center success.
Over the years, the Internet of Things and IoT devices have grown tremendously, effectively boosting productivity and accelerating network agility. This technology has also elevated the adoption of edge computing while ushering in a set of advanced edge devices. By adopting edge computing, computational needs are efficiently met since the computing resources are distributed along the communication path, i.e., via a decentralized computing infrastructure.
One of the benefits of edge computing is improved performance as analytics capabilities are brought closer to the machine. An edge data center also reduces operational costs, thanks to the reduced bandwidth requirement and low latency.
Below, we’ve explored more about 5G wireless systems and multi-access edge computing (MEC), an advanced form of edge computing, and how both extend cloud computing benefits to the edge and closer to the users. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Multi-Access Edge Computing
Multi-access edge computing (MEC) is a relatively new technology that offers cloud computing capabilities at the network’s edge. This technology works by moving some computing capabilities out of the cloud and closer to the end devices. Hence data doesn’t travel as far, resulting in fast processing speeds.
Ideally, there are two types of MEC, dedicated MEC and distributed MEC. Dedicated MEC is typically deployed at the customer’s site on a mobile private network and is designed only for one business. On the other hand, distributed MEC is deployed on a public network, either 4G or 5G, and connects shared assets and resources.
With both the dedicated and distributed MEC, applications run locally, and data is processed in real or near real-time. This helps avoid latency issues for faster response rates and decision-making. MEC technology has seen wider adoption in video analytics, augmented reality, location services, data caching, local content distribution, etc.
How MEC and 5G are Changing Different Industries
At the heart of multi-access edge computing are wireless and radio access network technologies that open up different networks to a wide range of innovative services. Today, 5G technology is the ultimate network that supports ultra-reliable low latency communication. It also provides an enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) capability for use cases involving significant data rates such as virtual reality and augmented reality.
That said, 5G use cases can be categorized into three domains, massive IoT, mission-critical IoT, and enhanced mobile broadband. Each of the three categories requires different network features regarding security, mobility, bandwidth, policy control, latency, and reliability.
Why MEC Adoption Is on the Rise
5G MEC adoption is growing exponentially, and there are several reasons why this is the case. One reason is that this technology aligns with the distributed and scalable nature of the cloud, making it a key driver of technical transformation. Similarly, MEC technology is a critical business transformation change agent that offers the opportunity to improve service delivery and even support new market verticals.
Among the top use cases driving the high level of 5G, MEC implementation includes video content delivery, the emergence of smart cities, smart utilities (e.g., water and power grids), and connected cars. This also showcases the significant role MEC plays in different IoT domains. Here’s a quick overview of the primary use cases:
Autonomous vehicles – 5G MEC can help enhance operational functions such as continuous sensing and real-time traffic monitoring. This reduces latency issues and increases bandwidth.
Smart homes – MEC technology can process data locally, boosting privacy and security. It also reduces communication latency and allows for fast mobility and relocation.
AR/VR – Moving computational capabilities and processes to edge amplifies the immersive experience to users, plus it extends the battery-life of AR/VR devices.
Smart energy – MEC resolves traffic congestion issues and delays due to huge data generation and intermittent connectivity. It also reduces cyber-attacks by enforcing security mechanisms closer to the edge.
Getting Started With 5G MEC
One of the key benefits of adopting 5G MEC technology is openness, particularly API openness and the option to integrate third-party apps. Standards compliance and application agility are the other value propositions of multi-access edge computing. Therefore, enterprises looking to benefit from a flexible and open cloud should base their integration on the key competencies they want to achieve.
One of the challenges common during the integration process is hardware platforms’ limitations, as far as scale and openness are concerned. Similarly, deploying 5G MEC technology is costly, especially for small-scale businesses with limited financial backing. Other implementation issues include ecosystem and standards immaturity, software limitations, culture, and technical skillset challenges.
To successfully deploy multi-access edge computing, you need an effective 5G MEC implementation strategy that’s true and tested. You should also consider partnering with an expert IT or edge computing company for professional guidance.
5G MEC Technology: Key Takeaways
Edge-driven transformation is a game-changer in the modern business world, and 5G multi-access edge computing technology is undoubtedly leading the cause. Enterprises that embrace this new technology in their business models benefit from streamlined operations, reduced costs, and enhanced customer experience.
Even then, MEC integration isn’t without its challenges. Companies looking to deploy multi-access edge computing technology should have a solid implementation strategy that aligns with their entire digital transformation agenda to avoid silos.
As massive amounts of data are transferred and stored across the globe, many organizations are placing greater emphasis on network performance to provide great customer service and build a fast and reliable network for their employees. Improving network connectivity in data centers is one of the most basic and critical ways to optimize network and hybrid architecture. When it comes to the connection between the horizontal cabling and active equipment such as switches, there are two basic configurations that are interconnect and cross connect.
Interconnect and Cross Connect Basics
Interconnect in data center is to use a patch panel on the active equipment to distribute links from device to other devices in the data center, commonly known as the distribution panel. In an interconnect system, patching is done directly between the active equipment and the distribution patch panel. More specifically, outlets are terminated to a patch panel, and the patch panel is then patched directly to a switch, as shown in the figure below.
A cross connect in data center is the use of additional patch panels to mirror the ports of the equipment being connected, essentially creating a separate patching zone that provides connection between different equipment by patch cords. In a cross-connect system, the switch ports are replicated on the additional patch panel, also called equipment patch panel, and patching is carried out between the equipment patch panel and the distribution patch panel. Basically, there are two types of cross-connects, which are three-connector cross-connect and four-connector cross connect.
The structure of a three-connector cross connect is similar to interconnect mentioned above, just adding a cross-connecting process at the switch end, as shown below.
Four-connector cross connect usually requires a patch field which is usually an individual cabinet. In this case, two copper trunk cables are working as permanent cables, making the cabling system easier to manage.
Interconnect Vs Cross Connect: How to Choose?
Currently, most cabling systems use interconnect design. But some people indicate the cross connect is preferred as it increases the reliability of the system. Choosing the right cabling system should be based on the needs of data center connectivity combining these two systems’ cost, security and management, as discussed below.
The cross connect design doubles the number of patch panels needed, which obviously requires more cabling and connectivity, and places more connectivity points (and therefore insertion loss) into a channel. Therefore, an interconnect design is quicker, easier and cheaper to deploy than a cross connect design and provides better transmission performance.
A cross connect cabling involves a dedicated patching area that isolates mission-critical active equipment away from the passive patch zone, thus preventing any tampering with sensitive equipment ports during routine maintenance. Therefore, the cross connect design can improve reliability as it reduces misoperations and ensures fast fault recovery.
Compared to interconnect systems, the cross connect design offers prominent advantages in management. In a cross connect system, the cables connected to switches and servers can be fixed and regarded as permanent connections. When moves, additions, and replacements are required, maintenance personnel only need to change the jumpers between patch panels, whereas it is inevitable to plug and remove the cables of the switch and server ports in interconnect systems. However, even though the interconnect system does not have a dedicated patching area to simplify management, it requires less rack space, which may be favored by communication rooms with limited space.
Cross connect design doubles patch panels and requires more cabling and connectivity than interconnect design, resulting in more rack space and significantly higher costs, but it simplifies management and improves reliability for data centers. Organizations can choose the right cabling system based on their actual situation and needs.
As the need for data storage drives the growth of data centers, colocation facilities are increasingly important to enterprises. A colocation data center brings many advantages to an enterprise data center, such as carriers helping enterprises manage their IT infrastructure that reduces the cost for management. There are two types of hosting carriers: carrier-neutral and carrier-specific. In this article, we will discuss the differentiation of them.
Carrier Neutral and Carrier Specific Data Center: What Are They?
Accompanied by the accelerated growth of the Internet, the exponential growth of data has led to a surge in the number of data centers to meet the needs of companies of all sizes and market segments. Two types of carriers that offer managed services have emerged on the market.
Carrier-neutral data centers allow access and interconnection of multiple different carriers while the carriers can find solutions that meet the specific needs of an enterprise’s business. Carrier-specific data centers, however, are monolithic, supporting only one carrier that controls all access to corporate data. At present, most enterprises choose carrier-neutral data centers to support their business development and avoid some unplanned accidents.
There is an example, in 2021, about 1/3 of the cloud infrastructure in AWS was overwhelmed and down for 9 hours. This not only affected millions of websites, but also countless other devices running on AWS. A week later, AWS was down again for about an hour, bringing down the Playstation network, Zoom, and Salesforce, among others. The third downtime of AWS also impacted Internet giants such as Slack, Asana, Hulu, and Imgur to a certain extent. 3 outages of cloud infrastructure in one month took a beyond measure cost to AWS, which also proved the fragility of cloud dependence.
In the above example, we can know that the management of the data center by the enterprise will affect the business development due to some unplanned accidents, which is a huge loss for the enterprise. To lower the risks caused by using a single carrier, enterprises need to choose a carrier-neutral data center and adjust the system architecture to protect their data center.
Why Should Enterprises Choose Carrier Neutral Data Center?
Carrier-neutral data centers are data centers operated by third-party colocation providers, but these third parties are rarely involved in providing Internet access services. Hence, the existence of carrier-neutral data centers enhances the diversity of market competition and provides enterprises with more beneficial options.
Another colocation advantage of a carrier-neutral data center is the ability to change internet providers as needed, saving the labor cost of physically moving servers elsewhere. We have summarized several main advantages of a carrier-neutral data center as follows.
A carrier-neutral colocation data center is independent of the network operators and not owned by a single ISP. Out of this advantage, it offers enterprises multiple connectivity options, creating a fully redundant infrastructure. If one of the carriers loses power, the carrier-neutral data center can instantly switch servers to another online carrier. This ensures that the entire infrastructure is running and always online. On the network connection, a cross-connect is used to connect the ISP or telecom company directly to the customer’s sub-server to obtain bandwidth from the source. This can effectively avoid network switching to increase additional delay and ensure network performance.
Options and Flexibility
Flexibility is a key factor and advantage for carrier-neutral data center providers. For one thing, the carrier neutral model can increase or decrease the network transmission capacity through the operation of network transmission. And as the business continues to grow, enterprises need colocation data center providers that can provide scalability and flexibility. For another thing, carrier-neutral facilities can provide additional benefits to their customers, such as offering enterprise DR options, interconnect, and MSP services. Whether your business is large or small, a carrier-neutral data center provider may be the best choice for you.
First, colocation data center solutions can provide a high level of control and scalability, expanding opportunity to storage, which can support business growth and save some expenses. Additionally, it also lowers physical transport costs for enterprises. Second, with all operators in the market competing for the best price and maximum connectivity, a net neutral data center has a cost advantage over a single network facility. What’s more, since freedom of use to any carrier in a carrier-neutral data center, enterprises can choose the best cost-benefit ratio for their needs.
Carrier-neutral data centers also boast reliability. One of the most important aspects of a data center is the ability to have 100% uptime. Carrier-neutral data center providers can provide users with ISP redundancy that a carrier-specific data center cannot. Having multiple ISPs at the same time gives better security for all clients. Even if one carrier fails, another carrier may keep the system running. At the same time, the data center service provider provides 24/7 security including all the details and uses advanced technology to ensure the security of login access at all access points to ensure that customer data is safe. Also, the multi-layered protection of the physical security cabinet ensures the safety of data transmission.
While many enterprises need to determine the best option for their company’s specific business needs, by comparing both carrier-neutral and carrier-specific, choosing a network carrier neutral data center service provider is a better option for today’s cloud-based business customers. Several advantages, such as maximizing total cost, lower network latency, and better network coverage, are of working with a carrier-neutral managed service provider. With no downtime and constant concerns about equipment performance, IT decision-makers for enterprise clients have more time to focus on the more valuable areas that drive continued business growth and success.
An Ethernet cable serves the basic purpose to connect devices to wired networks. However, not all Ethernet cables are created equal. When shopping for Cat5e, Cat6 or Cat6a Ethernet cable, you may notice an AWG specification printed on the cable jacket, like 24AWG, 26AWG, or 28AWG. What does the term AWG denote? 24AWG vs 26AWG vs 28AWG Ethernet cable: what is the difference?
What Does AWG Mean?
The AWG stands for American Wire Gauge, a standardized system for describing the diametre of the individual conductors of wires that make up a cable. The higher the wire gauge number, the smaller the diametre and the thinner the wire. Thicker wire carries more current because it has less electrical resistance over a given length, which makes it better for longer distances. For this reason, where extended distance is critical, a company installing a network might prefer Ethernet wires with the lower-gauge, thicker wire of AWG24 rather than AWG26 or AWG28.
24AWG vs 26AWG vs 28AWG Ethernet Cable: What Is the Difference?
To understand the differences among 24AWG vs 26AWG vs 28AWG Ethernet cable with different AWG sizes, let’s take a look at how the wire gauge affects the wire conductor size, the transmission speed & distance as well as the resistance & attenuation.
Wire Diametre of Conductors
AWG is used as a standard method denoting wire diametre, measuring the diametre of the conductor (the bare wire) with the insulation removed. The smaller the gauge, the larger the diametre of the wire as listed in the chart below. The larger diametre of 24AWG network cable makes for a stronger conductor which is a benefit when being pulled on during installation or when routed through machines and other equipment.
Transmission Speed & Distance
The wire gauge of the Ethernet cable has no relationship with the transmission speed of the cables. So there are 24AWG, 26AWG and even 28AWG Cat5e Ethernet cable and Cat6 Ethernet cable on the market. Copper network cables with a smaller gauge (larger diametre) are typically available in longer lengths because they offer less resistance, allowing signals to travel farther. Therefore, the 24AWG Ethernet cable is the way to go especially for those longer runs, while the 26AWG and 28AWG Ethernet cable are more preferred for relatively shorter distances.
Resistance & Attenuation
The larger the diametre of a wire, the less electrical resistance there is for the signals it carries. A 24AWG network cable will offer less resistance than a 26AWG or 28AWG network cable. Since the 24AWG conductor is larger than 26AWG cable, it has lower attenuation over length properties. Thus when selecting between 24AWG vs 26AWG Ethernet cable, 24AWG would be preferable to 26AWG, because 24AWG Ethernet cable is more durable with lower attenuation than 26AWG Ethernet cable. All shielded (STP, FTP, SSTP) cables on the market are 26AWG and all unshielded cables are 24AWG or 28AWG.
However, you may also noticed that the thinner versions of Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat6a slim patch cables constructed of 28AWG wire have sprung up on the market. These slim Ethernet cables can be more than 25% smaller in diametre than their full-size counterparts. The 28AWG slim Ethernet cables with thinner wires improve airflow in high-density racks and can be more easily installed in crowded space compared to 24AWG or 26AWG Ethernet cables.
24AWG vs 26AWG vs 28AWG Ethernet Cable: Which Is Best?
24AWG vs 26AWG vs 28AWG Ethernet cable, which one is the best option for your network? The smaller the gauge, the larger the diametre of the wire. The larger the diametre of a wire, the less electrical resistance there is for the signals it carries. For long runs with more potential damage, the 24AWG Ethernet cable is the best, because it comes with stronger conductors with lower attenuation. If you’re considering to save more space, the 28AWG slim Ethernet cable would be more suitable to enable higher density layouts and simplify cable management.
When setting up a wired network, the Ethernet cable is the first thing that is mentioned to wire up the computer room or lounge room. Most people are quite familiar with the common types of Ethernet cables, such as Cat5e Ethernet cable, Cat6 cable, Cat7 Ethernet cable and Cat8 Ethernet cable. But they don’t know the some Ethernet cables can also be classified into the flat Ethernet cable and the round Ethernet cable according to the cable shape. Here will take Cat6 flat and round cables as example to introduce flat Ethernet cable vs round Ethernet cable.
What Is the Flat Ethernet Cable?
The flat Ethernet cable is a flat form of copper wire with the twisted pairs arranged side by side rather than squared up. Most flat Ethernet cables are unshielded because it is very difficult to place an overall shield on a flat Ethernet cable, as the shielding material tends to become round which cannot hold a flat format. This makes external EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) protection of the flat Ethernet cable not readily available, because this natural shielding tendency provides better protection against external EMI for round cables.
Figure 1: Flat Ethernet Cable
What Is the Round Ethernet Cable?
The round Ethernet cable is a round form of insulated wire that contains some layers of filler substances to keep the original circular shape which helps in minimizing the heating in the Ethernet cables due to the friction. Such filler material also protects the cord against some outer elements. In the data centres and telecom rooms, the round electrical wires are more commonly utilized than the flat ones.
Figure 2: Round Ethernet Cable
Flat Ethernet Cable vs Round Ethernet Cable: How Do They Differ?
Though the telecommunication industry uses both flat and round Ethernet cables, each of them has some advantages over the other one. Let’s take a look at the comparison of flat Ethernet cable vs round Ethernet cable.
Cable Design & Cost
The round Ethernet cables with some layers of filler substances are more durable and are designed to maximize space within the smallest cross-sectional area required which allows round Ethernet cables to fit in most panel or machine openings. In contrast, the flat Ethernet cables do not include any protective filler which in turn reduce the weight and cost of the cable itself. Besides, the flat Ethernet cables provide more consistency in electrical equality of conductors which does not happen in round Ethernet cables.
Installation & Maintenance
The flat Ethernet cable is designed for permanent installation and is not recommended for standardized patch leads. This is also the reason why most of the standard Category cables including the Cat6 Ethernet cable, Cat7 Ethernet cable and Cat8 Ethernet cable on the market are round Ethernet cables. The flat Ethernet cables require more maintenance than the round wires. Also, they cannot provide as high uptime as the round Ethernet cables deliver.
Insulation & Attenuation
Flat Ethernet cables use the same insulation the electrical properties should have. That is to say, most flat Ethernet cables skimp on the insulation & conductor size. Since the flat Ethernet cables are more susceptible to interference, they are not good for overly long runs, but any run that falls in the 100 meter range shouldn’t have any issues at 1Gb. In most cases, attenuation tends to be worse when using a flat Ethernet cable because of the increased electromagnetic interference.
Flat Ethernet Cable vs Round Ethernet Cable: Which One to Choose?
Through the above analysis, we can find that both the flat Ethernet cable and the round Ethernet cable have their own merits and demerits. Flat Ethernet cables are more light weighted and cheaper than round Ethernet cables. However, the flat Ethernet cables are less sustainable and require more maintenance than the round wires. When selecting between the flat Ethernet cable vs round Ethernet cable, all these factors need to be weighed all sided and make a balance over your actual requirement.
An Ethernet cable or network cable is the medium for wired networks to connect the networking systems and servers together. It plays an integral role in cabling for both residential and commercial purposes. When it comes to using Ethernet cables for setting up network connections, choosing a perfect cable is always a daunting task since there are various Ethernet cables types available for different purposes. According to the bundling types of the twisted pairs, the wiring forms, and the cable speeds or bandwidths, Ethernet cable types on the market can be classified into shielded or unshielded, straight-through or crossover, Cat5/Cat5e/Cat6/Cat7/Cat8 Etherent cables respectively. How to identify the most suitable one for your needs among the diversified Ethernet cable types? This post will give you the answer.
Bundling Types in the Jacket: Shielded vs Unshielded Ethernet Cable
Shielded (STP) Ethernet cables are wrapped in a conductive shield for additional electrical isolation, then bundled in the jacket. The shielding material is used to reduce external interference and the emission at any point in the path of the cable. Unshielded (UTP) Ethernet cables without the shielding material provide much less protection against such interference and the performance is often degraded when interference or disturbance is present. STP cables are more expensive due to the shielding, which is an additional material that goes into every meter of the cable. Compared with the unshielded Ethernet cable, the shielded Ethernet cable is heavier and stiffer, making it more difficult to handle.
Wiring Forms: Crossover Cable vs Straight-through Ethernet Cable
Straight-through cable refers to an Ethernet cable with the pin assignments on each end of the cable. In other words Pin 1 connector A goes to Pin 1 on connector B, Pin 2 to Pin 2 and so on. Straight-through wired cables are most commonly used to connect a host to client.
In contrast, the crossover cables are very much like straight-through cables with the exception that TX and RX lines are crossed (they are at opposite positions on either end of the cable. Using the 568-B standard as an example below you will see that Pin 1 on connector A goes to Pin 3 on connector B. Pin 2 on connector A goes to Pin 6 on connector B and so on. Crossover cables are most commonly used to connect two hosts directly.
Defined by the Electronic Industries Association, the standard Ethernet cable types can be divided into Cat5/Cat5e/Cat6/Cat6a/Cat7/Cat8 categories to support current and future network speed and bandwidth requirements.
Cat5 Ethernet Cable
Cat5 Ethernet cable introduced the 10/100 Mbps speed to the Ethernet, which means that the cables can support either 10 Mbps or 100 Mbps speeds. A 100 Mbps speed is also known as Fast Ethernet, and Cat5 cables were the first Fast Ethernet-capable cables to be introduced. Cat5 Ethernet cable can also be used for telephone signals and video, in addition to Ethernet data.
Cat5e Ethernet Cable
Cat5e Ethernet cable is an enhanced version of Cat5 cable to handle a maximum bandwidth of 100 MHz. Cat5e Ethernet cable is optimized to reduce crosstalk, or the unwanted transmission of signals between data channels. Although both Cat5 and Cat5e Ethernet cable types contain four twisted pairs of wires, Cat5 only utilizes two of these pairs for Fast Ethernet, while Cat5e uses all four, enabling Gigabit Ethernet speeds. Cat5e cables are backward-compatible with Cat5 cables, and have completely replaced Cat5 cables in new installations.
Cat6 Ethernet Cable
Cat6 Ethernet cable is certified to handle Gigabit Ethernet with a bandwidth of up to 250 MHz. It has better insulation and thinner wires, providing a higher signal-to-noise ratio. Cat6 Ethernet cables are better suited for environments in which there may be higher electromagnetic interference. Cat6 Ethernet cables can be available in both UTP and STP forms, and they are backward-compatible with both Cat5 and and Cat5e cables.
Cat6a Ethernet Cable
Cat6a Ethernet cable improves upon the basic Cat6 Ethernet cable by allowing 10 Gbps (10,000 Mbps) data transmission rates and effectively doubling the maximum bandwidth to 500 MHz. Category 6a cables are usually available in STP form, therefore they must have specialized connectors to ground the cables.
Cat7 Ethernet Cable
Cat7 Ethernet cable is a fully shielded cable that supports speeds of up to 10,000 Mbps and bandwidths of up to 600 MHz. Cat7 cables consist of a screened, shielded twisted pair (SSTP) of wires, and the layers of insulation and shielding contained within them are even more extensive than that of Cat6 cables.
Cat8 Ethernet Cable
The newly upgraded Cat8 Ethernet cable supports up to 2000MHz and speeds up to 40Gbps over 20 meters. It is fully backward compatible with all the previous categories. With inner aluminum foil wrapped around pairs and outer CCAM braid shielding, the Cat8 Ethernet cable can prevent from electromagnetic and radio frequency interference very well.
When setting up a wired connection in your home or office, you need to obtain the proper Ethernet cable types which can work with your equipment. If you are looking to connect two different devices such as computer to switch or router to hub, the straight-through cable may be the best solution. If you connect two computers together, you will need a crossover cable. The decision over UTP and STP Ethernet cable types depends on how much extent of electrical isolation is needed. When choosing among Cat5/Cat5e/Cat6/Cat7/Cat8 Ethernet cable types, it is undoubted that the more upgraded version can deliver better performance and functionality. It mainly depends on your speed and bandwidth requirement that would suit your equipment best.
When it comes to the difference between gateway vs router, many people who are unfamiliar with gateway and router may be confused. So it’s necessary to clarify the differences between them. To help you get a general idea about the differences between gateway and router, this article will focus on what is a gateway, what is a router, gateway vs router: what’s the difference, and when to choose which.
What Is a Gateway?
As is suggested by its name, a gateway is a network entity and also called the protocol converter. It can connect a computer of one network to another and define the boundaries of a network. If two networks of different protocols want to connect with each other, both networks need to have gateways which provide exist and entry points for computers from the two networks to communicate. In another word, a gateway can join dissimilar systems.
Figure1: How a gateway works as a protocol converter
What Is a Router?
As a network layer device, a router connects multiple networks together and controls the data traffic between them. People who are new to router often muddle it with network switch, which is a high-speed device that receives incoming data packets and redirects them to their destination on a LAN. Based on internal routing tables, a network router reads each incoming packet’s IP address and its destination IP address, then decides the shortest possible path to forward it. What is a routing table? A routing table contains a list of IP addresses that a router can connect to transfer data. Besides, routers usually connect WANs and LANs together and have a dynamically updating routing table. Gigabit Ethernet switches and hubs can be connected to a router with multiple PC ports to expand a LAN. Not only that, a router divides broadcast domains of hosts connected through it.
Figure2: How a router works in wired and wireless connections
Gateway vs Router: What’s the Difference?
What are the differences between gateway and router? The following chart will differentiate them from 7 different aspects.
To ensure that data packets are switched to the right addresses.
To connect two networks of different protocols as a translator.
Protocol conversion like VoIP to PSTN, network access control etc.
Dedicated appliance (router hardware)
Dedicated/virtual appliance or physical server
Internet router, WIFI router
Proxy server, gateway router, voice gateway
Works on Layer 3 and 4
Works up to Layer 5
Installing routing information for various networks and routing traffic based on destination address
differentiating what is inside network and what is outside network
Gateway vs Router: When to Choose Which?
To choose between gateway vs router, you need to consider the requirement of your network.
Connection In One Network With Router
For example, there are 30 computers connected inside Network A. All these computers communicate with each other. In this situation, no gateway is needed. Because a router with a routing table that defines the hops within those 30 computers is enough.
Connection Between Different Networks With Gateway
In another hand, we suppose that there are two networks, that are Network A and Network B. Computer X from Network A wants to send data to Computer Y from Network B, then there need to have both a Gateway A and a Gateway B so that the two networks will be able to communicate.
Gateway vs router is detailedly explained in the above passage from the aspects of primary function, supporting feature, support of dynamic routing, working principle, etc. Briefly speaking, a gateway is a single point of access to computers outside your network like a door, while a router determines the shortest possible path your data can travel from Computer A to Computer B, like a hallway or a staircase. All in all, it is important to consider both your current and potential future needs when assessing what option to use between gateway vs router.
Nowadays, confusion appears when facing so many options on the fibre optic market, so being familiar with fibre optic equipment is helpful to select the one that exactly meets your need. When it comes to transceiver modules, various kinds of modules, like GBIC, SFP, QSFP, CFP and so on, may confuse you. What is GBIC? To help you get a general idea of GBIC module, this article will focus on what is GBIC module, types of GBIC and how to choose from GBIC and SFP.
What is GBIC?
Short for gigabit interface converter, GBIC module is a transceiver which converts electric currents to optical signals and the other way around. It is hot pluggable and connects with fibre patch cable. With SC duplex interface, GBIC module works at the wavelength of 850nm to 1550nm and can transmit signals through the distance of 550m to 80km. It is a cost-effective choice for data centres and office buildings. As the improvement of fibre optic technology, mini GBIC came into being. It is regarded as the advanced GBIC, for it has half the size of GBIC, but supports the same data rate as GBIC. Mini GBIC is called small form factor pluggable (SFP) transceiver, which is a popular optical transceiver module on the market nowadays.
Types of GBIC
There are many types of GBIC transceiver modules, which differs in transfer protocol, wavelength, cable type, TX power, transmission distance, optical components and receive sensitivity. The following chart will show you the details of them.
Commercial Temperature Range
0 to 70°C (32 to 158°F)
0 to 70°C (32 to 158°F)
0 to 70°C (32 to 158°F)
0 to 70°C (32 to 158°F)
0 to 70°C (32 to 158°F)
Max Data Rate
Max Cable Distance
GBIC vs SFP: Which to Choose?
As is shown in the above passage, GBIC and SFP are both used in 1Gbit data transmission. So which to choose? You know that SFP modules have a distinctly smaller size compared with GBIC transceiver modules. Obviously, SFP has the advantage of saving place, so there could be more interfaces to be used on a switch. When to choose which? It depends on the situation and your need. If you already have a line card, then you should choose GBIC or SFP modules according to your empty interfaces type. Besides, if you are planning to buy a new line card for your switch and want to make a decision of using GBIC or SFP modules, then how many interfaces you need to use is the important factor to consider. Generally speaking, SFP line card has a higher port density than GBIC line card for SFP has a smaller form factor than GBIC modules. So if you need 2 fibre interfaces on your switch, 2 port GBIC line card is a good choice. If you need to use over 24 interfaces on your switch, then 48 port SFP line card is more possible to meet your need.
What is GBIC? What are the types of GBIC? And how to choose from GBIC and SFP? This article has given you the answers. With the above information, it’s much more possible for you to choose a GBIC or SFP transceiver wisely. If you need a little more help and advice with any of GBIC or SFP optics, then please do not hesitate to let us know. FS.COM provides various kinds of fibre optic transceivers, including GBIC, 1G SFP, 10G SFP+, 40G QSFP, 100G QSFP28 and so on. For purchasing high-quality transceivers with low cost or for more products’ information, please contact us at email@example.com.