What Should We Know Before Deploying 10 Gigabit Ethernet Cable?

Since the need for high data speed increases and the price of optical equipment becomes more affordable, many enterprises start to deploy 10 Gigabit Ethernet cables in their cooperate backbone, data centres to support high-bandwidth applications. But what should we know before deploying 10 Gigabit Ethernet cables?

Fibre Choices for Deploying 10 Gigabit Ethernet Cable

Three factors should be considered for fibre cable deployment: fibre cable type, 10 Gigabit Ethernet physical interface and fibre optical transceiver module. The following tables show the standard fibre cables, physical interfaces, and transceiver module applicable to 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

Fibre Cables Multimode OM1 fibre (62.5/125 μm)
OM2 fibre (50/125 μm)
OM3 fibre (50/125 μm)
Single mode 9/125 μm fibre
Physical Interfaces 10GBase-LRM Max distance 220m
10GBase-S Max distance 300m
10GBase-L Max distance 10km
10GBase-E Max distance 40km
10GBase-Z Max distance 80km
Transceiver modules XENPACK Large form factor
X2 Smaller than XENPACK
XFP Smaller than X2
SFP+ Smallest form factor

Note: the 10 Gigabit Ethernet physical interface type should be the same on both ends of the fibre link. For example, it is OK to deploy a fibre link with one XFP-10G-MM-SR optics on the left, and one SFP-10G-SR optics on the right. However, one SFP-10G-SR optics and one SFP-10G-LRM optics can’t connect together because of different physical types.

Copper Choice for Deploying 10 Gigabit Ethernet Cable

As switching standards copper cabling standards develop, copper cabling for 10GbE is more widely used. There are three different copper technologies for deploying 10 Gigabit Ethernet cables. Each one has different performances and prices.

First, 10GBase-CX4 is the first 10 Gigabit Ethernet copper cable standard. It’s relatively economical and allows for very low latency. But the form factor is too large for high density port counts in aggregation switches.

Second, Small Form-factor Plus (SFP+) is the latest standard for optical transceivers. 10 Gb SFP+Cu Direct attach cables (DAC) directly connect into an SFP+ housing. It’s the best copper solution for servers and storage devices because it has low latency, small form factor and reasonable price.

Third, 10GBase-T is a fully IEEE compliant Ethernet transport technology standard, as defined by IEEE 802.3an-2006. 10GBase-T is to run 10 Gigabit Ethernet over CAT6a and CAT7 copper cabling up to 100 metres. 10GBase-T copper twisted-pair cabling can enable the earlier 10MB, 100MB and 1GB operation. However, 10GBase-T still needs to be improved on its price, power consumption and latency.

Media Copper cable Range (max) Average Latency
CX4 Twinax 15m (49ft) 0.1 μs
SFP+ DAC Twinax SFP+CU 10m (33ft) 0.1 μs
10GBase-T CAT6 RJ45 30m(98ft)—50m (164ft) >1.5 μs
CAT6a RJ45 100m (98ft) >1 μs
CAT7 GG45 100m (98ft) >1 μs
SFP+ Direct Attach Cables

SFP+ DAC cable integrates SFP+ compatible connectors with a copper cable into a low-latency, energy-efficient, and low-cost solution. SFP+ direct attach cables offer the smallest 10 Gigabit form factor and a small cable diametre for higher density and optimised rack space in 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) uplinks and 10 Gigabit Fibre Channel SAN and NAS input/output connections. To use SFP+ direct attach cables can save you a lot compared with fibre optic solutions. And it can still provide lower latency and save up to 50% power consumption per port than other copper twisted-pair cabling systems.

sfp+ dac

SFP+ direct attach cables can also provide enhanced scalability and flexibility. The cables connect several servers or storage devices together in a single rack. Thus, it reduces the use of intermediate patch panels. And it’s easy to move racks or deploy one rack at a time since the cabling outside of the rack is limited to the main switch connection.

FS offers comprehensive solutions for 10 Gigabit Ethernet cabling, including fibre cables, copper cables, and SFP+ direct attach cables and each one has various subcategories. Before deploying 10 Gigabit Ethernet cables, you need to consider factors of the performance, cost, power consumption and latency and choose the most suitable cabling solution.

Related Article: Cisco SFP-10G-SR: All You Need to Know