Managed VS. Unmanaged Switch: Which to Choose?

Switches are devices used in connecting multiple devices together on a Local Area Network (LAN). In terms of networking, the switch would serve as a controller, which allows the various devices to share information. Ethernet switches can be used in the home, a small office or at a location where multiple machines need to be hooked up. There are two basic kinds of switches: managed switches and unmanaged switches. The key difference between them lies in the fact that a managed switch can be configured and it can prioritize LAN traffic so that the most important information gets through. On the other hand, an unmanaged switch behaves like a “plug and play” device, which cannot be configured and simply allows the devices to communicate with one another. This blog will compare the difference between managed vs. unmanaged switch, and why would choose one over the other?

managed vs. unmanaged switch

Managed VS. Unmanaged Switch: Managed Switch Basis

A managed switch is a device that can be configured. This capability provides greater network flexibility because the switch can be monitored and adjusted locally or remotely. With a managed switch, you have control over network traffic and network access. Managed switches are designed for intense workloads, high amounts of traffic and deployments where custom configurations are a necessity. When looking at managed switches, there are two types available: smart switches and fully managed switches. Smart switches have a limited number of options for configuration and are ideal for home and office use. Fully managed switches are targeted at servers and enterprises, offering a wide array of tools and features to manage the immediate network.

Managed switch

Managed VS. Unmanaged Switch: Unmanaged Switch Basis

Unmanaged switches are basic plug-and-play switches with no remote configuration, management or monitoring options, although many can be locally monitored and configured via LED indicators and DIP switches. These inexpensive switches are typically used in small networks, such as home, SOHO or small businesses. In scenarios where the network traffic is light, all that is required is a way for the data to pass from one device to another. In this case there is no need for prioritizing the packets, as all the traffic will flow unimpeded. An unmanaged switch will fill this need without issues.

The Managed Switch Will Retain Predominance as the Switch of Choice

Managed and unmanaged switches can maintain stability through Spanning Tree Protocol (STP). This protocol can prevent your network from looping endlessly, because it can search for the disconnected device. However, the managed switch is still the best solution for long-range usability and network performance. And it will cover the trends in the near future.

benefits-of-managed-switches

Benefits of Managed Switches

Network Redundancy: Managed switches incorporate Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) to provide path redundancy in the network. STP provides redundant paths but prevents loops that are created by multiple active paths between switches, which makes job for a network administrator easier and also proves more profitable for a business.

Remote management: Managed switches use protocols such as or Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) for monitoring the devices on the network. SNMP helps to collect, organize and modify management information between network devices. So IT administrators can read the SNMP data, and then monitor the performance of the network from a remote location, and detect and repair network problems from a central location without having to physically inspect the switches and devices.

Security and Resilience: Managed switches enable complete control of data, bandwidth and traffic control over the Ethernet network. You can setup additional firewall rules directly into the switch. And managed switches support protocols which allow operators to restrict/control port access.

SFP: The benefit of having multi-rate SFP slots is the network flexible expansion possibility, which allows the user to be able to use 100Mbps and 1Gbps SFP modules for either multi or single-mode fibre optic (or copper) as needed. If requirements change, the SFP module can be replaced and easily protect your switch investment.

Support multiple VLAN as per requirement: Managed switches allow for the creation of multiple VLANs where an 8-port switch functionally can turn into two 4-port switches.

Prioritise bandwidth for data subsets: The switches are able to prioritise one type of traffic over another allowing more bandwidth to be allocated through the network.

The disadvantages of unmanaged switches
  • Open ports on unmanaged switches are a security risk
  • No resiliency = higher downtime
  • Unmanaged switches cannot prioritize traffic
  • Unmanaged switches cannot segment network traffic
  • Unmanaged switches have limited or no tools for monitoring network activity or performance
Conclusion

After discussing the pros and cons of managed vs. unmanaged switch, we can thus conlude that for end users, network visibility and control can be highly valued in their plants and they are willing to pay for it. Although managed switches are costlier than unmanaged switches, managed switches definitely have more benefits and consistent network performance. When the network requirements may be expanded or better control and monitoring over network traffic is needed, managed switches may be considered.

Related Article: Why Is Managed Switch Good for Business Networks?

Fiber Optic Tester–An Important Tool for Your Network Installation

Fiber optic testing is necessary in optical installations. Accurate testing result can’t be got without high quality fiber optic testers. And there are various kinds of fiber testers available in the market. Today, this article mainly focuses on introducing several common types of fiber optic testers.

fiber-optic-testing

What Should Be tested?

When it comes to fiber optic installation and termination, fiber optic testers cannot be ignored. After the cables are installed and terminated, it’s time for testing. But what should be tested with fiber optic testers? Here are some common parameters which need to be tested.

Power Measurement

Power in a fiber optic system is like voltage in an electrical circuit. It’s important to have moderate power. Because too little power may not distinguish the signal from noise and too much power can cause errors too. So it’s important to measure power.

Loss Testing

Loss testing is the difference value between the power coupled into the cable at the transmitter end and what comes out at the receiver end. In fiber optic system, many things can result in loss such as dirt, connectors and breaks.

Optical Return Loss (ORL)

Optical return loss is the total accumulated light power reflected back to the source from the complete optical span. It includes the back scattering light from the fiber itself and the reflected light from all the joints as well as terminations. Generally, ORL is expressed in decibels (dB). And a high level of ORL will affect the performance of transmission systems.

In addition, some optical testers also can be used for troubleshooting.

Common Types of Fiber Optic Tester

Having known what should be tested in fiber optic testing. Now it’s time to know something about fiber optic testers. Generally, the common types of fiber optic test instruments are visual fault locator (VFL), OTDR (Optical Time Domain Reflectometry), optical power meter, optical multimeter, etc. Following is a brief introduction to the usual types of fiber optic tester.

OTDR

OTDR comprising a laser source and an optical detector operates like radar. It generates short pulses of light and then samples the light scattered back by fiber segments and reflected by connections and other events. OTDR is the main piece of test equipment that is used to analyze a fiber optic link. In addition, as it is possible to calibrate the speed of the pulse as it passes down the fiber, the OTDR also can measure time.

otdr

VFL

VFL is an essential tool for testing cable continuity and locating visual faults. As is known to all, when light encounters a break or sharp bend, it scatters, and scattered light can be observed emerging from the cable. By emitting a laser beam of red light, the VFL can quickly illuminate fiber breaks, damaged connectors, detective splices and tight fiber bends. It even can locate the breaks in a short patch cord, which an OTDR cannot detect. Therefore, VFL is a helpful assistant to the dead zone of DTOR. And it also a basic maintenance tool for fiber network, LAN (Local Area Network) and telecommunication network system.

visual-fault-locater

Optical Power Meter

Optical power meter is a device to measure the power of an optical signal. Its function is to display the incident power on the photodiode. When testing the signal, optical power meter is connected to different places. When testing transmitted power, t is connected directly to the optical transmitter’s output, but it will be connected to the fiber system while testing the received power. In a word, optical power meter is a the primary test instrument for fiber optic networks, as measuring optical signal power is a necessary task for any fiber technician.

optical-power-meter

Optical Multimeter

Optical multimeter, also called optical loss test set, is an instrument that measures several optical parameters such as optical power and wavelength. It adopts an optical laser source and an optical power meter into one handheld instrument, which makes it easy to measure the optical loss of optical fiber links, optical components and fiber networks.

optical-multimeter

Conclusion

In summary, choosing a good quality and high performance fiber optic tester not only can avoid unnecessary problems but also can improve your testing efficiency in fiber optic installation. FS.COM offers a wide range of cable testers and tools to meet any of your demand on copper or fiber installation, termination and troubleshooting. Welcome to visit www.fs.com for more information.

Four Questions You May Ask About Fiber Optic Connector Cleaning

Fiber optic connectors, as one of important linking components, can be found everywhere in fiber optic networks. With fiber optic connectors, you can easily add, drop, move and change the networks. And it’s also well known that a clean and reliable optical connector can provide high performance fiber infrastructure and extend the life of network. Then how much do you know about fiber optic connectors cleaning? Today, these questions may help you know more about  it.

Why Fiber Optic Connector Should Be Cleaned?

Cleaning consideration is a crucial issue in fiber optic cable technology today. If not cleaned properly, the ferrule in connectors is easy to be damaged when connecting, which can result in high costs. What’s more, it’s known to us that the fiber ferrules in the connectors make physical contact with another one within the connectors alignment sleeve. Any contamination or dirt on one of the ferrules can easily be transferred to the mating ferrule, which can cause physical damage to the fiber’s endface and further lead to information transmission failures. Hence, fiber optic connectors should be cleaned carefully.

fiber-optic-connector

How to Clean Fiber Optic Connectors?

Generally, there are two ways to clean fiber optic connectors. One is dry cleaning, and another is wet cleaning. Following is a brief introduction.

Usually, dry cleaning is to use a reel-based cassette cleaner to wipe the connector endface against a dry cleaning cloth in one direction. For APC (angled physical contact) polished connectors, it’s essential to ensure the endface surface mates with the cleaning cloth. Generally, dry cleaning can remove airborne contamination.

As for wet cleaning, first wipe the endface against the wet area and then onto a dry area to clean potential residue from the endface. Wet cleaning is more aggressive than dry cleaning, and can remove both airborne contamination and light oil residue.

What Types of Fiber Optic Cleaners Are There?

With more and more fiber optic components widely used, fiber optic cleaning is required for an optimum connection between both active fiber equipment and passive fiber equipment. Without cleaning, your network performance and reliability can be influenced. Here recommends two common types of fiber optic cleaners.

One-Push Cleaner

One-push cleaner is designed to clean male connectors, female bulkhead adapters, fiber patch cables and test equipment. It cleans the ferrule endface removing from dust, oil and other contamination without scratching the endface. Fiberstore provides several kinds of this cleaners such as one-push cleaner for LC/MU 1.25mm ferrules, one-push cleaner for SC/ST/FC 2.5mm ferrules, one-push cleaner for MTP/MPO connector and so on.

one-push-cleaner-for-MTP-MPO-connector

Fiber Optic Cassette Cleaner

The cassette cleaner can wipe away contamination from optical connector endface with ease. It’s very easy to use and suitable for LC/MU/SC/FC/ST/MPO/MTRJ connectors. Usually, the body of this cleaner is made from antistatic materials which will not produce dust. And the common types of cassette cleaners are CLE-BOX fiber optic cassette cleaner and OMA fiber optic cassette cleaner.

fiber-optic-cassette-cleaner

What Should Be Noticed When Cleaning Fiber Optic Connectors?

There are various ways to clean fiber optic connectors. But we still should be careful when cleaning fiber optic connectors because they are easily damaged. Following are some helpful notes that should be given attention to when cleaning connectors.

  • Do not forget to inspect the fiber optic connector, component, or bulkhead before starting cleaning.
  • Do not allow the end of the fiber optic connectors to contact with any surface including fingers.
  • Do not use alcohol or wet cleaning if no residue left on the endface. It can do harm to the equipment.
  • Do not push it with heavy pressure. Use the fiber optic cleaner correctly by inserting it at the correct angle and clean connectors carefully.
  • Do not forget to reinspect the connectors when cleaning has been finished.
Conclusion

Keeping fiber optic endfaces clean is extremely important and one of the most critical requirements for ensuring accurate measurements and operation. Hence, choosing suitable cleaning tools for fiber optic connectors is significant. Fiberstore provides a number of fiber optic cleaning tools such as pen cleaner, cassette cleaner and so on. All this cleaning tools have good quality and high performance, which can make your fiber optic cleaning works easier and more convenient. Welcome to contact sales@fs.com.

Things to Know About Fiber Optic Media Converter

With the expected growth of today’s communications, network operators must meet the continuing growth in data traffic and the increasing demand for bandwidth while making full use of the investment in the existing network infrastructure. Instead of costly upgrade and rewiring for fibers, fiber media converters provide a cost-effective solution by extending the life of the existing structured cabling. How fiber optic media converter can achieve this? And how much do you know about it? Today, this article will tell you something about fiber media converter.

What Is a Fiber Optic Media Converter?

Fiber media converter is a simple network device that can connect two different media types such as twisted pair with fiber optic cabling. Its function is to convert the electrical signal used in copper unshielded twisted pair (UTP) network cabling into light waves that used in fiber optic cabling. And fiber media converter can extend transmission distance over fiber up to 160 km.

As the fiber optic communication evolves quickly, fiber media converter offers a simple, flexible, and economical migration to future-proof fiber optic networks. Now it has been widely used in in-house areas, location interconnection and industrial applications.

Types of Fiber Optic Media Converter

Today’s converters support many different data communication protocols including Ethernet, PDH E1, RS232/RS422/RS485 as well as multiple cabling types such as twisted pair, multimode and single-mode fiber and single-strand fiber optics. And they are available with different designs in the market depending on the protocols. Copper-to-fiber media converter, fiber-to-fiber media converter and serial-to-fiber media converter are only part of them. Here is a brief introduction to these common types of fiber media converter.

Copper-to-Fiber Media Converter

When the distance between two network devices exceeds the transmission distance of copper cabling, fiber optic connectivity makes a big difference. In this case, copper-to-fiber conversion using media converters enables two network devices with copper ports to be connected over extended distances via fiber optic cabling.

Supporting the IEEE802.3, fiber to Ethernet media converter can provide connectivity for Ethernet, fast Ethernet, Gigabit and 10Gigabit Ethernet devices. And they can be used in a variety of networks and applications. The common types of this media converter are fast Ethernet media converter, Gigabit Ethernet media converter and 10 Gigabit Ethernet media converter.

copper-to-fiber-media-converter

Fiber-to-Fiber Media Converter

Fiber-to-Fiber media converter can provide connections between single-mode and multimode fibers, and between dual fiber and single-mode fiber. Besides, they support conversion from one wavelength to another. This media converter enables long distance connection between different fiber networks.

fiber-to-fiber-media-converter

Serial-to-Fiber Media Converter

Serial-to-fiber media converters allow RS232, RS422 or RS485 signals to be transmitted across a fiber optic link. They provide fiber extension for serial protocol copper connections. In addition, serial-to-fiber media converters can detect signal baud rate of connected full-duplex serial devices automatically. RS-485 fiber converters, RS-232 fiber converters and RS-422 fiber converters are the usual types of serial-to-fiber media converters.

serial-to-fiber-media-converter

Tips for Choosing a Fiber Optic Media Converter

We have got familiar with the common types of fiber media converters, but how to choose a suitable one is still not an easy work. Here are some simple tips on how to choose a satisfying fiber media converter.

  • Make clear whether the chips of the fiber media converter support both half-duplex and full-duplex systems. Because if the media converter chips only support half-duplex system. It may cause serious data loss when it is installed to other different systems.
  • Make clear which data rate you need. When you choose a fiber media converter, you need to match the speed of the converters on both ends. If you need both speeds, you can take dual rate media converters into consideration.
  • Make clear whether the media converter is in line with standard IEEE802.3. If it doesn’t meet the standard, there will be compatibility issues absolutely, which can cause unnecessary problems for your work.
Conclusion

Fiber media converters play an important role in today’s multi-protocol, mixed media local area networks. And it is also a critical component of the data networks. A suitable fiber optic media converter can reduce the overall networking cost and extend transmission distance. Fiberstore provides a broad range of media conversion devices adapting to all kinds of working environments. Welcome to choose the ideal one for your networks.

Related Article: Fiber Media Converter: What Is It and How It Works?


Fiber Collimator

If it is your first hear about fiber collimator, you may be very confused with it. What is fiber collimator? What types does it have? What is it used for? And where I can buy it? Today in this blog, I would like to have a detailed introduction about fiber collimator.

What is Fiber Collimator?

Fiber collimator is a passive device. It is a module that combines a fiber and a lens, as well as has a function to produce parallel beams. It is usually made of a curved mirror or lens with the light source placed at its focus, which is used to make divergent light into a parallel beam or coupler the parallel beam into the fiber. Fiber collimator is usually available with different wavelengths (850 nm, 980 nm, 1060 nm, 1310 nm, 1550 nm), which could be adjustable in practice. Here are some fiber collimator samples shown in the following picture.

fiber collimator sample

Types of Fiber Collimators

By different light source placed at its focus, fiber collimator could be generally classified as four types. They are pin hole collimator, parallel hole collimator, convergent collimator and divergent collimator. Every type has its characteristic shown as follows:

  • Pin hole collimatorwhich – which consists of thick conical collimator having a hole in the bottom;
  • parallel hole collimator – which consists of an array of parallel holes that are perpendicular to the crystal surface;
  • Convergent collimator – which consists of an array of tapered holes that focus at a point;
  • Divergent collimator – which is an inverted converging collimator.
What is Fiber Collimator Used For?

Fiber collimator is widely used as a device for testing, calibration and measurement. In one pattern of fiber collimator, called target, is said to be projected to infinity. Placing a target in the focal plane of a collimator makes a uniform target appear to be in the far field. This phenomenon enables the use of collimators in training devices such as flight simulator.

When a surface is illuminated by a small light source, such as the target in a collimator, the illumination of points on the target surface off the light axis will be lower than illumination of the area of the surface on the axis. This phenomenon can be mitigated by interposing a fiber-optic faceplate between the light source and the target.

The use of fiber collimator for calibrating other optical devices allows users to check if all elements are aligned on the optical axis. It can make the setting of elements at proper focus and allow users to align multiple devices such as binocular, which ensures gunsights to be aligned with its respective gun barrels.

Fiber Collimator Solution of Fiberstore

Fiberstore is a professional manufacture and supplier of optical networking solutions. It can offer fiber collimator for you with high quality and competitive price. It offers a range of fixed and adjustable fiber optic collimation packages for collimating a laser beam from the end of an FC/APC, FC/PC, or SMA connectorized fiber while maintaining diffraction-limited performance at the design wavelength. With its features of low insertion loss, low back reflection and high extinction ratio, as well as high environmental stability and high compact design, it is a ideal solution for your business or project. For more detailed information, please visit our website or contact us over sales@fiberstore.com.

40GBASE And 100GASE Short Range With MPO Connectors

40GBASE-SR4(short range) is a port type for multimode fiber and uses 850 nm lasers. Its Physical Coding Sublayer 64b/66b PCS is defined in IEEE 802.3 Clause 82 and its Physical Medium Dependent PMD in Clause 86. It uses four lanes of multimode fiber delivering serialized data at a rate of 10.3125 Gbit/s per lane. 40BASE-SR4 has a reach of 100m on OM3 and 150m on OM4. There is a longer range variant 40BASE-eSR4 with a reach of 300m on OM3 and 400m on OM4. This extended reach is equivalent to the reach of 10GBASE-SR.

40GBASE-SR4 operates at 850nm wavelength wavelength using 4×10Gbps paralled transmission over parallel ribbon cable with MPO connectors. Fou multimode fibers, each operating at 10Gbps, are used to transmit 40Gbps in each direction of a duplex link for a total of 8 fibers(4 fibers to transmit in one direction and 4 fibers to transmit from the other direction). These links use ribbon cables or loose tube cable, which are made into a ribbon at the ends of the cable or broken out to an LC(or SC)/MPO breakout cable system. Twelve-five ribbons terminated to a 12-fiber MPO connector are used for each duplex link; however,only 8 fibers out of the 12 are actively used.

The standard supports two multimode fiber types and link distances:100 meters, over OM3 50/125 micron multimode fiber. This fiber, standardized in TIA-492-AAAAC-A, is called 850nm laser-optimized 50/125 micron multimode fiber. The standard aslo supports 150 meters over OM4 50/125 micron multimode fiber. OM4 fiber is standardized in TIA-492-AAAD. These links use QSFP and CFP optical modules.

Most new structured cabling installations use 0M3 and OM4 multimode fiber since it is optimized for use with low-cost 850nm-based optics, and since they are the only multimode types standardized for 40 and 100Gbps Ethernet operations. Low-bandwidth 62.5/125 micron (OM1) and 50/125 micron OM2 multimode fiber do not support 40 and 100Gbps Ethernet operation, and therefore deployments of these fiber types are decreasing over time. Since 40GBASE-SR4 uses low-cost 10GBase-SR like 850nm VCSEL lasers, 40GBASE-SR4 delivers the lowest cost, lowest power, and smallest from-factor optical modules.

Similar to 40 GbE,100 GbE uses electrical lanes of 10Gbps with sc Rambled encoding to create 100Gbps links.100GBASE-CR10 supports links up to 7 meters over 10 pairs of Copper wires in each direction in a jumper cable assembly.100GBASE-SR10 is an optical link that uses Short wavelength lasers with 10 parallel fibers in each direction and supports Short Reach link distances up to 100 meters on OM3 fiber or 150 meters over OM4 fiber on engineered links.

100GBASE-SR10 operates at 850nm wavelength using 10×10Gbps parallel transmission over parallel ribbon cable with MPO connectors. Ten multimode fibers, each operating at 10Gbps, are used to transmit 100Gbps in each direction of a duplex link for a total of 20 fibers(10 fibers to transmit in one direction and 10 fibers to transmit from the other direction). Similar to 40GBASE-SR4, these links use ribbon cables or loose tube cables terminated to 24-fiber MPO connetors;however, only 20 fibers out of the 24 are actively used.

The standard supports two multimode fiber types and like distances:100 meters,over OM3 50/125 micron multimode fiber and 150 meters over OM4 50/125 micron multimode fiber. Low-bandwidth 62.5/125 micron OM1 and 50/125 micron OM2 multimode fiber do not support 40and 100 Gbps Ethernet operation. These links use CXP and CFP optical modules.

Since 100GBASE-SR10 uses low-cost 10GBase-SR like 850nm VCSEL lasers, 100GBASE-SR10 delivers the lowest cost, lowest power, and smallest form-factor optical modules for 100Gbps operation.