Can 10Gb Switch Port Link to Gigabit Switch Port?

With the tendency for higher speed network, 10Gb switch has already become familiar with home individuals, no longer the privilege of enterprise operators. However, the issue of SFP to SFP+ compatibility always puzzles many network switch users, even some engineers. Will 1Gb SFP transceivers work with 10Gb SFP+ ports on 10Gb switch? Or will 10Gb SFP+ run at 1Gb to link gigabit switch? And If 10Gb optics in a switch can auto-negotiate to 1Gb when the other end is 1Gb? All these related questions origin from the link between 10Gb SFP+ slots on 10Gb switch and 1Gb SFP ports on gigabit switch. Thus this article will reveal the mask of SFP to SFP+ compatibility from this point of view.

10G SFP+ Port on 10Gb Switch Take 1G SFP Optics on Gigabit Switch in Most Situations

Will 1Gb SFP transceivers/modules work with 10Gb SFP+ ports? The answer is “Yes” in most cases. There are many vendors providing 10Gb switches that can take both a 10G SFP+ and a 1G SFP in the 10Gb SFP+ slot, but not at the same time for obvious reasons. This option is supported by dual speed operation. So before plugging a SFP transceiver into the SFP+ port on your 10GbE switch, one must consult your rep to make sure the 10Gb switch port support dual speed.

To achieve link of 10Gb switch port to gigabit switch port, here is a simple guide. Install a 1Gb SFP module on the 10GbE switch SFP+ port and the gigabit switch 1Gb SFP port respectively, then connect the 10Gb switch and the gigabit switch with corresponding 1Gb SFP fiber cable or Ethernet copper cable (eg. Cat6).

1G SFP Port on Gigabit Switch Cannot Take 10Gb SFP+ Optics on 10Gb Switch in All Cases

Will 10Gb SFP+ running at 1Gb? The answer is definitely “No”. SFP optics do work in SFP+ slots in most cases, but SFP+ optics on 10Gb switch can never work in SFP slots on gigabit switch. The reason is about a power availability thing. As we know, once an module is installed, the speed of the port is decided. Most SFP+ slots are backward compatible with SFP modules to run at 1G speed. However, the SFP slots on gigabit switch cannot support the 10G speed required by SFP+ modules. For instance, most Cisco and FS 10Gb switches support 10G SFP+ and 1G SFP optics on their SFP+ ports. But some Brocade gear and HP A-series models are SFP+ only. One need to double check the compatibility of this switch with the vendor rep.

FS 10Gb switch SFP+ port link to gigabit switch SFP port

FS 10Gb switch SFP+ port links to gigabit switch SFP port via 1G SFP modules and fiber patch cable.

SFP+ Optics in a 10Gb Switch Cannot Auto-negotiate Down to 1G when the Other End Is Gigabit Switch

Unlike copper SFP modules supporting 10/100/1000 auto-sensing, fiber optics do not support auto-negotiation. Because this technology is based on electrical pluses but not optical pluses. Thus 10Gb SFP+ optics on 10Gb switch can not auto-negotiate down to 1Gb if the other end is gigabit switch. In fact, most SFP and SFP+ transceivers only run at its rated speed and the transceivers at both end of the cable should at the same speed. For example, if a 10Gb SFP+ module is plugged into the 10Gb switch port, it will only run at 10Gb. In this case if you link it to the gigabit switch port, it will not work. When sticking a 1Gb SFP module in the 10G SFP+ port, the 10Gb switch will only run at 1Gb. As thus you can link it to gigabit switch.

Sometimes the 10GbE switch port would lock the speed at 1G until you reconfigure the switch to 10G. It is noted that SFP+ port usually enables a speed under 1G, which means one cannot insert 100Base SFP modules into SFP+ ports on 10Gb switch.

Conclusion

For the issue of SFP to SFP+ compatibility, a simple response is that most SFP+ can take SFP but not vice versa. The uncertain situation requires one to ask their switch vendors for clear reply. Thus 10Gb switch port is possible to link to gigabit switch port to run at 1G speed. The only thing you need to do is to plug each the aforesaid port with a 1Gb SFP module, and then connect the two modules on the 10Gb switch and the gigabit switch with a corresponding fiber patch cable or Ethernet copper cable.

Patch Panel vs Switch: What’s the Difference?

In network setups we see everything is plugged into a switch, but before that fiber cables are also connected to another supply – patch panel. Thus one question is often confusing: patch panel vs switch: What’s the difference and what’s the significant function of them respectively?

What Is Patch Panel?

Patch panel (fiber optic patch panel, fiber optic enclosure) is a terminate unit of network ports centralized together. It is a cable management solution component used to organize fiber cables and keep everything neat for a clean wiring closet. In data centers, a mass of cable wires scattering all over and mixed together can be bothersome, in this case a patch panel is indispensable and rather helpful. It not only offers ease of management, but also protect the terminations from being knocked. Besides the fiber optic patch panel, other cable management accessories including cable ties and cable labels are also used to keep cables tidy and easy for identification.

patch panel vs switch: fiber optic patch panel

Figure 1: This photo shows the application of patch panel by FS.COM for cable management in a data center.

What Is Switch?

Switch, commonly known as network switch, is an appliance in a data center that connects all devices (such as PCs and servers) as a whole to achieve intercommunication and data sharing between different network devices. It channels the incoming data from multiple input ports to the specific output port so as to deliver the data toward its destination. In Ethernet LAN or WAN, modern network switch usually determines which output port to use by network address.

patch panel vs switch: network switch

Figure 2: This photo shows the application of network switch by FS.COM in a data center.

Patch Panel vs Switch: What’s the Difference?

Table below shows the main difference of patch panel vs switch.

Name Patch Panel Switch
Price Cheap Expensive
Role playing Cable management tool:
Centralizing cable wires together; protecting fiber cables from damage.
Functional performance: connecting all devices together to receive and transmit exact messages to the target device end.
Form feature  fiber optic patch panel  network switch
·Role in Date Center

Comparing patch panel vs switch, we can make the following conclusion. Patch panel is nothing but an essential cable management tool, which exerts no functional influence to the performance of data transmission. However, a switch is an irreplaceable functional supply in network setups.

Why Patch Panel Is Commonly Set Up in Network Installation?

As mentioned above, patch panel has no effect on the data transmission process. Can it be omitted in fiber optic cabling? Or can wires just directly plugged to a switch? The answer is yes when you just deal with several fiber cables. However, Ethernet patch panel is a must in data centers where there are a large number of Ethernet drops. No doubt you don’t want to see all the things tangled together. A patch panel in place provide ease management of classification, maintenance, repair, installation and upgrades.

Conclusion

This article gave an brief introduction to patch panel and switch respectively and then discussed the differences between them. Patch panel vs switch : what’s the difference, and why is a patch panel commonly set up in network installation whereas a switch is already used? Can you answer these questions now? Simply put, patch panel is an essential cable management tool whereas network switch is a significant functional supply in data center. Both of them play important role in their respective positions.

How to Choose a Suitable Network Switch?

A network switch is a small hardware device that centralizes communications among multiple connected devices within one local area network (LAN). Network switches come in different sizes, features and functions, so choosing a switch to match a particular network sometimes constitutes a daunting task. This blog will give you a few useful things to consider when choosing the appropriate switch for a layer in a particular network.

network switch

Network Switch Technology

While switching capabilities exist for several kinds of networks, including Ethernet, Fibre Channel, RapidIO, ATM, ITU-T G.hn and 802.11, network switch can operate at one or more layers of the OSI model. Switches provide multiple advantages in network designs. All switches provide the basic traffic filtering functions, which improves network bandwidth. Besides, the internal switching circuits allow traffic flows to simultaneously occur between multiple ports. Currently, mainstream network switches support Gigabit Ethernet speeds per switch port, but high-performance switches in data centers generally support 10 Gbps per link. Different models of network switches support varying numbers of connected devices. Home network switches provide 4/8 connection for Ethernet devices, while SMB switches typically support between 32 and 128 connections.

Considerations for Choosing the Suitable Network Switch

Careful planning before purchasing a switch will save you money. At the same time, it can help you ensure the equipment has the functionality that you organization is needed, or the switches can expand their capabilities as your requirements change and grow. Here are some suggestions you can use to help guide your switch purchase.

Connection Requirements

Connection requirements are a good place to start, since they usually dictate what types of switches will be needed, and they can affect pricing dramatically. Here are something you need to consider in advance:

1. Consider the number of users that your network will have to support

2. Consider your basic network infrastructure

3. Determine the network needs of the users (Fast Ethernet or Gigabit Ethernet)

4. Choose the role of the switch (core switch, distribution switch, access switch)

5. Pick a vendor and/or company (for example: Cisco, Juniper, HP, Dell, Arista, Brocade, FS.COM)

Number of ports

The number of users and the basic network infrastructure determine the number of ports. Common numbers of ports on network switches are 5, 8, 10, 24, and 48 ports. If you only have 5 or 6 users, then a small 8 port switch will probably be enough for your needs. Number of ports is one of the biggest factors in the cost of a switch, so if you buy a switch that only supports the number of users that you will have, you will likely save a fair amount of money.

FS network switch

Port Speeds and Types

Fixed switches come in Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet. Fast Ethernet allows up to 100 Mb/s of traffic per switch port while Gigabit Ethernet allows up to 1000 Mb/s of traffic per switch port. These ports may be a combination of SFP/SFP+ slots for fiber connectivity, but more commonly they are copper ports with RJ-45 connectors on the front, allowing for distances up to 100 meters. With Fiber SFP modules, you can go distances up to 40 kilometers. Currently, Gigabit Ethernet is the most popular interface speed though Fast Ethernet is still widely used, especially in price-sensitive environments.

Link Aggregation

If you have a 24-port switch, with all its ports capable of running at gigabit speeds, you could generate up to 24 Gb/s of network traffic. If the switch is connected to the rest of the network by a single network cable, it can only forward 1 Gb/s of the data to the rest of that network. Due to the contention for bandwidth, the data would forward more slowly. That results in 1 out of 24 wire speed available to each of the 24 devices connected to the switch. Therefore, the more ports you have on a switch to support bandwidth aggregation, the more speed you have on your network traffic.

Performance

Core Layer Switches: These types of switches are routed at the core layer of a topology, which is the high-speed backbone of the network and requires switches that can handle very high forwarding rates. The switch that operates in this area also needs to support link aggregation to ensure adequate bandwidth coming into the core from the distribution layer switches. Because of the high workload carried by core layer switches, they tend to operate hotter than access or distribution layer switches. Virtually, core layer switches have the ability to swap cooling fans without having to turn the switch off.

Distribution Layer Switches: Distribution layer switches plays a very important role on the network. They collect the data from all the access layer switches and forward it to the core layer switches. Distribution layer switches provides advanced security policies that can be applied to network traffic using Access Control Lists (ACL). This type of security allows the switch to prevent certain types of traffic and permit others.

Access Layer Switches: Access layer switches facilitate the connection of end node devices to the network. For this reason, they need to support features such as port security, VLANs, Fast Ethernet/Gigabit Ethernet, Power over Internet, and link aggregation. Port security allows the switch to decide how many or what type of devices are permitted to connect to the switch.

The Three-Layered Hierarchical Model

Power requirements

At any layer, a modern switch may implement power over Ethernet (PoE), which avoids the need for attached devices, such as a VoIP phone or wireless access point, to have a separate power supply. Since switches can have redundant power circuits connected to uninterruptible power supplies, the connected device can continue operating even when regular office power fails. Another characteristic you consider when choosing a switch is PoE. This is the ability of the switch to deliver power to a device over the existing Ethernet cabling. To find the switch that is right for you, all you need to do is choose a switch according to your power needs. When connecting to desktops which do not require PoE switches, the non-PoE switches are a more cost-effective option.

Future Growth: Stackable VS. Standalone

As the network grows, you will need more switches to provide network connectivity to the growing number of devices in the network. When using standalone switches, each switch is managed, troubleshot, and configured as an individual entity. In contrast, stackable switches provide a way to simplify and increase the availability of the network. With a true stackable switch, you can connect the stack members in a ring. If a port or cable fails, the stack will automatically route around that failure, many times at microsecond speeds. You can also add or subtract stack members and have it automatically recognized and added into the stack.

Conclusion

As you can see, there is a multitude of network switch options to choose from. So, have a close look at your current deployment and future needs to determine the right switch for your network. FS.COM is one of the network switch vendors, if you have any demand, welcome to visit our website.