Optics Solutions for Netgear ProSAFE XS712T (XS712T-100NES)

With the growth of virtualization, cloud-based services and applications like VoIP, video streaming and IP surveillance, SMB networks need to extend beyond simple reliability to higher speed and performance. As a leading provider of networking equipment for SMBs, Netgear had launched a variety of cost-effective 10GBASE-T switches including Netgear ProSAFE XS708Ev2, XS716E, XS708T, XS712T, XS716T, XS728T, XS748T and XSM7224. When looking for a lower cost and high capacity 10GBASE-T switch in SMB home/office lab environments, the Netgear ProSAFE XS712T is one of the best options. It comes in at around $1,100 at Amazon which is more budget friendly than the larger data center switches. This article will review the Netgear ProSAFE XS712T (XS712T-100NES) 10GBASE-T switch.

Netgear ProSAFE XS712T (XS712T-100NES): 12-Port 10GBASE-T Switch

Netgear ProSAFE XS712T is a powerful smart managed switch that comes with 10 dedicated 10GBASE-T RJ-45 copper ports supporting 100M/1G/10G speeds and 2 combo copper/SFP+ fiber 10G ports. The 2 combo SFP+ ports can be used as 10GASE-T ports or as SFP+ 10Gb Ethernet ports. This is an awesome feature as it allows an inexpensive SPF+ link via DAC to a 24 or 48 port 1Gb Ethernet switch for non-10Gb networking needs. All ports can automatically negotiate to the highest speed, which makes the switch ideal for environments that have a mix of Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, or 10-Gigabit Ethernet devices. Cat 5e/Cat 6/Cat 6a/Cat 7 can be used to make 10G connections. Cat 6a/Cat 7 cables are recommended if the cable distance is greater than 45 meters. Besides, the smart switch can be freestanding or rack mounted in a wiring closet or equipment room. This 10G smart managed switch is purposely designed as a cost-effective way to provide 10G connections to 10G-capable servers and NAS (Network Attached Storage) systems. It also can be used at the center of a small business network or as an aggregation/access switch in a larger organization.

Netgear ProSAFE XS712T

Figure 1:  Netgear ProSAFE XS712T (Source: www.netgear.com )

Highlights of Netgear ProSAFE XS712T

In order to meet the current and future needs on virtualization, converged network and mobility, the XS712T provides comprehensive L2+/Layer 3 Lite features, such as VLAN, QoS, IGMP and MLD snooping, Static Routing, Link Aggregation, ACL binding. Besides, it has an easy-to-use Web-based management GUI which makes setup and management simple. Some of main features include:

10GBASE-T Connection

The RJ-45 copper ports of XS712T comply with IEEE 10GBASE-T standards. They support low-latency, line-rate 10G copper “Base-T” technology with backward compatibility to Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet. So it allows for a cost effective and simpler upgrade path to 10-Gigabit Ethernet. The existing Cat5/Cat5e is supported for Gigabit speeds up to 100 meters, Cat6 for 10-Gigabit speeds up to 45 meters and Cat6a/Cat7 for 10GBASE-T connection up to 100 meter.

Designed as Core Switch for SMB Network

The powerful L2+/Layer 3 Lite features make XS712T the most cost-effective core switches for SMB and virtualization environment. This switch is also a future-proofing choice with 10G bandwidth, advanced traffic management and comprehensive IPv6 support.

netgear_prosafe_xs712t_l2_10gbe_switch in SMB network

Figure 2: Netgear ProSAFE XS712T in SMB Network (Source: www.netgear.com )

Act as Aggregation Switch for Medium Sized Networks

The XS712T used as a aggregation switch has many useful purposes. It can help to resolve the congestion issue between network edge and core, which is caused by the broader adoption of Gigabit-to-the-desktop. Unlike multiple Gigabit Ethernet links, it provides greater scalability resulting in a simplified and highly efficient network infrastructure. What’s more, it can reduce cabling complexity because it can use existing cabling efficiently.

Optics Solutions for Netgear ProSAFE XS712T (XS712T-100NES)

As mentioned above, The Netgear ProSAFE XS712T smart switch provides 12 twisted-pair ports that support nonstop 100M/1000M/10G networks. The switch also has two built-in SFP+ GBIC combo slots that support 1000M and 10G optical modules. Using these Gigabit slots, 100M/1000M/10G copper and 1000M/10G fiber connectivity can create high-speed connections to a server or network backbone. So 1000BASE-T SFP copper transceiver, 1000BASE SFP and 10G SFP+ transceivers are suitable for this switch. The following table lists the compatible transceivers and optic cables from FS.COM.

MFG PART# Description
AGM734 NETGEAR AGM734 Compatible 1000BASE-T SFP Copper 100m Transceiver, RJ-45 Interface
AGM731F NETGEAR Compatible 1000BASE-SX SFP 850nm 550m DOM Transceiver, LC Interface
AGM732F NETGEAR Compatible 1000BASE-LX SFP 1310nm 10km DOM Transceiver, LC Interface
AXM761 NETGEAR Compatible 10GBASE-SR SFP+ 850nm 300m DOM Transceiver, LC Interface
AXM762 NETGEAR Compatible 10GBASE-LR SFP+ 1310nm 10km DOM Transceiver, LC Interface
AXM763 NETGEAR Compatible 10GBASE-LRM SFP+ 1310nm 220m DOM Transceiver, LC Interface
AXM764 NETGEAR Compatible 10GBASE-LR Lite SFP+ 1310nm 2km DOM Transceiver, LC Interface
AXC761 1m NETGEAR Compatible 10G SFP+ Passive DAC
AXC763 3m NETGEAR Compatible 10G SFP+ Passive DAC

The Netgear XS712T (XS712T-100NES) provides a solid cost-effective solution especially for those with SMB home/ office lab environments. If you are seeking for afforable 10GBASE-T switch for your home lab, the XS712T can be taken into consideration. What’s more, the compatible fiber transceivers and cables can be found in many third party vendors with reasonable prices, such as cablestogo, fluxlight, smartoptics, FS.COM, and etc. You have a lot of choices to save money.

10GbE Interconnect Solutions Overview

New sophisticated networking services, coupled with the increase of Internet users push the Internet traffic to an even higher point, driving the need for increased bandwidth consequently. One Ethernet technology—10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) is adequate for such bandwidth demand, and has become widely available due to the competitive price and performance, as well as its simplified cabling structure.

Several cable and interconnect solutions are available for 10GbE, the choice of which depends on the maximum interconnect distance, power budget and heat consumption, signal latency, network reliability, component adaptability to future requirements, cost. Here cost includes more than what we call the equipment interface and cable cost, but more often the labor cost. Thus, choosing a 10GbE interconnect solution requires careful evaluation of each option against the specific applications. This text aims to introduce two main 10GbE interconnect solutions: fiber optics and copper.

Fiber Optics Solution

Fiber optic cables include single-mode fiber (SMF) and multi-mode fiber (MMF). MMF is larger in diameter than that of single-mode, thus portions of the light beam follow different paths as they bounce back and forth between the walls of the fiber, leading to the possible distorted signal when reach the other end of the cable. The amount of distortion increases with the length of the cable. The light beam follows a single path through thinner single-mode cable, so the amount of distortion is much lower.

fiber optics solution: SMF & MMF

The typical 10GBASE port type that uses MMF is 10GBASE-SR which uses 850nm lasers. When used with OM3 MMF, 10GBASE-SR can support 300m-connection distances, and when with OM4 MMF, 400m link length is possible through 10GBASE-SR SFP+ transceiver.

10GBASE-LR (eg. E10GSFPLR), 10GBASE-ER and 10GBASE-ZR are all specified to work via SMF. SMF can carry signals up to 80km, so it is more often used in wide-area networks. But since SMF requires a more expensive laser light source than MMF does, SMF is replaced by MMF when the required connection distance is not so long.

Copper Solution

10GBASE-CX4, SFP+ Direct Attach (DAC) and 10GBASE-T are all specified to operate through copper medium.

  • 10GBASE-CX4

Being the first 10GbE copper solution standardized by the IEEE as 802.3ak in 2002, 10GBase-CX4 uses four cables, each carrying 2.5gigabits of data. It is specified to work up to a distance of 15m. Although 10GBase-CX4 provides an extremely cost-effective method to connect equipment within that 15m-distance, its bulky weight and big size of the CX4 connector prohibited higher switch densities required for large scale deployment. Besides, large diameter cables are purchased in fixed lengths, causing problems in managing cable slack. What’s more, the space isn’t sufficient enough to handle these large cables.

  • SFP+ DAC

SFP+ Direct Attach Cable (DAC), or called 10GSFP+Cu, is a copper 10GBASE twin-axial cable, connected directly into an SFP+ housing. It comes in either an active or passive twin-axial cable assembly. This solution provides a low-cost and low energy-consuming interconnect with a flexible cabling length, typically 1 to 7m (passive versions) or up to 15m (active versions) in length. Below is the SFP+ to SFP+ passive copper cable assembly with 1m length, 487655-B21, a HP compatible 10GbE cabling product.

SFP+ to SFP+ passive copper cable assembly, 1m link length

  • 10GBASE-T

10GBASE-T, known as IEEE 802.3an-2006, utilizes twisted pair cables and RJ-45 connectors over distances up to 100m. Cat 6 and Cat 6a are recommended, with the former reaching the full length at 100m, and the latter at 55m. In a word, 10GBASE-T permits operations over 4-connector structured 4-pair twisted-pair copper cabling for all supported distances within 100m. Besides, 10GBASE-T cabling solution is backward-compatible with 1000BASE-T switch infrastructures, keeping costs down while offering an easy migration path from 1GbE to 10GbE.


In summary, two main media options are available for 10GbE interconnect: copper and fiber optics, including 10GBASE-CX4, SFP+ DAC, 10GBASE-T, 10GBASE-SR, 10GBASE-LR, 10GBASE-ER, 10GBASE-ZR, and so on. Fiberstore offers all these 10GBASE SFP+ modules and cables for your 10GbE deployment, which are quality-assured and cost-effective, like E10GSFPLR and 487655-B21 mentioned above. For more information about 10GbE interconnect solutions, you can visit Fiberstore.

Why Choose 10GBASE-T Interface for 10GbE Infrastructure?

The increasing availability of virtualization applications and unified networking infrastructure puts extreme input/output (I/O) demands on 1 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE), making data centers facing bandwidth challenges. Deploying 10GbE infrastructure can address these problems by delivering greater bandwidth, simplifying network, and lowering power consumption.

Well, the deployment of 10GbE requires cost-effective solution. In general, there are several 10GbE interfaces to choose from, including CX4, SFP+ fiber, SFP+ Direct Attach Copper (DAC), and 10GBASE-T. As for CX4, it’s an older technology that does not meet high density requirements. Although most deployment chooses SFP+ fiber (eg. F5-UPG-SFP+-R) solution, fiber is in no case cost-effective. Besides, SFP+ DAC is limited by its short reach. In such a case, 10GBASE-T is selected as the less power-consuming and cost-saving solution for 10GbE. This article details at what are the reasons that drive the 10GBASE-T to become the suitable 10GbE media option.

Firstly, let’s figure out what is 10GBASE-T. 10GBASE-T, or IEEE 802.3an-2006, is a standard released in 2006 to provide 10Gbit/s connections over unshielded or shielded twisted pair cables, with distances up to 100 meters (330 ft) with RJ45 connectors. 10GBASE-T cable infrastructure can also be used for 1000BASE-T, allowing a gradual upgrade from 1000BASE-T using auto-negotiation to select which speed to use.

10GBASE-T, CAT6 and CAT6A CablingListed below are several reasons why 10GBASE-T become the 10GbE media option.

Flexibility in Reach

Like other copper network implementations using BASE-T standards, 10GBASE-T works for link lengths up to 100 meters, giving network designers a far greater level of flexibility in connecting devices in the data center. Able to realize flexible reach, 10GBASE-T can accommodate either top of the rack, middle of row, or end of the row network topologies, making server placement even more easy and convenient.

Backward Compatibility

10GBASE-T is backward-compatible with existing 1GbE networks, meaning that it can be deployed based on existing 1GbE switch infrastructures in data centers that are cabled with CAT6 and CAT6A (or above) cabling. In other words, when migrating from 1GbE to 10GbE, 10GBASE-T provides an easy path, saving cost.

Reduction in Power Consumption

In widespread deployment of 10GbE networks using 10GBASE-T interface, one challenge lies in the fact that the early physical layer interface chips (PHYs) consumed too much power. The original gigabit chips were roughly 6.5 Watts per port. With technology improvements, the chips improved from one generation to the next, leading to less 1 W per port for 1GbE interfaces. It’s the same with 10GBASET. And owing to the manufacturing processes, the 10GBASE-T reduction in power consumption has been made possible. The figure below shows the relationship between power consumption and wavelength.

power consumption vs. wavelength

When 10GBASE-T adapters were first introduced in 2008, they required 25 W of power for a single port, and later, power has been reduced thanks to the successive generations of developing newer and smaller process technologies. The latest 10GBASE-T adapters require less than 6 W per port,which makes 10GBASE-T suitable for motherboard integration and high-density switches.


Depending on packet size, latency for 10GBASE-T ranges from just over 2 µs to less than 4 µs—a much tighter latency range. For Ethernet packet sizes of 512 bytes or larger, 10GBASE-T’s overall throughput offers an advantage over 1000BASE-T. Latency for 10GBASE-T is more than three times lower than 1000BASE-T with larger packet sizes. For those enterprise applications that have been operating for years with 1000BASE-T latency, 10GBASE-T latency only makes things better. Many products designed for Local Area Network (LAN) purposely add small amounts of latency to reduce power consumption or CPU overhead.

Broad use of 10GBASE-T interface simplifies data center infrastructures, making it easier to manage server connectivity while delivering the bandwidth needed for heavily virtualized servers and I/O-intensive applications. As the cost continues to fall, and new technological processes further lower power consumption, all these make 10GBASE-T suitable for integration on server motherboards.


10GBASE-T offers the flexible reach, and its backward compatibility with existing 1GbE networks makes it the ideal cost-effective media option for 10GbE infrastructure. As a professional fiber optic product manufacturer and supplier, Fiberstore provides countless 10GBASE-T transceivers for 10GbE applications. Of course, besides 10GBASE-T, other 10GBASE standard transceivers also available in Fiberstore, such as 10GBASE-ER SFP+ (J9153A). For more information about 10GbE interfaces, you can visit Fiberstore.

Consider Two Things Before Deploying 10 Gigabit Ethernet

Over the years, Ethernet technologies have evolved rapidly and amazingly to meet the never-ceasing requirements of higher bandwidth and faster data transmission speeds for high quality network applications, such as live video and video download with high resolution. Through this great evolution, Ethernet technology standards have been designed, like 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE).

After IEEE Standard 802.3ae- 2002 for 10GbE was ratified several years ago, some enterprises have begun to deploy 10GbE in their data centers to support bandwidth-needing applications. Before deploying 10GbE, as matter of fact, there are many things that should attract your attention. Here this article lists two important things you need to consider for a reliable 10GbE deployment: 10GbE cabling choices, and 10GbE transceiver types.

10GbE Cabling Choices

Along with the technological revolution, cables used for transmission also experienced progressive development. There are two physical media available for 10GbE transmission: fiber and copper.

10GbE Fiber Cabling Choices

Fiber cables fall on two classifications: single-mode fiber (SMF) and multi-mode fiber (MMF). In SMF, there is only one path for light, while in MMF light flow through multiple paths. SMF is intended for long distance communication and MMF is used for distances of less than 300 m. Commonly used 10GbE ports designed for SMF are 10GBASE-LR, 10GBASE-ER and 10GBASE-ZR, and the ports specified for MMF are 10GBASE-SR and 10GBASE-LRM. It’s of great importance to choose these ports 10GbE transmission when link lengths matter. For example, you can choose a J9150A transceiver when the required distance is less than 300m. In a word, the form factor options depend on your link lengths.

10GbE Copper Cabling Choices

As the structured cabling techniques become mature, copper cabling technology also grasps the chance to develop itself. And more and more people start to choose copper cables as the medium for 10GbE transmission. 10GBASE-T and SFP+ direct attach cables (DAC) standards symbolize copper applications.

10GBASE-T, or IEEE 802.3an-2006, is a standard released in 2006 to provide 10Gbit/s connections over unshielded or shielded twisted pair cables, over distances up to 100 metres (330 ft). It requires the Cat 7 or Cat 6A to reach 100 meters, but can still work on Cat 6, Cat 5E, or even Cat 5 cable when reduced distances are required.

SFP+ DAC is the latest standard for optical transceivers, and it connects directly into an SFP+ housing. In SFP+ DAC cabling assembly, no optical transceiver is used at each end. A cable was invented with each end physically resembling a SFP+ transceiver, but with none of the expensive electronic components. This creation is known as DAC. Actually, besides 10GbE applications, DAC is also considered as a cost-effective solution to replace fiber patch cables sometimes in 40GbE systems. Like QSFP-H40G-ACU10M, this Cisco 40G cabling product is the QSFP to QSFP direct attach passive copper cable assembly designed for 40G links.

QSFP-H40G-ACU10M ,QSFP to QSFP direct attach passive copper cable assembly

10GbE Transceiver Types

After choosing cables, you need to select devices that connect these cables to your networks. These devices are transceivers. 10GbE has four transceiver types: XENPAK (and related X2 and XPAK), GBIC, SFP and SFP+.

XENPAK is a Multisource Agreement (MSA) that defines a fiber-optic or wired transceiver module which conforms to the 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) standard of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.3 working group.

X2 defines a smaller form-factor 10 Gb/s pluggable fiber optic transceiver optimized for 802.3ae Ethernet,ANSI/ITUT OC192/STM- 64 SONET/SDH interfaces,ITUT G.709,OIF OC192 VSR,INCITS/ANSI 10GFC (10 Gigabit Fibre Channel) and other 10 Gigabit applications.X2 is initially centered on optical links to 10 kilometers and is ideally suited for Ethernet,Fibre Channel and telecom switches and standard PCI (peripheral component interconnect) based server and storage connections. X2 is physically smaller than XENPAK but maintains the mature electrical I/O specification based on the XENPAK MSA and continues to provide robust thermal performance and electromagnetic shielding. The 10GB X2 fiber optic transceivers series include X2-10GB-SR, X2-10GB-LR, X2-10GB-ER and X2-10GB-ZR, they are designed based on the X2 MSA and IEEE802.3ae. They’re created for the integrated systems solution provide, fiber optics distributor along with other IT distributors.

SFP+, also called SFP Plus, is short for enhanced small form-factor pluggable, an enhanced version of the SFP that supports data rates up to 16Gbit/s. SFP+ 10GbE transceiver series include SFP+ 10GBASE-SR, SFP+ 10GBASE-LR, SFP+ 10GBASE-ER, and so on. Among these types, 10GBASE-SR is widely used when the required distance is less than 500m. Say SFP-10G-SR, this Cisco 10GBASE-SR SFP+ transceiver listed in Fiberstore is designed to support 10GbE applications with the maximum distance reach of 300m.


After discussion, maybe you have obtained a better understanding of 10GbE cables and transceivers, which helps you to better choose the right devices for your 10GbE applications. Fiberstore supplies various numbers of 10GbE cables and transceivers which are quality assured. For more information about 10GbE solutions, you can visit Fiberstore directly.

Data Center 10 Gigabit Ethernet Cabling Options

With the dramatic growth in data center throughput, the usage and demand for higher-performance servers, storage and interconnects have also increased. As a result, the expansion of higher speed Ethernet solutions, especially 10 and 40 Gigabit Ethernet has been ongoing. For 10 Gigabit Ethernet solution, selecting the appropriate 10-gigabit physical media is a challenge, because 10GbE is offered in two broad categories: optical and copper. This article will introduce both optical and copper cabling options for 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

Fiber Optic Cables

Two general types of fiber optic cables are available: single-mode fiber and multimode fiber.

Single-mode Fiber (SMF), typically with an optical core of approximately 9 μm (microns), has lower modal dispersion than multimode fiber. It is able to support distances of at least 10 kilometers, depending on transmission speed, transceivers and the buffer credits allocated in the switches.

Multimode Fiber (MMF), with an optical core of either 50 μm or 62.5 μm, can support distances up to 600 meters, depending on transmission speed and transceivers.

When planning data center cabling requirements, be sure to consider that a service life of 15-20 years can be expected for fiber optic cabling. Thus the cable chosen should support legacy, current and emerging data rates.

10GBASE-SR — a port type for multimode fiber, 10GBASE-SR cable is the most common type for fiber optic 10GbE cable. It is able to support an SFP+ connector with an optical transceiver rated for 10GbE transmission speed. 10GBASE-SR cable is known as “short reach” fiber optic cable.

10GBASE-LR — a port type for single-mode fiber, 10GBASE-LR cable is the “long reach” fiber optic cable. It is able to support a link length of 10 kilometers.

OM3 and OM4 are multimode cables that are “laser optimized” and support 10GbE applications. The transmission distance can be up to 300 m and 400 m respectively.

Copper Cables

Common forms of 10GbE copper cables are as follows:

10GBASE-CR — the most common type of copper 10GbE cable, 10GBASE-CR cable uses an attached SFP+ connector and it is also known as a SFP+ Direct Attach Copper (DAC). This fits into the same form factor connector and housing as the fiber optic cables with SFP+ connectors. Many 10GbE switches accept cables with SFP+ connectors, which support both copper and fiber optic cables.

Passive and Active DAC — passive copper connections are common with many interfaces. As the transfer rates increase, passive copper does not provide the distance needed and takes up too much physical space. So the industry is moving towards an active copper type of interface for higher speed connections. Active copper connections include components that boost the signal, reduce the noise and work with smaller gauge cables, improving signal distance, cable flexibility and airflow.

10GBASE-T — 10GBASE-T cables are Cat6a (category 6 augmented). Supporting the higher frequencies required for 10GbE transmission, category 6a is required to reach the distance of 100 meters (330 feet). Cables must be certified to at least 500 MHz to ensure 10GBASE-T compliance. Cat 6 cables may work in 10GBASE-T deployments up to 55 meters (180 feet) depending on the quality of installation. Some 10GbE switches support 10GBASE-T (RJ45) connectors.

When to Use Different Type of 10GbE Cables

To summarize, currently the most common types of 10GbE cables use SFP+ connectors.

  • For short distances, such as within a rack or to a nearby rack, use DAC with SFP+ connectors, also known as 10GBASE-CR.
  • For mid-range distances, use laser optimized multimode fiber cables, either OM3 or OM4, with SFP+ connectors.
  • For long-range distances, use single-mode fiber optic cables, also known as 10GBASE-LR.