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?

Ethernet Switch: How Much Do You Know It?

Today, all plants are virtually networked via Ethernet. High requirements are placed on the network infrastructure and network components. Ethernet switch is the integral piece of IT infrastructure, capable of receiving, processing and transmitting data between two devices connected by a physical layer. Due to the increasing application of big data analytics and cloud-based services in various end-user segments, data centers are envisaged to fuel the adoption of Ethernet switch. The augmented global demand for data centers is the key driver for the growth of Ethernet switch market. To satisfy the large and ever-increasing market for Ethernet switch, there are many varieties of switches offered different purposes. This article will help you get a deep understanding of the different types of Ethernet switch.

What is an Ethernet Switch?

A Ethernet switch is a tool for connections between the systems and equipment to forward data selectively to one or more connected devices on the same network. These connections are generally created through the use of structured cabling that links both the station side and the device that you are trying to share data with, such as a server or another computer. In this way, Ethernet switch can control the flow of traffic passing through a network, maximizing the network’s efficiency and security. More advanced Ethernet switch, called managed switch, are also capable of providing additional functions, such as network load balancing, address translation or data encryption and decryption.

FS Ethernet switch

How Dose an Ethernet Switch Work?

Ethernet switch links Ethernet devices together by relaying Ethernet frames between the devices connected to the switches. By moving Ethernet frames between the switch ports, a switch links the traffic carried by the individual network connections into a larger Ethernet network. Ethernet switches perform their linking function by bridging Ethernet frames between Ethernet segments. To do this, they copy Ethernet frames from one switch port to another, based on the Media Access Control (MAC) addresses in the Ethernet frames. Ethernet bridging was initially defined in the 802.1D IEEE Standard for Local and Metropolitan Area Networks: Media Access Control (MAC) Bridges. The standardization of bridging operations in switches makes it possible to buy switches from different vendors that will work together when combined in a network design. That’s the result of lots of hard work on the part of the standards engineers to define a set of standards that vendors could agree upon and implement in their switch designs.

diagram of Ethernet switches connections

Different Types of Ethernet Switch

Ethernet switch are broadly categorized into two main categories – modular switches and fixed switches. Modular switches allow you to add expansion modules into the switches as needed, thereby delivering the best flexibility to address changing networks. Fixed switches are switches with a fixed number of ports and are typically not expandable. This category can be broken down even further into unmanaged, lightly managed, and fully managed.

Unmanaged Switch

An unmanaged switch is mostly used in home networks and small companies or businesses, as it is the most cost effective for deployment scenarios that require only basic layer 2 switching and connectivity. The unmanaged switch is not configurable and have all of their programming built in. It is ready to work straight out of the box. And it is the easiest and simplest installation, because of its small cable connections. An unmanaged switch is perfect in this situation since it requires the least amount of investment with regards to both expense and time.

Smart Switch / Lightly Managed Switch

A smart switch is the middle ground between the unmanaged and fully managed switches. These smart switches offer limited customization, but do possess the granular control abilities that a fully managed switch has. In addition, smart switches offer certain levels of management, quality-of-service (QoS), security, but they are lighter in capabilities and less scalable than the managed switches. Smart switches tend to have a management interface that is more simplified than what managed switches offer. They also offer the capability to set up options like Quality of Service (QoS) and VLANs, which can be helpful if your organization has VoIP phones, or if you want to segment your network into work groups. Therefore, smart switches are the cost-effective alternative to managed switches. They are still valid choices for the regular consumer, as they are generally easy to use and you can glean a bit more information off of them on how your network is configured compared to unmanaged switches.

Fully Managed Switch / Enterprise Managed Switch

Managed Layer 2 Switch: A modern managed switch provides all the functionality of an unmanaged switch. In addition, it can control and configure the behavior of the device. This typically introduces the ability to support virtual LANs (VLANs), which is why almost all organizations deploy managed switches versus their cheaper alternatives.

Managed Layer 3 Switch (Multilayer Switch): This type of switch provides a mix of functionality between that of a managed Layer 2 switch and a router. The amount of router function overlap is highly dependent on the switch model. At the highest level, a multilayer switch provides better performance for LAN routing than almost any standard router on the market, because these switches are designed to offload a lot of this functionality to hardware.

data-center-network-architecture

Managed switches are designed to deliver the most comprehensive set of features to provide the best application experience, the highest levels of security, the most precise control and management of the network, and offer the greatest scalability in the fixed configuration category of switches. As a result, they are usually deployed as aggregation/access switches in very large networks or as core switches in relatively smaller networks. Managed switches should support both L2 switching and L3 IP routing, though you’ll find some with only L2 switching support.

Conclusion

The Ethernet switch plays an integral role in most modern Ethernet local area networks (LANs). Mid-to-large sized LANs contain a number of linked managed switches. Small office/home office (SOHO) applications typically use a single unmanaged switch. This article has introduced different types of switches. Depending on the number of devices you have and the number of people using the network, you have to choose the right kind of switch that fits your space. FS.COM has provided a comprehensive set of Ethernet switches. If you have any requirements, welcome to visit our website for more detailed information.

How to Optimize Your Network Performance with LC Assemblies?

High-density and compact data center cabling has become the consequent trend as the rapid development of fiber optic communication. Under this trend, LC assemblies, like the LC connector, LC adapter and LC attenuator, are more and more popular in the applications of cable television (CATV), fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) Markets. Today this post intends to explore how to optimize network performance with LC assemblies.

LC Adapter for Easy Installation

It’s familiar to us that fiber optic adapters are used to connect fiber optic components with the same or different interfaces. Due to their ability to interconnect two connectors, they are widely applied in optical management systems. And nowadays there are various LC adapters available in the market for both single mode and multimode applications. Take the quad LC adapter for example, Quad LC adapters, designed for high-density applications, provide 4-position LC adapter solution in a traditional duplex SC footprint. The mating sleeve can connect four duplex or eight simplex LC fiber optic cables, saving more space and bring more flexibility.

Quad Plastic LC Fiber Optic Adapters

LC Attenuator for Better Transmission Quality

As we all know, signal strength needs to be reduced in some case. For instance, if a transmitter delivers too much light power, at the receiver end the power must be reduced by using fiber optic attenuator. Or it may degrade the bit error ratio (BER). LC attenuator is a type of widely applied fiber optic attenuator. It is designed to provide horizontal spectral attenuation over the full spectrum vary from 1260nm to 1620nm in single mode transmission. Therefore the LC attenuators can expand the capacity of optical networks by using the E-band (1400-nm window) for optical transmission.

LC fiber optic attenuator

LC HD Plus+ Fiber Cable for High Density Application

Designed with flexible “push-pull tab” uniboot connector, bend insensitive fiber and ultra-low insertion loss, LC HD plus+ fiber cables are the best choice for high-speed, high-bandwidth 1GbE and 10GbE networks in data centers. People with working experiences in data centers may know it’s not an easy task to add or remove one connector in numerous network cables. But with the push-pull tab uniboot connector, this problem can be solved perfectly. Firstly, the LC uniboot connector encloses two fibers firmly in a single cable, saving cable management space greatly. Secondly, the push-pull design enables connectors to be extracted or inserted into the port freely, which simplify the connectivity problems of limited access to the connector.

LC HD Plus+ Fiber Cable

LC Mux/Demux for More Flexibility in WDM Network

CWDM and DWDM Mux/Demux play an important role in combining data rate of different wavelengths over the same fiber cable to increase network capacity. No matter CWDM or DWDM Mux/Demux, there are several types of ports on them to ensure the normal function: channel port and line port. Of course, some Mux/Demux also have an expansion port and monitor port. A LC Mux/Demux means the LC Mux/Demux has LC connector for interfacing. It’s known to us that LC design is popular in fiber optic links. Mux/Demux with LC interface is easy to install and add WDM capacity to an existing network.

The following picture shows how to use two CWDM Mux/Demux at the same time to increase the wavelengths and expand the network capacity. The 8 CH and 4CH CWDM Mux/Demux are connected using the expansion port (LC interface).

stack-two-cwdm-mux

Summary

LC interface is the result of increased demands for smaller easier-to-use fiber connectivity. And a wide range of optical components with LC interface are widely used in optical networks. This article just introduces parts of them. Some other LC assembles such as optical transceivers, LC pigtails and LC adapter panels are available in Fiberstore. If you want to know more details, please visit FS.COM.

Tips to Simplify Your Data Center Management

Data center houses a network’s most critical systems and is vital to the continuity of daily operations. Many of us have seen what it looks like. As we all know, the more complex a data center is, the more difficult it can be to ensure efficiency and orderly management—not only of the systems and equipment but of the working staff as well. How to simplify data center management? This post may give you the answer.

data center management

When several different types of product, tools, and resources are used to support a network, complication cannot be avoided. With the rapid development of society, many business demands require the data center to operate quickly and effectively. In order to achieve this goal, various mix-and-match occur, which lead to a complicated data center. Here are several tips to simplify data center management and make it work efficiently.

Emphasize Standardization

With the fast advancement of communications, equipment used in data centers is replaced frequently. Therefore, product standardization is something to keep in mind when upgrading and replacing the equipment, as well as the infrastructure that supports it. By utilizing standardized data center hardware, maintenance can be finished smoother and faster with common approaches, which save time, resources and money.

Choosing Easy Installation and Space-saving Components

A complicated data center environment makes it difficult to identify the root cause of errors or misconfigurations. So selecting some easy installation and space-saving products mean shorter installation times, less training time for staff and lower maintenance costs. There are many examples of products that make installation and maintenance simpler for data centers. Here are some examples.

LC Uniboot Patch Cable

Designed to deliver maximum connectivity performance in a minimal footprint according to standards, LC uniboot patch cable uses a single, unified jacket for both fibers. With this unique structure, it allows up to 68% space-saving in cabling volume, offering easier maintenance and operability. Besides, LC fiber optic connectors can offer higher density and performance in most environments, which makes it popular in many applications.

push-pull-tab patch cable

High-Density Push-pull Tab Fiber Optic Patch Cable

Push-pull tab patch cable has a special “pull” tab design that enables the connector to be disengaged easily from densely loaded panels without the need for special tools, allowing users easy accessibility in tight areas when deploying in data center applications. With this unique design, high-density optical cable, such as MTP/MPO fiber cable, offers high-density connections between network equipment in telecommunication rooms and data centers. They can be easily installed or removed with one hand, which improve efficiency greatly.

High-Density Fiber Enclosure

Fiber optic enclosures are designed to house, organize and manage fiber connections, terminations, and patching in all applications, providing the highest fiber densities and port counts in the industry contributing to better rack space utilization and minimizing floor space. Loaded with different numbers of FAPs, HD fiber enclosures offer a high-density flexibility for cabling installations of data centers to maximize rack space utilization and minimize floor space.

4u fiber enclosure

Of course, except for the cables and enclosures mentioned above, other small components in data centers also cannot be ignored. For instance, cable ties and labels also play a critical role in cabling installations of data centers. In a word, every detail should be taken into consideration when managing a data center.

Preparing for Future-proof Cabling

As we have mentioned above, under this rapid development environment, data center management should be equipped to handle current needs while offering a clear path for future technology requirements. Complex data centers can be simplified when components are deployed that allow you to grow and migrate to new systems in the future without compromising performance or reliability. For example, solutions that offer support for both traditional ST and SC and modern LC and MPO applications support cost-effective, simpler migration to 40G and 100G applications with only a simple cassette or adapter frame change.

Summary

When data center processes and components are simplified, installation and maintenance for data center management become easier and less costly, staff resources are freed up for more strategic tasks, troubleshooting becomes less cumbersome and migration is also more easily achieved. All components mentioned above are available in FS.COM. Welcome to visit our website for more detailed information.

How to Build Your Data Center?

Today’s data centers are complex. It houses dozens of diverse bandwidth-intensive devices tightly such as servers, clustered storage systems and backup devices, all of which are interconnected by cables. Therefore, the importance of a reliable, scalable and manageable cabling infrastructure is self-evident. Then how to build a data center which can meet today and future growth? This article may give you some advice about it.

5

How to Plan?

As data center houses a number of servers which are connected by numerous cables, it’s important to make it organized. If not, the last thing you will encounter is a tangled mass of cables that make it impossible to determine how severs are connected. Let alone to build a high-efficiency data center. Here are some tips on how to start your data center.

Using a Structured Approach

Using a structured approach to make data center cabling means designing cable runs and connections to facilitate identifying cables, troubleshooting and planning for future changes. In contrast, spontaneous or reactive deployment of cables that only suits immediate needs often makes it difficult to diagnose problems and to verify proper connectivity.

Using Color to Identify Cables

Colors can provide quick visual identification, which simplify management and can save your time when you need to trace cables. Color coding can be used ports on patch panels, color sleeves, connectors and fiber cables.

Establishing a Naming Scheme

Once the physical layouts of a data center are defined, applying logical naming will make it easy to identify each cabling component. Effective labeling brings better communications and can reduce unnecessary problems when locating a component. The suggested naming scheme often includes Building, Room, Grid Cell, Workstation, etc.

How to Select the Necessary Cabling Components?

After knowing how to construct the backbone network of a data center, selecting a right and suitable cabling components can quickly become overwhelming. Each cabling component has its own advantages and disadvantages. So it’s important to get the right equipment purchased and deployed to avoid future cabling problems. Below are some tips on how to choose corresponding cabling components.

Patch Panel

Patch panels enable easy management of patch cables and link the cabling distribution areas. How to choose a suitable one? First, the patch panels which allow different cable connectors to be used in the same patch panel are a good choice. Second, when choosing a patch panel, the main types of connectors within one panels are LC for fiber and RJ45 for copper. Finally, patch panels with colored jacks or bezels allow easy identification of the ports also can be taken into consideration.

angledpatchpanels

Cable Manager

Cable managers offer a neat and proper routing of the patch cables from equipment in racks and protect cables from damage. Generally, there are horizontal and vertical cable managers. And there are different requirements of these cable managers. When choosing horizontal cable managers, it’s essential to make sure that certain parts of the horizontal cable manager are not obstructing equipment in the racks and that those individual cables are easy to be added or removed. While choosing vertical cable managers, additional space used to manage the slack from patch cords is needed.

cable-management-panel

Cable Ties

Cable ties are used to hold a group of cables together or fasten cables to other components. Using cables ties can avoid crushing the cables and impacting cable performance. Velcro cable ties provided by Fiberstore are perfect for controlling and organizing wires, cords, and cables. Besides, using ties will help you identify cables later and facilitate better overall cable management.

cable-ties

Of course, except for what have been mentioned above, there are other cabling components which need to be selected carefully such as cable labels, backbone cables and so on.

What Should Be Paid Attention to When Installation?
  • Cabling installations and components should be compliant with industry stands.
  • Use thin and high-density cables wherever possible, allowing more cable runs in tight spaces.
  • Remove abandoned cables which can restrict air flow and may fuel a fire.
  • Keep some spare patch cables. The types and quantity can be determined from the installation and projected growth. Try to keep all unused cables bagged and capped when not in use.
  • Avoid routing cables through pipes and holes, which may limit additional future cable runs.
Summary

Building a data center is not an easy task. Each step and component selecting during installations need carefulness and patience. FS.COM provides all cable products including structured cables, patch panels, cable ties, labels and other tools needed in data center installation. All of them will maximize the efficiency and reliability of the data center installation.

LC Uniboot Fiber Patch Cable – An Optimum Cable Management Option

With the ever lasting advancement of networking technology, there comes an increasing demand for data centers to accommodate higher density cables and more bandwidth. However, it is generally acknowledged that data centers are often with limited space. Then how to handle those massive cables in such circumstances becomes a vital issue. This article will introduce the LC uniboot fiber patch cable, an optimum alternative for cable management that is designed to deliver maximum connectivity performance.

LC Uniboot Fiber Patch Cables Description

LC uniboot fiber patch cable consists of two LC connectors that wrapped by a common housing with one boot. It is terminated on a single, round, two-fiber cable to achieve duplex data transmission. LC uniboot patch cable allows for up to 68% savings in cabling volume due to a compact design, and it can ensure easier maintenance and operability with tool-less field reversible polarity and color identification. All the features presented by LC uniboot fiber patch cable make it an ideal option for high density network environment.

LC uniboot fiber patch cable

Comparison Between LC Uniboot Fiber Patch Cables and Standard Ones

LC fiber optic connectors offer higher density and better performance in most environments when compared with other fiber optic connectors, making it a reliable and popular choice for many applications and equipment. This can explain why uniboot fiber patch cables are terminated with specially designed LC connectors. The innovative LC uniboot fiber patch cable, with its unique structure and compact design, performs even better than standard LC fiber patch cables in high density cabling environment. Here, we present the obvious differences between the LC uniboot patch cable and the standard LC fiber patch cable in the following picture.

LC uniboot fiber patch cable vs.standard fiber patch cable

Features of LC Uniboot Fiber Patch Cables

Genarally, there are three primary features concerning the uniboot fiber patch cables:

Adjustable Pitch—the unique style of the clip allows the LC Connectors to easily adjust for the increasing demand of a 5.25 pitch, as well as the standard 6.25 pitch. Eliminating the requirement for hybrid patch cables.

Reverse Polarity—with a few simple steps, the connectors polarity of the LC uniboot fiber patch cables can be reversed at will without connector re-termination.

Quick Release Latch—the latch of LC uniboot fiber patch cable allows for the quick and easy release of this connector from the adapter panel, which makes great sense in the growing trend of high density applications.

What LC Uniboot Fiber Patch Cables Can Achieve?

As we have mentioned previously, LC uniboot fiber patch cables are especially vital to space sensitive data centers and high density cabling environments, so what exactly we can benefit from deploying LC uniboot fiber patch cables?

Cable Congestion Reduction

With two fibers for duplex transmission firmly enclosed in a single cable, LC uniboot fiber patch cable effectively cuts down the cable count up to 50% compared with the standard LC duplex patch cords. Thus the space requirement of cabling can be significantly reduced by it, naturally result in less chance of cable congestion in data centers.

Effective Polarity Reversal

Changing the polarity of a standard LC duplex fiber patch cable may be annoying to many data center operators, especially when there happens to be a high density cabling system. This is sort of a time and energy consuming task since some minor mistakes could lead to various troubles. However, with LC uniboot patch cable, the polarity replacement can be much easier even without any additional tools. In terms of different types of LC uniboot patch cables, the polarity reversal steps may vary. We just illustrate two most used ones as follows.

LC uniboot polarity reversal

Conclusion

To address the increasing demand for high density applications and smaller fiber cable, the LC uniboot fiber patch cable is designed to help cut down cabling space and provide more effective polarity reversal solution, and to streamline cable management and logistics. Without doubt, LC uniboot fiber patch cable is the savior of popularized high-density cabling system. Hope this article could help you to choose the right LC uniboot patch cable for your applications, and for more products information and solutions, please visit www.fs.com.

Pre-Terminated Cabling System—An Ideal Solution for Data Centers

When designing and implementing their high-density networks, most data center managers and operators are inclined to options which are more sustainable and environmentally sound. They always expect systems to provide high performance and reliability for maximum network uptime over the long term. Since the demand for higher bandwidth and flexibility for future growth never ending, network administrators now are seeking to the network’s physical media infrastructure to achieve these goals. And the growing adoption of pre-terminated cabling system serves as one of the trend, that is what we will explain in this article.

What Is Pre-Terminated Cabling?

Then what the pre-terminated cabling system refers to and how it differs from field terminated one? In fact, pre-terminated cables go through the same procedures as field terminated cables, but these steps are taken at the manufacturer’s facility or cable assembly house and delivered to the job site with the connectors already terminated, properly polished, and the entire cable assembly tested on either both or one end. Which helps to eliminate the necessity for on-site field termination. Compared with field terminated cabling products, pre-terminated fiber cable assemblies are more convenient and flexible. They are most suited for network installations that are planned well in advance, taking into account both current and future requirements.

What Pre-Terminated Cabling System Can Achieve?

Installing and connecting your cable infrastructure in the data center consists of various labor intensive tasks. And manual field terminations, troubleshooting, and error corrections also extended deployment times, higher installation costs and increased downtime. However, with the deployment of pre-terminated cabling system, you are supposed to benefit from it with the following aspects:

  • Installation time and costs are substantially reduced.
  • Material reductions of 50 percent or more are typical when using pre-terminated systems rather than traditional systems.
  • Network performance and reliability are assured due to in-factory testing and validation of components.
  • Modular components at the physical layer are reusable. They can be disassembled and repurposed to accommodate moves, adds and changes, which provides greater flexibility and portability, as well as a clear migration path to support new technologies and applications as an organization grows and requirements change and evolve.
  • Pre-terminated installations are more precisely planned, which results in a neater, cleaner appearance, as well as faster and easier cable management, maintenance and troubleshooting.
Common Pre-Terminated Fiber Cables

It is undeniable that pre-terminated fiber cabling system indeed offers a constructive and ideal solution to data center management and maintenance. Here in this part, we will further introduce some most commonly employed pre-terminated fiber cables, including fiber patch cables, fiber optic pigtails and MTP/MPO pre-terminated cables.

Fiber Patch Cables

As one of the most used components in fiber optic networks, fiber patch cables help to ensure a reliable temporary fiber optic interconnection. There exists a wide range of fiber patch cables on the market, available in single-mode and multimode versions with PVC, LSZH, OFNP or armored jacket. And connection type options involve LC, FC, SC, ST, MU, MTRJ and E2000 pre-terminated in duplex or simplex fiber. Fiber patch cables are suitable for all kinds of fiber optic connectivity applications.

fiber patch cable

Fiber Optic Pigtails

Fiber optic pigtail, which is a fiber optic cable of a specified length, has only one end terminated with the appropriate connector style and an open unterminated end. A pigtail can be fusion spliced onto a pre-terminated fiber optic cable assembly to extend the cable distance or onto field-terminated cables to provide the connectorized end. Pigtails do not need the same configuration or connector style as the opposite end. Keep in mind that when installing pigtails, you must be trained and will need additional equipment, such as a fusion splicer and fusion splice trays.

fiber optic pigtail

MTP/MPO Pre-Terminated Cables

Pre-terminated with high-quality and low loss MTP/MPO connectors, this kind of cable can meet the high-speed, high-density, and wide bandwidth demands of the current and future network. Basically, both MTP/MPO trunk cables and MTP/MPO harness cables are classified into this category. They are available in any fiber mode (single-mode, multimode and 10G multimode) and a full range of length options.

MTP/MPO trunk cable

Conclusion

Pre-termination cabling is not just a popular trend, it is an increasingly popular way of delivering a project in a more timely and cost effective manner. Which on the whole can provide benefits for all sizes of project.

Data Center Cooling Methods

In recent years, as the number of agencies load up on big data and move to the cloud accelerating dramatically, more data centers will come online, and cooling may become one of the biggest problems to overcome. It is thus natural that data center cooling has attracted much more attention ever since. The article focus on describing the current condition of data center cooling performance and also managing to present a variety of cooling methods.

The Current Circumstances of Data Center Cooling

It is never an easy task to keep data center always cool. They contain processors with enough heat energy in each one to fry an egg, pumping it out inside a small space. That may explain why most data centers were wasting money in electricity and cooling costs. Hence, cooling still persists as the biggest drain on energy in most data centers—the biggest one beyond feeding the machines power. This has driven organizations to try some innovative methods that seem to work well, even if some of their techniques are a little extreme. Basically, there are several tips that data centers can follow to help lower cooling costs. Let’s just get an overlook at the most common data center cooling methods.

Cold or Hot Aisle Air Containment

This trend has lasted for at least 5 or 6 years and it is achieved by physically isolating the possibility of the hot or cold air mixing and driving it directly from and to the CRAC unit.

Aisle containment

It actually performs pretty well and reduces substantially the issues with “hot spots” and air mixing. However, the downsides are that you still need to control the pressures of your plenums (and everything that goes with it) and that you’ re cooling or heating large areas that you really don’t need to.

In-Rack Heat Extraction

Things begin to get more creative from applying this method. This data center or rack cooling method focus on extracting the heat which is generated inside the rack to prevent it from going into the server room.

In-rack heat extraction

There is another similar method that is to put the actual compressors and chillers inside the rack itself, thus to take the heat directly to the exterior of the data center. This may contributes to build a nice and neat server room. However, the demerit is that you still fail to get very high computational density per rack, moreover, the setup is very complex and hard to maintain unless you get much improvement in your Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE).  

Liquid Immersion Cooling

Liquid Immersion Cooling generally using a dielectric coolant fluid to gather the heat from server components, which means that we can put it in direct contact with electrical components. Liquid coolant running through the hot components of a server and taking the heat away to a heat exchanger. This is proved to be hundreds of times more efficient than using massive CRAC (Computer Room Air Conditioning) devices. By adopting this data center cooling method, you have a greater chance to achieve unprecedented PUE.

Combing the infrastructure

Modeling the infrastructure enables to achieving data center cooling efficiently, which means to find out the hot spots by looking hard at all the cracks and corners. Perhaps adding a curtain or moving a server from one rack to another can result in a much more efficient operation. To reduce costs associated with that type of monitoring and modeling, consider some of the small data sensors that can help track the temperature in the data center.

Conclusion

From what we have discussed above, you may have acquired some basic knowledge about data center cooling. Huge steps can radically enhance cooling, whereas smaller steps might be a good interim solution with a high return on investment. Working efficiently with the tools at hand is always sound advisable. Just move those ideas into the data center and start making a difference.

How to Clean the Data Center?

Dust and dirt in data center could be a nightmare that troubles most of the telecom engineers. Now and then as they try to put their fingers on a distribution cabinet or a patch panel in a data center, the fingers are always stained by dust or dirt. However, this annoying situation is not rare for those engineers working in the field of telecommunication. Some of them may have realized the importance of cleanliness in data center, but they seldom take action to remove the dust and dirt. It means people simply attach less importance to keep the data center clean enough. Some contaminants can easily be seen or checked by eyes and hands, but there are still myriads of them existing inside the equipment which may lead to disastrous consequences such as overheating as well as various network failures if no proper action was taken to clean.

The Importance of Cleaning Data Center

Imagine what would happen if there is no regular cleaning in the data center? As it was mentioned above, the most direct result of contaminant is overheating. Since dust and pollutants in the data center are usually light-weight, If there is air flow, dust or dirt will move with it. The cooling system of the data center is depending largely on server fan which can bring the dust and dirt into the cooling system. The accumulation of these contaminant can cause fan failure or static discharge inside equipment. The heat dissipation will need more time and heat emission efficiency is limited. The following picture shows the contaminant at a server fan air intake that can explain this phenomenon.

the contaminant at a server fan air intake

As the cooling system is affected by the dust and dirt, the risk of the data center increases largely. Contaminants will capture every possible place in the data center where they are capable of. In addition, data center nowadays relies heavily on electronic equipment and fiber optic components like fiber optic connectors, which are very sensitive to contaminants. Problems like power failures, loss of data and short circuit might happen if the contaminants are not removed completely. What’s worse, short circuit might cause fire in the data center, which could lead to irreparable damage. The following picture shows the data center after a fire. It is really a disaster for the data center managers.

the data center after a fire

Dust and dirt can also influence the life span of data center equipment as well as their operation. The uptime of a data center may decrease if there are too many contaminants. Cleaning the data center regularly would help to reduce data center downtime and extend the life span of data center infrastructure equipment. It is proved to be cost efficient and energy saving comparing with restarting the data center or repairing the equipment.

Furthermore, data center cleanliness can offer an aesthetic appeal to a clean and dust-free environment. Although it is not the main purpose, a clean data center can present a more desirable working environment for telecom engineers, especially for those who need to install cable under a raised floor or working overhead racks and cabinet. No one would reject a cleaning data center.

Contaminants Sources of Data Center

There is no doubt that data center cleanliness is necessary. But how to keep the data center clean? Before taking action, source of contaminants in the data center should be taken into consideration. Generally, there are two main sources. One is inside the data center, and the other is from outside of the data center. The internal contaminants are usually particles from air conditioning unit fan belt wear, toner dust, packaging and construction materials, human hair and clothing as well as zinc whiskers from electroplated steel floor plates. The external sources of contamination include cars, electricity generation, sea salt, natural and artificial fibers, plant pollen and wind-blown dust.

Data Center Cleaning and Contaminants Prevention

Having known where the dust and dirt come from, here offers some suggestions and tips to reduce the contaminants.

  • Reduce the data center access. It is recommended that limited access to only necessary personnel can reduce the external contaminants.
  • Sticky mats should be used at the entrances to the raised floor, which can eliminate the contaminants from shoes largely.
  • Never unpack new equipment inside the data center, establish a staging area outside the data center for unpacking and assembling equipment.
  • No food, drink or smoking in the data center.
  • Typically all sites are required to have fresh air make-up to the data center, remember to replace on a regular basis.
  • Cleaning frequency depends on activity in the data center. Floor vacuuming should be more often as the traffic in the data center increased.
  • Inspect and clean the fiber optic components regularly, especially for fiber optic connector and interface of switches and transceivers.
  • The inside and outside of racks and cabinets should be cleaned.

Conclusion

Data center operates like an information factory nowadays as it processes countless data and information as well. Therefore, the cleanliness of the data center becomes increasingly important. If this essential “factory” is polluted by dust and dirt, it will eventually fail to provide reliable and qualified services. Not to mention that a clean data center could ensure a much more extended life span of equipment and applications thus to effectively save a great amount of money for the maintenance.

Prefabricated Modular Data Center – an Extremely Agile and Cost-efficient Option

Prefabricated Modular Data CenterWhether it’s an enterprise or multi-tenant (co-location) facility, the data center is fast becoming an organization’s most valuable strategic asset. Its ability to handle immense volumes of data, provide highly reliable IT services for users and quickly adapt to the increasing demands of a dynamic environment can make or break a business. As a result, IT and facilities professionals are constantly looking to make their data centers more agile and efficient.

A typical data center is a traditional brick-and-mortar facility that can range from a few thousand to a million square feet or more. A data center of this type is often pre-designed to house all of the necessary racks, power distribution, cooling, cabling, fire suppression, and physical security systems needed to support IT services over the next 10 to 15 years. These facilities can come with a hefty price tag in the hundreds of millions of dollars and take two to three years to plan, design and build.

So, what’s the problem? As IT technologies rapidly evolve and virtualization and cloud computing complicates traditional capacity planning, a brick-and-mortar data center designed today could conceivably become obsolete before it is ever deployed. Its power, cooling and IT “white space” requirements might have been specified by the business at a certain point in time, but by the time the facility actually goes live, the needs of the business—and the data center technologies available to support the business—may have irrevocably changed. This constant demand for change results in stranded or inadequate space, power, or cooling, and leaves traditional data center owners trapped in a perpetual and expensive retrofit cycle while attempting to save their initial capital investment.

As a result, many data center owners and operators are exploring alternatives to traditional data center design-and-build.

Prefabricated Modular Data CenterWithin the last several years, the market has warmed to the concept of the prefabricated modular data center. A modular data center is a concept that uses prefabricated modules—built and tested at a factory, disassembled, shipped to a site and then reassembled to deliver data center white space, power and cooling infrastructure. A modular data center can be set up and operational within 14 to 20 weeks instead of two to three years. Also, as business capacity needs or technologies change, new modules addressing the change can be quickly and cost-efficiently added or existing solutions pre-engineered for upgrading can be seamlessly modified.

This approach enables businesses to focus on meeting their current and very near term data center capacity needs, rather than attempting to project and build for their anticipated long-term demand. It creates a purpose-built data center infrastructure that’s built to fit from the start.

The benefits of a prefabricated modular data center include:

  • Significant capital expenditure savings in design, planning, construction and infrastructure
  • Lower power, cooling, and operational expenses due to infrastructure right sizing, engineering out complexity and the usage of hyper-efficient innovative cooling designs
  • The ability to future-proof the data center by easily upgrading whenever more capacity is needed

These benefits are why the prefabricated modular data center is an extremely agile and cost-efficient option for data center owners and operators looking beyond traditional approaches to address rapid changes in business and technology needs today and tomorrow.