VPN, the Continuity Solution for Your Business

VPN, the Continuity Solution for your Business.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the government directives to curb the spread of the virus, there is a demand now to connect to internal networks from distant locations. Staff have now been advised to work from home and connect to resources in the internal private office networks over the Internet, which is by nature insecure. This makes data security a major consideration when staff or business partners have constant access to internal networks from insecure external locations, threatening business continuity.

How can we secure this data?

VPN (Virtual Private Network) technology provides a way of protecting information being transmitted over the Internet, by allowing users to establish a virtual private “tunnel” to securely enter an internal network, accessing resources, data and communications via an insecure public network such as the Internet.

What is a Virtual Private Network (VPN)?

VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a generic term used to describe a communication network that uses any combination of technologies to secure a connection tunneled through an otherwise unsecured or untrusted network. Instead of using a dedicated connection, such as leased line, a "virtual" connection is made between geographically dispersed users and networks over a shared or public network, like the Internet. Data is transmitted as if it were passing through private connections.

VPN Deployment

VPN is mainly employed by organizations and enterprises in the following ways:

1. Remote access VPN: This is a user-to-network connection for the home, or from a mobile user wishing to connect to a corporate private network from a remote location. This kind of VPN permits secure, encrypted connections between a corporate private network and remote users.

Source: https://www.researchgate.net/

2. Intranet VPN: Here, a VPN is used to make connections among fixed locations such as branch offices. This kind of LAN-to-LAN VPN connection joins multiple remote locations into a single private network.

Source: https://www.rfwireless-world.com/

3. Extranet VPN: This is where a VPN is used to connect business partners -such as suppliers and customers- together so as to allow various parties to work with secure data in a shared environment.

Source: https://www.rfwireless-world.com/

Types of VPN Tunneling Protocols:

Point to Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP)

Point to Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) is one of the oldest protocols still being used by VPNs today. Developed by Microsoft and released with Windows 95, PPTP encrypts your data in packets and sends them through a tunnel it creates over your network connection.

PPTP is one of the easiest protocols to configure, requiring only a username, password, and server address to connect to the server. It’s one of the fastest VPN protocols because of its low encryption level.

Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP)

L2TP is an extension of the PPTP (Point to point tunneling protocol), used by internet service providers to provide VPN services over the internet. L2TP tunneling starts out by initiating a connection between LAC (L2TP Access Concentrator) and LNS (L2TP Network Server) – the protocol’s two endpoints – on the Internet. Once that’s achieved, a PPP link layer is enabled and encapsulated, and afterwards it’s carried over the web.

The PPP connection is then initiated by the end-user (you) with the ISP. Once the LAC accepts the connection, the PPP link is established. Afterwards, a free slot within the network tunnel is assigned, and the request is then passed on to the LNS.

Lastly, once the connection is fully authenticated and accepted, a virtual PPP interface is created. At that moment, link frames can freely be passed through the tunnel. The frames are accepted by the LNS, which then removes the L2TP encapsulation and proceeds to process them as regular frames.

Internet Protocol Security (IPSec)

IPSec was developed for secure transfer of information at the OSI layer three across a public unprotected IP network, such as the Internet.  IPsec enables a system to select and negotiate the required security protocols, algorithm(s) and secret keys to be used for the services requested. 4 key functions or services of IPSec are as follows;

Confidentiality – Encrypting data, and scrambling.

Data Integrity – data has not been changed.

Data Authentication – authenticating receiver. Sender receiver is who they say they are.

Anti-replay – each packet is unique, has not been duplicated or intercepted.

IPSec provides data security in various ways such as encrypting and authenticating data, protection against masquerading and manipulation. Being a collection of different protocols or algorithms, IPSec is a complex framework consisting of over 30 different settings, which is why it provides a powerful and flexible set of security features that can be used to secure traffic from site to site or site to a mobile user.

As the world is constantly changing and growing with technology, IPSec suits this as it’s a framework, which allows you add new and better algorithms coming out.

PPTP vs L2TP vs IPSec; which one works best?

While it boasts fast connection speeds, the low level of encryption makes PPTP one of the least secure protocols you can use to protect your data. With known vulnerabilities dating as far back as 1998, and the absence of strong encryption, you’ll want to avoid using this protocol if you need solid online security and anonymity.

L2TP used in conjunction with IPSec creates a more secure tunneling protocol than PPTP. L2TP encapsulates the data, but isn’t adequately encrypted until IPSec wraps the data again with its own encryption to create two layers of encryption, securing the confidentiality of the data packets going through the tunnel. L2TP/IPSec provides AES-256 bit encryption, one of the most advanced encryption standards that can be implemented.

Optace gives you a L2TP/IPSEC VPN solution to provide a secure means for an organization’s staff to access internal network resources from anywhere as long as they have an internet connection. Do talk to us today, and let us ensure your business continuity during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Our certified in-house consultant is ready to set you up.

Browse through our catalog of VPN capable hardware by MikroTik, Ubiquiti, and Cisco.

FTTH Distribution Architectures - Centralized Splitting vs Distributed Splitting

FTTH Distribution Architectures: Centralized Splitting vs Distributed Splitting

A PON-based FTTH access network is by nature point-to-multipoint. Fiber to the premises in this network architecture incorporates passive optical splitters  which are used to enable a single optical fiber to serve multiple premises. In the distribution portion of the network, optical fiber splitters can be placed in different locations of the PON based FTTH network in two ways:

-Centralized (single-stage)

-Distributed (multi-stage)

Both methods have their own advantages and disadvantages. How should one settle on the deployment method? This article will give an overview and comparison between centralized splitting and distributed splitting.

Centralized Splitting in FTTH

A centralized splitting approach generally uses a combined split ratio of 1:64 (with a 1:2 splitter in the central office, and a 1:32 in a cabinet). These single-stage fiber splitters can be placed at several locations in the network or housed at a central location. In most cases however, the centralized fiber splitters are placed in the outside plant (OSP) to reduce the amount of overall fiber required. The optical line terminal (OLT) active port in the central office (CO) will be connected/spliced to a fiber leaving the central office. This fiber passes through different closures to reach the input port of the fiber splitter, normally placed in a cabinet. The output port of this fiber splitter goes to the distribution network, reaching the homes of potential customers through different closures and indoor/outdoor terminal boxes.

fiber splitter Centralized Splitting

Distributed Splitting in FTTH

Unlike centralized splitting, a distributed splitting approach has no fiber splitters in the central office. The OLT port is connected/spliced directly to an outside plant fiber. A first level of splitting (1:4 or 1:8) is installed in a closure, not far from the central office. The input of this first level fiber splitter is connected with the OLT fiber coming from the central office. A second level of fiber splitters (1:16 or 1:8) resides in terminal boxes, very close to the customer premises (each splitter covering 8 to 16 homes). The inputs of these PON splitters are the fibers coming from the outputs of the first level splitters described above.

fiber splitter Distributed-Splitting

Centralized Splitting vs Distributed Splitting

From the knowledge of centralized and distributed splitting described above, we see that for centralized splitting, all PON splitters are located in one closure, which will maximize OLT utilization and provide a single point of access for troubleshooting. But since optical splitters must be terminated to the customer either through individual splices or connectors, the cost of distribution cables will be very high. In terms of distributed splitting methods, the PON splitters are located in two or more different closures, which will minimize the amount of fiber that needs to be deployed to provide service. But it may create inefficient use of OLT PON ports and may increase the customer testing and turn-up time. The advantages and disadvantages of centralized and distributed splitting are summarized in the table below:


Before deciding which splitting method to use in a PON-based FTTH network, always consider every unique aspect of your network case. Since both splitting methods have their pros and cons, ultimately,

The best architecture is the one that meets the requirements and expectations of the provider by reducing capital expense, optimizing long-term operational expense, and making a future-proof network that can cope with new technologies without dramatic changes.

Optace provides 1xN Splitters, and PLC Splitters which can divide a single/dual optical input(s) into multiple optical outputs uniformly, and offer superior optical performance, high stability and high reliability to meet various application requirements.

View Fiber Optic Splitters in Store.

View Indoor/Outdoor Terminal Boxes in Store.

View Fiber Optic Closures in Store.

View Distribution Cabinets in Store.

Source: https://community.fs.com/blog/centralized-splitting-vs-distributed-splitting-in-pon-based-ftth-networks.html

Power Over Ethernet - PoE

Power Over Ethernet – PoE [Part 1]

Power over Ethernet or PoE describes any of several standards or ad-hoc systems which pass electric power along with data over an Ethernet connection without the need for batteries or a wall outlet. This allows a single cable to provide both data connection and electric power to devices such as wireless access points, IP cameras, and VoIP phones.

How Power over Ethernet [PoE] Works

Network cables, such as CAT 5E and CAT 6, comprise eight wires arranged as four twisted pairs.  In 10 and 100BASE-T Ethernet, two of these pairs are used for sending information, and these are known as the data pairs.  The other two pairs are unused and are referred to as the spare pairs (Gigabit Ethernet uses all four pairs).

Because electrical currents flow in a loop, two conductors are required to deliver power over a cable.  POE treats each pair as a single conductor, and can use either the two data pairs or the two spare pairs to carry electrical current.

The PoE Process

1. Power Injection

Power over Ethernet is injected onto the cable at a voltage between 44 and 57 volts DC, and typically 48 volts is used.  This relatively high voltage allows efficient power transfer along the cable, while still being low enough to be regarded as safe. However, this voltage can still damage equipment that has not been designed to receive POE. In order to power a device via Ethernet, a PoE adapter is required. This device, also called an "Ethernet injector," plugs into a standard power outlet and provides power to one or more Ethernet ports.

2. Signature Detection

Before a POE source, - PSE (Power Sourcing Equipment) - can enable power to a connected PoE device -PD (Powered Device) - it must perform a signature detection process. Signature detection uses a lower voltage to detect a characteristic signature of IEEE-compatible PDs (a 25kOhm resistance).  Once this signature has been detected, the PSE knows what voltages can be safely applied.

3. Classification

Classification follows the signature detection stage, and is an optional process.  If a PD displays a classification signature, it lets the PSE know how much power it requires to operate. This means that PSEs with a limited total power budget can allocate it effectively.

4. Enable Power

The final stage after detection and classification of a newly connected device is to enable power: the 48V supply is connected to the cable by the PSE so the PD can operate.  Once enabled, the PSE continues to monitor how much electrical current it is delivering to the PD, and will cut the power to the cable if too much, or not enough, power is drawn.  This protects the PSE against overload, and ensures that POE is disconnected from the cable if the PD is unplugged.

PoE Classification in Detail

All PoE devices must adhere to the universal IEEE 802.3af/at/bt PoE standards. This way, all PoE devices can properly communicate with one another on a network, even if some devices on the network aren’t PoE compatible. For example, if you connected a PoE Ethernet cable to a no PoE device, it would supply only data, and not electricity; since the device is not PoE compatible and cannot send a digital signature to the PSE for power, your switch will know not to send electricity down the line.

There are 4 PoE classifications;

Type 1

The first PoE type is normally referred to as PoE. It conforms to the IEEE 802.3af standard and it can supply maximum power to port of 15.4 Watts. It was an early PoE standard created back in 2003, meant to supply electricity to low-powered devices on a network, including VoIP phones, sensors, wireless access points, and simple static surveillance cameras that can’t move from side to side or up and down.

Type 2

The second PoE type is commonly referred to as PoE+ or PoE Plus. Type 2 PoE conforms to the IEEE 802.3at standard, and it can supply maximum power to port of 30 Watts. This newer standard is backward compatible, meaning it also supports Type 1 PoE devices. Type 2 PoE can power PDs such as wireless access points with six antennas, biometric sensors, LCD displays, and more advanced cameras that have pan, tilt, and zoom functionalities.

Type 3

Type 3 is the third PoE type, and it is also known as 4-pair PoE, RP PoE, PoE++, and UPoE because it uses all four pairs in a copper cable. It conforms to the IEEE 802.3bt PoE standard, and it can supply maximum power to port of 60 Watts. PoE++ has enough power per port to operate management devices and video conferencing systems.

Type 4

Commonly referred to as higher-power PoE, Type 4 also conforms to the newest IEEE 802.3bt standard, but it can supply maximum power to port of 100 Watts in order to accommodate the growing power requirements of network devices and IoT. It can even support power hungry laptops and TVs.

Power Over Ethernet [PoE] Standards
Power Over Ethernet [PoE] Standards

What Cable to Use for PoE?

IEEE 802.at and 802.3af standards uses a four-pair CAT 5E cable, but only call for power delivery from two of the pairs; either pairs 2 and 3 or 1 and 4, but not both pairs at the same time.

IEEE 802.3bt uses all of the pairs in a four-pair CAT 6 cable, which allows current to flow evenly among them. This innovation drastically improves the amount of power that can be transmitted over a single PoE cable, in addition to the higher data rate of up to 10GBASE-T.

Next week, we dive deeper into the benefits of PoE, its wide applications in the IoT, and its place in the future.

Check out our wide catalogue of Power over Ethernet (PoE) solutions, which includes Power Sourcing Equipment and Powered Devices.

Understanding Fiber Optics - Part 3

Understanding Fiber Optics – Your Quick Guide to SFP Transceivers

What is an SFP Transceiver?

SFP (small form-factor pluggable) is a compact, hot-pluggable optical module transceiver used for both telecommunication and data communications applications. These applications -usually on networking hardware- feature an SFP interface which is a modular (plug-and-play) slot for a variable, media-specific transceiver in order to connect a fiber optic cable or sometimes a copper cable.

The form factor and electrical interface are specified by a multi-source agreement (MSA) under the Small Form Factor Committee umbrella; a popular industry format jointly developed and supported by many network component vendors.

Types of SFP transceivers

There are a number of types of SFP Transceivers based on the different classification standards. To help you pick the best SFP Transceiver for your application, it is important to understand these different classifications and characteristics and more importantly, to tell them apart.

They may seem like a lot to digest, but not to worry. We have taken time to outline a summary of the most common classifications and differences, to serve as a quick guide to selecting the right SFP Transceiver.

Let’s explore them in detail…

Single Mode vs. Multimode SFP Transceivers

Based on the types of optical fibers SFP transceivers work with, SFP transceivers are divided into single mode SFP that works with single-mode fiber and multimode SFP that works with multimode fiber. Explore the major differences between them. Single-mode SFP transceivers are designed to transmit signals over long distances, while Multimode SFP transceivers are specially designed for short distance data transmission. Explore some more differences below…

  Single Mode SFP Multimode SFP
Wavelength 1310nm and 1550nm 850nm
Colour Coding Blue color-coded bale clasp for 1310nm SFP. Yellow color-coded bale clasp for 1550nm SFP. Black color-coded bale clasp.
Fiber Jacket Colour Yellow jacket for Single Mode fiber. Orange jacket for OM1 & OM2 Multimode fiber
Transmission Distance Long distance transmission such as 2 km, 10 km, 20 km, 40 km, 80 km, 100 km and 120 km. Short distance transmission such as 100 m and 500 m.
Single Mode SFP vs Multimode SFP

SFP Fiber Module vs SFP Copper Module

Copper SFP modules allow communication over twisted pair networking cables while fiber modules allow communication over fiber optic cables. Explore more differences below;

  Transceiver Type Connector Distance Data Rate
SFP Fiber Module CWDM/DWDM SFP LC Duplex 10km-120km over Single Mode Fiber 100Mbps/ 1000Mbps
SFP Copper Module 1000BASE-T 10/100BASE-T 10/100/1000BASE-T RJ45 100m over copper twist pair cable 100Mbps/ 1000Mbps

Copper SFP vs Fiber SFP

Simplex SFP vs Duplex SFP

Simplex SFP transceivers use only a single fiber for transmission while Duplex SFP transceivers use dual fibers. Simplex SFPs, are also known as bidirectional (BiDi) SFPs. It is very easy to distinguish simplex SFP and duplex SFP from the receptacle as shown in the diagram below;

Simplex SFP vs Duplex SFP

Note: All SFP transceivers should be used in pairs. For duplex SFPs at the two sides, we should connect two SFPs of the same wavelengths. For example, two 850nm SFPs or two 1310nm SFPs. However, for simplex/BiDi SFPs, we should use two SFPs that have opposite wavelengths for transmitter and receiver.

Bandwidth; SFP vs SFP+

The trend towards higher speed and higher bandwidth is always unstoppable, from Fast Ethernet to Gigabit Ethernet. At the same time, new devices for transmitting data are published; SFP+ for 10 Gigabit and SFP28 for 25 Gigabit Ethernet. While they all use the same form-factor packaging, the most obvious difference between them is the data rate. Explore the differences below;

Data Rate 1.25G 2.5G/3G/4.25G 6G/8.5G/10G 25G
Types Single-mode/Multimode Simplex/Duplex CWDM/DWDM Single-mode/Multimode Simplex/Duplex CWDM/DWDM Single-mode/Multimode
Distance 100 m up to 150km 220m up to 80km 100m up to 10km

Dense Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (DWDM) vs Coarse Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (CWDM)

Simply put, Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (WDM) is a technology that enables transmission of multiple signals simultaneously on a single fiber. WDM is utilized by telecom systems in long distance transmission. In these systems, the lasers of SFP transceivers are chosen with precise wavelengths closely spaced but not so close they interfere with each other.

Wavelength-division multiplexing for SFP transceivers is either DWDM (dense WDM) or CWDM (coarse WDM). Discover more below;

Wavelength SpacingUp to 45 wavelengths (Channel 17 to Channel 61 according to ITU) of C Band (1525 nm to 1565 nm) or L Band (1570 nm to 1610 nm) with a 0.8nm spacing Up to 18 wavelengths from 1270 nm to 1610 nm with a 20nm spacing, i.e. 1270 nm, 1290 nm, 1310 nm, 1330 nm...
Transmission DistanceUp to 80 or 200 kmUp to 100 km, typically 80 km
ApplicationLong distance DWDM SONET/SDH transmission, Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel, Metro Network Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel (FC), Metro Access Network, Point-to-Point Network, Synchronous Optical Network (SONET), SDH (Synchronous Digital Hierarchy).
BenefitsUp to 32 channels can be done passively. Up to 160 channels with an active solution. Active solutions involve optical amplifiers to achieve longer distances. Passive equipment that uses no electrical power. Much lower cost per channel than DWDM. Scalability to grow the fiber capacity as needed with little or no increased cost. Protocol transparent. Ease of use.


Quick guide to selecting SFP

When selecting the correct SFP transceiver, the main factor to consider is the application scenario based on the classifications outlined above. In summary,

-Which type of Fiber Optic Cable are you connecting to the SFP transceiver?

-At what data rate do you want to transmit?

-What is the distance of your link?

-What type of signal are you transmitting?  

There’s one more important consideration technicians are careful to look into…

With quite a number of third party SFP optical transceivers in the market, compatibility is often the most parameter users care about. Before place your order, you can check the vendors’ optics testing center to confirm whether the SFP module you choose is compatible with your devices.

Or just talk to us for details about the SFP transceiver compatibility.

View SFP Transceivers we Have in Store.


Small form-factor pluggable transceiver | Fiber Optic Cabling Solutions | SFP Module: What’s It and How to Choose It?

Understanding Fiber Optics [Part 2] – Fiber Optic Connectors

Understanding Fiber Optics [Part 2] – Fiber Optic Connectors

Fiber optic connectors are the terminations at the end of fiber optic cables to provide attachment to a transmitter, receiver or other cable and allow for re-mateable connections.

Fiber optic cables carry information between two places using entirely optical (light-based) technology. For the light pulses to transmit effectively, fiber optic connectors must mechanically couple and align the cores of the fibers perfectly. Whether you are installing a brand-new fiber optic network or adding a connection, it is important for the connection to be highly precise in order to facilitate high speed fiber optic networking. That being the case, let’s dive in to fiber optic connectors!

Before we get to that…

There are different types of fiber optic connectors and each has its own design, depending on the implementation. To better understand these design differences, lets have a look at the major components of a fiber optic connector;

Ferrule — this is a thin structure (often cylindrical), usually made from ceramic, metal, or high-quality plastic, that forms a tight grip on the fiber.

Connector body — this is a plastic or metal structure that holds the ferrule and attaches to the jacket and strengthens members of the fiber cable itself.

Coupling mechanism — this is a part of the connector body that holds the connector in place when it gets attached to another device. It may be a latch clip, a bayonet-style nut, or similar device.

Types of Fiber Optic Connectors

There are more than 100 types of connector but we are only going to have a look at the 4 most commonly used connectors, i.e., SC, ST, LC and FC.

SC Connector

The SC connector was developed in Japan by NTT (the Japanese telecommunications company), and is believed to stand for ‘Subscriber Connector’ or ‘Standard Connector’. SC connectors use a round 2.5mm ferrule and come with a locking tab that enables push on / pull off mating mechanism to offer quick insertion and removal. The SC connector can be utilized with single-mode and multi-mode fiber optic cables.

The connector body of an SC connector is square shaped. Two SC connectors are commonly bound together with a plastic clip, creating a duplex connection.

SC Connector

LC Connector

Developed by Lucent Technologies, the LC connector otherwise known as a ‘Lucent Connector’ measures about half the size of an SC connector. Available in simplex or duplex versions, LC connectors can be used with both single-mode and multi-mode cables. The LC connector uses a 1.25mm ferrule with a retaining tab mechanism.

LC Connector

ST Connector

ST connectors were one of the first connector types widely implemented in fibre optic networking applications. Originally developed by AT&T, ST stands for ‘Straight Tip’ connector. The ST connector utilizes a 2.5mm ferrule with a round plastic or metal body. The connector stays in place with the help of a “twist-on/twist-off” bayonet-style lock mechanism.

ST Connector

FC Connector

FC is an acronym for ‘ferrule connector” or ‘fiber channel’. The connectors have a threaded body and a position locatable notch to achieve exact locating of the SMF in relation to the receiver and the optical source. Once the connector is installed, its position is maintained with total precision. The FC is designed for durable connections, and can be used in high-vibration environments.

FC Connector

All these connectors feature an end face at the ferrule that is either polished at an angle, or curved; a design feature that is dependent on implementation. The two most commonly used polish styles are APC (Angled Physical Contact) and UPC (Ultra Physical Contact).

The main difference between APC and UPC connectors is the fiber end face.

An APC connector usually has a green body with a curved end face, angled at an industry-standard 8 degrees which allows for even tight connections and smaller end-face radii. Thus, any light that is redirected back towards the source is actually reflected out into the fiber cladding, again by virtue of the 8 degree angled end-face. APC ferrules offer return losses of -65dB (the higher the value, the better).

APC Connector

A UPC fiber connector which usually has a blue-colored body, has a slightly curved end face for better core alignment. With UPC connectors, any reflected light is reflected straight back towards the light source. The back reflection of UPC connector is about -55 dB.

UPC Connector


Generally, the APC connector has a better performance than the UPC type. APC is best for high bandwidth applications and long haul links e.g. FTTx (fiber to the x), passive optical network (PON) and wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM). These applications are more sensitive to return loss, thus APC is a better solution to offer the lowest return loss.

However, massive employment of APC connectors will cause higher cost. If your project budget is of importance to you, UPC might be a better choice.

Head over to our store and check out our product offering for APC and UPC fiber products.

Sources: Tutorials Of Fiber Optic Products | Belden | Fiber Connectors - what's the difference?

Understanding Fiber Optics [Part 1] - Fiber Optic Cables

Understanding Fiber Optics [Part 1] – Fiber Optic Cables

A fiber optic cable is a network cable that contains strands of glass fibers inside an insulated casing, designed for long distance, high-performance data networking and telecommunications. Compared to wired cables, fiber optic cables provide higher bandwidth and can transmit data over longer distances. They basically support much of the world's internet, cable television, and telephone systems.

Fiber optic cables come in two types; Single Mode and Multimode. Let’s dive into detail on their functional differences and applications.

Single Mode Cable

Single Mode optic cable has a small diametral core that allows only one mode of light to propagate. The small core and single light-wave virtually eliminate any distortion that could result from overlapping light pulses, providing the least signal attenuation. Because of this, the number of light reflections created as the light passes through the core decreases, lowering attenuation (loss), creating the ability for the signal to travel further and enabling the highest transmission speeds of any fiber cable type. 

Types of Single Mode Fiber Cables

Single mode cables come in 2 categories, OS1 and OS2.

In a nutshell, OS1 fiber is a tight buffered cable designed for use in indoor applications (such as campuses or data centers) where the maximum distance is 10 km. OS2 fiber is a loose tube cable designed for use in outdoor cases (like street, underground and burial) where the maximum distance is up to 200 km. Both OS1 and OS2 fiber optic cable allow a distance of gigabit to 10G Ethernet. Besides, OS2 fiber can support 40G and 100G Ethernet.


Single Mode cables are best suited for long distance, high bandwidth signal transmissions by Telcos, Cable TV companies, Colleges and Universities as well as Data Centers.

Multimode Cable

A multimode optic cable has a large diametral core that allows multiple modes of light to propagate. Because of this, the number of light reflections created as the light passes through the core increases, creating the ability for more data to pass through at a given time. Because of the high dispersion and attenuation rate with this type of fiber, the quality of the signal is reduced over long distances.

Types of Multimode Fiber Cables

Multimode cables are classified into 5 categories, based on functional differences.

OM1 - typically comes with an orange jacket and have a core size of 62.5 µm. It can support 10 Gigabit Ethernet at lengths of up to 33 meters. It is most commonly used for 100 Megabit Ethernet applications. This type commonly uses a LED light source.

OM2 - Like OM1, OM2 fiber also comes with an orange jacket and uses a LED light source but with a smaller core size of 50 µm. It supports up to 10 Gigabit Ethernet at lengths up to 82 meters but is more commonly used for 1 Gigabit Ethernet applications.

OM3 - OM3 fiber comes with an aqua color jacket. Like the OM2, its core size is 50 µm, but the cable is optimized for laser-based equipment. OM3 supports 10 Gigabit Ethernet at lengths up to 300 meters. Besides, OM3 is able to support 40 Gigabit and 100 Gigabit Ethernet up to 100 meters, however, 10 Gigabit Ethernet is most commonly used.

OM4 - OM4 fiber is completely backwards compatible with OM3 fiber and shares the same distinctive aqua jacket. OM4 was developed specifically for VSCEL laser transmission and allows 10 Gbit/s link distances of up to 550m compared to 300M with OM3. And it’s able to run 40/100GB up to 150 meters utilizing a MPO connector.

OM5 - OM5 fiber, also known as WBMMF (wideband multimode fiber), is the newest type of multimode fiber, and it is backwards compatible with OM4. It has the same core size as OM2, OM3, and OM4. The color of OM5 fiber jacket was chosen as lime green. It is designed and specified to support at least four WDM channels at a minimum speed of 28Gbps per channel through the 850-953 nm window.

Multimode fiber cable types


Multimode cables are typically used for short distance, data and audio/video applications in LANs.

Single Mode or Multimode?

It is all dependent on the applications. For backbone, high-speed interconnections between systems or even large companies over a long distance, single mode fiber cables work best. These cables can be quite pricey.

Multimode cables on the other hand are more preferred as a cost-effective choice for enterprise and data center interconnections, up to 600 metres. They are often used for backbone applications in buildings.

However, that doesn’t mean one can substitute a single mode fiber with multimode cable. It all depends on applications that you need, transmission distance to be covered as well as the overall budget allowed.

Do visit our store to explore our wide catalogue of Single Mode and Multimode fiber optic cables by trusted vendors, for your high-speed interconnections and transmission needs!

Read Part 2 Here

Data Center Switches

What are Data Center-Class Switches?

Before making the decision to purchase switches for your data center, first be sure what your network needs and where. Network switches fall into four basic categories: those that fit into the classic three-tier enterprise network model, and newer data center-class switches currently used mainly by large enterprises and cloud providers that rely heavily on virtualization. These newer switches have density and performance characteristics that can be deployed throughout the data center or to anchor a two-tier (leaf-spine) or one-tier flat mesh or fabric architecture.

You may hear network administrators say something like, "A switch is just a switch no matter who makes it." In some ways, it's true; in other ways, not so much.

All switches have basic functionality that includes maintaining a media access control (MAC) address-to-port table, which is used to intelligently forward frames out the right ports to the intended destinations. All switches also use standards-based protocols to segment traffic using the concept of virtual local area networks, 802.1q trunks and 802.3ad port aggregation. They also prevent network loops using one of the many variants of the 802.1d spanning-tree protocol.

But if you look beneath the surface, you find different types of switches have unique characteristics that, when used properly, better optimize the network as a whole. The easiest way to look at these differences is to break them up into the following traditional three-tier enterprise-network design:

Core switches

Distribution switches

Access switches

Three-Tiered Network Model

Note the three-tiered architecture's pyramid design. Core switches interconnect with other core switches and down to the distribution tier. The distribution tier sits in between the core and the access tier. The access tier connects the entire structure to end devices like computers, printers and servers.

Tasks and workloads can be distinct for switches in different tiers. While all switches share universal functions like MAC tables, spanning-tree and trunking, they also have exclusive capabilities performed only within that network tier.

Core switches

The core switch is the easiest to understand. Core switches are all about speed. If designed properly, the only tasks a core switch should perform are routing at Layer 3 (the network layer) and switching at Layer 2 (the data link layer that moves data across the physical links of a network).

Core switches are high-throughput, high-performance packet and frame movers. Packets and frames are simply moved from one core switch to another core switch, and eventually down to the next tier of switches -- the distribution tier.

Distribution switches

The distribution tier addresses a new set of unique switching needs, and is the workhorse of any enterprise network.

First and foremost, distribution switches are used to connect the core and access tiers together on the network. If data needs to be moved from one distribution block to another, the switch pushes that data up to the core switches, which know the optimal path to the destination distribution tier switch.

Secondly, distribution switches also interconnect all network access tier switches. Because there are so many interconnections in a network, distribution switches have higher port density than core switches, which have far fewer interconnections to other switches.

Finally and most importantly, distribution switches enforce all forms of network policies. Access lists are configured and implemented in the distribution tier to permit or deny traffic from one network to another. Quality of service policies are also found here to prioritize packets and put them into pre-defined queues for optimal transport of time-sensitive information. In addition to port density, distribution tier switches must have enough CPU speed and memory to perform all tasks at or near wire speed.

Access switches

At the bottom of the classic three-tier switch design is the access tier.

Access tier switches are the only ones that directly interact with end-user devices. Because an access switch connects the majority of devices to the network, the access tier typically has the highest port density of all switch types.

Despite the high port-count, however, access switches usually provide the lowest throughput-per-port of all switches. For example, most modern access switches provide a 10/100/1000 Mbps copper Ethernet connection to end devices. By contrast, core and distribution tier switches commonly use between 10 Gbps and 100 Gbps fiber-optic ports.

So in terms of CPU and raw throughput, access switches are on the low end of the scale. But these switches offer many features that cater specifically to end-devices that the upper tiers do not require. For example, access switches commonly support Power over Ethernet, which can power many endpoint devices, including wireless access points and security cameras.

Additionally, access switches are better able to interact with endpoints from a security perspective. Things like port-security, 802.1X authentication and other security mechanisms are built directly onto access switch software.

Changes in data center design affects switches

The three-tiered design connects devices and layers across an enterprise infrastructure with high scalability. Up until a few years ago, only access switches were used to connect servers to the rest of the network using the same 1 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) ports that desktop computers or networked printers use. Over time, however, changes in data-center server architecture -- paced by developments such as storage area networks (SANs) and the continued growth of virtualization -- ushered in a new breed of high-performance switches that we will refer to as data center-class switches.

These switches provide the physical port capacity and port throughput required to handle both north-south and east-west traffic flows. They allow for connectivity using both standard LAN Ethernet protocol and SAN protocols, such as Fibre Channel over Ethernet and legacy Fibre Channel. Data center-class switches have more extensive high availability and fault tolerance systems built into the hardware and software for better uptime for mission-critical applications. And they provide significantly higher deployment flexibility with both top-of-rack and end-of-row configuration compatibility. Finally, all components of a distributed data center-class switch can be managed from a single management interface for ease of use.

This article was published by Andrew Froehlich (West Gate Network). Article title. What are data center-class switches?Retrieved from HERE

Giganet Category 6 UTP

Network Cabling: Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP)

Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) is a ubiquitous type of copper cabling used in telephone wiring and local area networks (LANs). There are five types of UTP cables -- identified with the prefix CAT, as in category -- each supporting a different amount of bandwidth.

Alternatives to UTP cable include coaxial cable and fiber optic cable. There are benefits and tradeoffs to each type of cabling, but broadly speaking, most enterprises favor UTP cable due to its low cost and ease of installation. 

How UTP cables work: Twisted pair design

Inside a UTP cable is up to four twisted pairs of copper wires, enclosed in a protective plastic cover, with the greater number of pairs corresponding to more bandwidth. The two individual wires in a single pair are twisted around each other, and then the pairs are twisted around each other, as well. This is done to reduce crosstalk and electromagnetic interference, each of which can degrade network performance. Each signal on a twisted pair requires both wires.

Twisted pairs are color-coded to make it easy to identify each pair; One wire in a pair is identified by one of five colors: blue, orange, green, brown or slate (gray). This wire is paired with a wire from a different color group: white, red, black, yellow or violet. Typically, one wire in a pair is solid-colored, and the second is striped with the color of its mate -- e.g., a solid blue wire would be paired with a white-and-blue striped wire -- so they can be easily identified and matched.

Different uses, such as analog, digital and Ethernet, require different pair multiples.

The twisted-pair design was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1881.

Types of UTP cables

The five categories of UTP cable are defined by the TIA/EIA 568 standard:

CAT3: Rarely used today, CAT3 is usually deployed in phone lines. It supports 10 Mbps for up to 100 meters.

CAT4: Typically used in token ring networks, CAT4 supports 16 Mbps for up to 100 meters.

CAT5: Used in Ethernet-based LANs, CAT5 contains two twisted pairs. It supports 100 Mbps for up to 100 meters.

CAT5e: Used in Ethernet-based LANs, CAT5e contains four twisted pairs. It supports 1 Gbps for 100 meters.

CAT6: Used in Ethernet-based LANs and data center networks, CAT6 contains four tightly wound twisted pairs. It supports 1 Gbps for up to 100 meters and 10 Gbps for up to 50 meters.

The most common connector used with UTP cable is an RJ-45.

Shielded vs. Unshielded Twisted Pair cables

The unshielded in UTP refers to the lack of metallic shielding around the copper wires. By its very nature, the twisted-pair design helps minimize electronic interference by providing balanced signal transmission, making a physical shield unnecessary. In addition, different twist rates -- that is, varying the amount of twists between different pairs -- can also be used to reduce crosstalk. Because these protections come from how the wires are physically laid out, bending or stretching a UTP cable too much can damage the pairs and make interference more likely to occur.

In a shielded twisted pair (STP), the wires are enclosed in a shield that functions as a grounding mechanism. This is done to provide greater protection from electromagnetic interference and radio frequency interference; however, STP cable is more expensive and difficult to install, compared with UTP.

This article was last published in May 2017, by Margret Rouse. Article title. Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) Retrieved from HERE

Ubiquiti IsoStation

Ubiquiti IsoStation – Get Maximum Gain out of the Smallest Footprint

In the WISP quest to connect people and things, the unlicensed RF environment is getting crowded every moment and WISPs have to deal with interference every time. Even worse, there isn't enough space any more for co-location especially with the traditional antenna design. As solution providers, we understand this problem; Not only so, but also intentional about solving it. We bring you, the Ubiquiti IsoStation M5 and 5AC, with interchangeable PrismAP Horn Antennas.

Ubiquiti IsoStation
Ubiquiti IsoStation M5 and 5AC, with Interchangeable PrismAP Horn Antennas.
Here's why...

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Ubiquiti IsoStation
Improved Noise Immunity

Its modular design gives you options to interchange the antenna, to improve beam‑shaping for specific deployment needs. By default, the IsoStation 5AC includes the symmetrical horn antenna with 45° beamwidth which is interchangeable with either the 30°, 60°, or 90° antenna.

IsoStation 5AC
Interchangeable PrismAP Horn Antennas

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Increase Co-location Performance Without Sacrificing Gain

Your network gets extended radio performance enabling you to reach and serve a greater number of customers by providing high throughput using AC wireless technology.

Ubiquiti IsoStation
Extended Radio Performance

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