The standard speed for ethernet networks went from “10baset” to 100 then to gigabit networking. As of 2023, all new computers with a networking port come with a gigabit capable ethernet port, using an RJ45 connector. These all also come with lights that usually indicate activity, whether the connection is a duplex connection and whether the speed is full gigabit.
However, for a laptop or a desktop there are limits as to how much data they can use, for example if you just want to write the incoming data to disk, or send a disk file directly out on the wire, they are pretty much limited by the speed of the disk, which is between 1/4 and 1/2 the speed limit of full gigabit internet.
All about 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet
2.5GbE is like double speed and then some, and can be used to form a network that provides top speeds to more computers. For example, server class raid arrays can achieve three times the disk read speed of desktops, especially in bursts. This upgrade runs well on cat6 connectors and primarily depends on a 2.5GbE switch.
TRENDnet TEG-S350 Unmanaged 5-Port Unmanaged 2.5G Switch
The Trendnet 2.5GbE switch sports 25 gigabits throughput. There are different brands of 5 and 8 port switches available. Network architects can thus use gigabit fiber in the computer room attached to an 8 port router that connects to the server and six other 8 port routers in the house. Everybody, if home alone, can sit at a computer that has the full potential gigabit internet, even while video cameras on the network might be using up some bandwidth.
This is a horse of a different color, because you may have major cabling requirements that must be cleared to jump to this level. For flexible, rj45 type cables, 10G introduces the term 10G-base-t to describe utp networking over a cat 7 or 6a rated cable. So those cat 6 cables you just bought are not good enough.
Another connection option is fiber, OM3, OM4 or AOC. Or with copper there is a 10G scheme called DAC or direct attached copper.
One drawback to fiber is the flexibility. A cat 6a cable will not break any glass when you bend it around a corner. And you can use it on any ethernet link. Two kinds of flexibility.
Differences between fiber optic link cables in networking
Network cables for ethernet use different wavelengths of light, and have different top speeds. From slowest to fastest, the speed comparison of network fiber optic cables goes OM3, OM4 and AOC at the top.
OM3 and OM4 wavelengths
OM3 and OM4 fiber optic cables are both designed for high-speed networking and have the following differences:
- Wavelength: OM3 uses 850nm wavelength while OM4 uses both 850nm and 953nm wavelength.
- Bandwidth: OM3 has a bandwidth of 2.5Gbps and OM4 has a bandwidth of 4.5Gbps.
- Distance: OM3 cable can support 10Gbps up to 300 meters and OM4 cable can support 10Gbps up to 400 meters.
- Cost: OM4 is typically more expensive than OM3 due to its increased performance.
In summary, OM4 is a faster, more advanced, and more expensive version of OM3 and is used for higher bandwidth and longer distances in high-speed networking.
Technically, neither OM quite achieves 10G speeds. But the right cable with the right transceivers can get pretty close. These cables use two fiber connections for duplex transmission.
Lets talk about transceivers
Since you are learning about 10G networking, you will need skills with SFP+ transceivers. You will need switches that have SFP+ connections and possibly a SFP+ card for the server. On the AOC cable above, available at newegg, the SFP+ connectors are built into the cables ends. On the slower OM cables, the SFP+ transceiver becomes the receptacle for OM cables that have two prongs.
Consider LACP instead
For less than $250, you can buy a cat 6a compatible 10G capable smart switch capable of VLANS and LACP. Particularly LACP, or Link Aggregation Control Protocol is popular with raid systems. You can put a multi port gigabit adapter in your windows server and run five aggregated links into this switch.
Leave a Reply