Choose 10GBASE-T Copper Over SFP+ for 10G Ethernet
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Choose 10GBASE-T Copper Over SFP+ for 10G Ethernet

Posted on by FS.COM

With the increase in server consolidation through virtualization in the data center, the resulting data demand has exceeded the traditional 1Gb/s throughput capability. 10G Ethernet, which can simplify network infrastructure by consolidating multiple gigabit ports into a single 10GbE connection, is considered to be an ideal solution to overcome the aforesaid bandwidth limitation. Generally, 10GbE network can be achieved both by 10GBASE-T copper and SFP+ cabling. This post will discuss why choose 10GBASE-T copper over SFP+ for 10G Ethernet, and recommend network solutions for 10GBASE-T copper cabling.

Why Choose 10GBASE-T Copper Over SFP+ for 10G Ethernet

Although fiber cable has longer reach and reduced electromagnetic interference, copper cable is still popular for its reliability and cost-effectiveness. This is also true in 10GbE network. 10GBASE-T copper and SFP+ are two kinds of physical media for 10GbE network. Here are some 10GBASE-T copper benefits compared to SFP+:

10GBASE-T vs SFP+: Backward Compatibility

10GBASE-T is an interoperable, standards-based technology, which uses legacy RJ45 connector and can auto-negotiate between 1 and 10 gigabit speeds. In other words, 10GBASE-T copper cabling is backward compatible with legacy networks. So we can deploy 10GBASE-T copper network now and start using it to connect with existing 1G ports or upgraded 10G ports.

10GBASE-T vs SFP+: Lower Cost

10GBASE-T copper network usually uses Cat6 cable for cabling. And Cat6 cables are often less expensive than comparable length fiber cables. In data center, with hundreds of required cables, this can turn into big savings. Further more, Cat6 cable is also cheaper than SFP+ 10G copper cable. And it can support longer transmission distance. In addition, 10GBASE-T copper network can maximize the utilization of existing copper structured cabling. This will also save much capital expenditure.

10GBASE-T Copper Network Solutions

To build a 10GBASE-T copper network, there are generally two cabling solutions: use 10GBASE-T copper switch and Cat6 cable or use 10G SFP+ switch and 10GBASE-T SFP+ transceiver & Cat6 cable. This part will take popular Spine-Leaf cabling as example to compare these two solutions:

Solution One: 10GBASE-T Copper Switch & Cat6 Cable

10GBASE-T Copper Switch and Cat6 Cable

Figure 1: 10GBASE-T copper switch and cat6 cable

Product Price
S8050-20Q4C 40G Switch US$ 5499
40G Transceiver From US$ 49
MTP/MPO Fiber Patch Cable From US$ 32
S5850-48T4Q 10GBASE-T Switch US$ 4599
Cat6 Cable From US$ 1
Total From US$ 10180

Solution Two: 10G SFP+ switch & 10GBASE-T SFP+ Transceiver & Cat6 Cable

10G SFP+ switch & 10GBASE-T SFP+ Transceiver & Cat6 Cable

Figure 2: 10G SFP+ switch & 10GBASE-T SFP+ Transceiver & Cat6 Cable

Product Price
S8050-20Q4C 40G Switch US$ 5499
40G Transceiver From US$ 49
MTP/MPO Fiber Patch Cable From US$ 32
S5850-48S6Q 10G SFP+ Switch US$ 3999
10GBASE-T SFP+ Module US$ 280
Cat6 Cable From US$ 1
Total From US$ 9860

Tips: See the above two tables, you may find that 10GBASE-T switch is much expensive than 10G SFP+ switch plus 10GBASE-T SFP+ transceiver, and think 10G SFP+ switch solution is a more cost-effective way. However, the above table only take one 10GBASE-T SFP+ transceiver into consideration. If you use ten 10GBASE-T SFP+ transceivers in actual application, the result will be totally different. Thus, which solution to choose is dependent on how many 10GBASE-T SFP+ transceivers you will need.

Conclusion

As its price and power consumption continue to drop down, 10GBASE-T copper solution is much more popular than SFP+ in 10Gbps rack-based data centers that use ToR (Top of Rack) switches. If you want a flexible and cost-effective 10GbE network, 10GBASE-T copper solutions is ideal for you.

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