[AusNOG] Copper versus fibre in the DC

James Braunegg james.braunegg at micron21.com
Sat Oct 12 18:52:42 EST 2013

Dear Alastair,

I would recommend

Single mode Fibre for any rack to rack communications , or rack to carrier communication .

Today the same single mode fibre will run 1gbit, 10gbit, 40gbit and 100gbit ... and I'm sure it will run 400gbit in years to come and that's before you look at wavelength technology.

I also find fibre has an placebo effect on people thinking it's more important than copper so they take more care when touching it....

I would only use copper for Switch to Server communication within a rack

Kindest Regards

James Braunegg
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From: AusNOG [mailto:ausnog-bounces at lists.ausnog.net] On Behalf Of Alastair Waddell
Sent: Friday, October 11, 2013 9:13 PM
To: ausnog at ausnog.net
Subject: [AusNOG] Copper versus fibre in the DC

Hi AusNOG,

I expect there's strong opinions about this.

As I'm relocating DCs, its an opportunity to re-assess carrier interconnect terminations.

I've been reading how copper (CAT7) is still valid with 10Gb/s ethernet and at the same time how the transceiver is a point of latency where the optics must be converted to electrical signal.

I figure the transceiver is also a point of failure that's absent in copper although such an argument must surely factor the qualify of the cable/RJ and it's subsequent handling (but how hard can it be!)


* Is copper a valid or even a 'better' choice to terminate carriers in the DC for 1Gb/s and beyond to 10Gb/s? *

PS KISS and risk mitigation rule in my little world. My fallback position is that fibre is still preferred as the 'safe' option especially wrt 10Gb/s. I just want to canvass all options. I don't want to repeat the exercise with the carriers at some future date if I can avoid it. It probably means, sub 1Gb/s top-of-rack kit today (looking at 4948/4900M or Juniper equivalents) and new kit at somewhere near 1Gb/s throughput with a preference to avoid carrier re-cabling.

"With the release of the IEEE 802.3an standard, 10 Gb/s over balanced twisted-pair cabling (10GBASE-T) is the fastest growing and is expected to be the most widely adopted 10GbE option. "

"At 1 Gb/s speeds, balanced twisted-pair compatible electronics offer better latency performance than fibre; however, considering latency at 10 Gb/s, currently fibre components perform better than balanced twisted-pair compatible 10GBASE-T electronics"

"Since optical fibre electronics cannot autonegotiate, a move from 1000BASE-xx to 10GBASE-xx requires a hardware change. In contrast, both 1GbE and 10GbE can be supported by 10GBASE-T balanced twisted-pair compatible equipment."


Alastair Waddell
Legion Internet

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