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10Gbe networking in the home


#1

Hi all,

I’m going to be purchasing a house soon so I will finally have the opportunity to run networking cables to all of my equipment. I have been researching 10Gb networking and have a few questions.

First off, is it worth the extra expense to get hardware that uses copper and RJ45 connectors, or should I just be looking at switches and NICs that use SFP/+?

It is my understanding that if I went with SFP I would need to use much more expensive copper transceivers to get the RJ45 I am used to, but is there any real downside to just getting optical transceivers and running fiber through the home? The only one I can see is that I lose the option of falling back to the built in 1Gb NIC on the motherboard. However I have Wi-Fi which would get me by until I could get the problem fixed.

If I do go with SFP, are the transceivers specific to a certain model/manufacturer of equipment, or can I use, just as an example, a Dell transceiver with a Cisco switch?

I know for SFP+ direct attach is supported without the need for a transceiver, would that have any benefits over fiber transceivers?

My current plan for the high level structure is going to be

MB8600 Modem -> RT-AC68U -> 10Gbe switch LAN (Wi-Fi APs, client devices, NAS).

Eventually I would like to put a big beefy PC in a closet and use a low power ITX build to just stream Windows VMs as my main clients.


Whole house PC with Linux as backbone
#2

There is no SFP+ to RJ45 adapter that can do 10Gb. All of them are 10Gb SFP+ to 1Gb RJ45. Have that in mind.

Fiber has the downside that you can’t just cut and terminate it yourself at whatever length you need. You need special equipment and skills to do that.

Lots of SFP transceivers do NOT work in lots of SFP+ ports on switches and cards. Vendors try to lock them down so that you buy their own. You have to do your research on that.

Fiber is not very expensive but transceivers are. Twinax cables (direct attatch copper aka DAC) are also quite expensive, especially the longer ones.

There are cheap 10Gb SFP+ used enterprise switches but they are noisy and power hungry, around 100-150W constant.

RJ45 10Gb switches and cards are also very expensive.

You are probably looking at $500-$1500 for SFP+ gear for 3-4 computers or double that for RJ45.

Whatever you do, make sure you can rerun cables in the future. Get yourself some nice conduit or something. You might decide to upgrade to e.g. 40Gb in the future and find out that the LC connector on your fiber does not match your new QSFP transceiver.

For me, besides the 10Gb stuff, running multiple Cat5E cables to every room is mandatory. Use one central switch, not many switches around the house.


#3

I have to disagree about the availability of 10G SFP+ transceivers for RJ45. They do exist, they’re just stupid expensive. This is just one example.

The 10G fiber transceivers can be found (relatively) cheaply, around $20 for each transciever, so $40 per client device assuming I need one on each end.

10Gb NICs are down to around $100 For an RJ45 model, SFP models can be had for significantly cheaper. Switches can be found for a couple hundred bucks for SFP models, or 300-500 For some netgear RJ45 models.

Even after factoring in transceivers for SFP it seems to come out as the cheaper solution, however if the transceivers are not standardized then I could see that being a massive headache while troubleshooting that might not be worth it. That sort of power draw would also kill that as an option for me unless the RJ45 based stuff is the same.

As for being able to cut and terminate fiber, I wasn’t too concerned, I figured I’d just get pre-made cables that are a meter or 2 longer than needed and leave the slack in the wall, being fiber the small amount of extra length shouldn’t cause any significant signal degradation.

I planned to have a single centralized 10G switch, with maybe a secondary gigabit switch off of that (but in the same physical location) for streaming devices and things that don’t need the 10G connection so I could save 10G ports.


#4

Get preterminated fiber (LC connectors on both sides, UPC polish on both sides). Single mode or multimode - doesn’t matter at home.

If you get single mode it might last you longer (e.g. you’ll probably be able to use 100G/200G/400G over the same cable once that’s out… No idea what you’d connect with it today, anyway).

In terms of manufacturers, the electrical and protocols are always compatible. The device can inspect the tranciever signature and choose not to operate with other vendor gear.

You can get transcivers coded to work with whatever switch/card/equipment you have.


#5

Looking at my options I think something like the netgear XS512EM might be the best fit, since it supports 5 speed Ethernet on its ports, that means I am ready for NBase-T devices. I also get the familiar RJ45 connectors.

Currently I think the plan is to use high end consumer Asus routers for my APs, (I use an RT-AC5300 now and have been happy with it) and the new AX11000 is supposed to support a 2.5G port. Of course, I may hold out for ubiquity to release an 802.11AX AP.

I was also looking at ubiquity switches since their UniFi Switch-XG looks like a really nice option for brand new hardware, but I don’t think it supports NBase-T.

If I have a managed switch, do I need a traditional “router” between my modem and the switch, or can I just hook the modem right in? I know that might not be a straightforward answer since there are L2/L2+/L3 lite/L3 managed switches, but what would be the minimum I would need to just hook the modem right into my 10Gb side? Or would I have to have 2 switches, 1 for WAN and one for LAN then link them? I have an MB8600 which supports 4 way LAG but I have yet to find a “router” which supports LAG on the WAN side.


#6

Typically they don’t do NAT or fancy ipv6 delegation, and you’d need a router. However, I have my wan going into my switch where I just stuff it into a VLAN, but I still have a router to pick it up. That topology can work too as long as you don’t let the internet manage your switch.


#7

Looks like one option to get >1Gb WAN could be to get a netgear SX10 switch, do the 4 port x 1Gbe LAG from modem to switch, then use one of the multi-gig ports on the switch to connect to the 2.5Gb port on the upcoming Asus GT-AX11000 router. I could then do LAG out of the router to the main switch.

Awfully expensive way to do it, but it is difficult to find a router with multiple WAN ports. Doesn’t have to be a wireless router, if I could just use dedicated APs for wireless that would be preferred honestly.

I think the Ubiquity USG-XG-8 would do everything I want to, but it will be $2k+ whenever it actually has general availability. Are there any other enterprise grade routers for <$1k that would support LAG on WAN?

Either way that SX10 switch seems pretty compelling for ~$250 even as just an 9x 1Gbe to single 10Gbe device to save 10Gb ports on the main switch for stuff like security cameras.


#8

Anyone have experience with MikroTik routers? Their CCR1009 seems appealing, it doesn’t explicitly state it supports LACP on WAN, but based on the block diagram I don’t know why it wouldn’t. Plus it has a 10G SFP+ to hook back to a main 10G switch, all for under $450.


#9

RE: FWD: @The_Awful


#10

Thanks! 2 very relevant threads. Sounds like their stuff is fairly solid if one is willing to put in the time for learning setup, which I absolutely am.

They have a lot of hardware that seems like a great value too, I can see myself using their stuff for all of my routing and switching needs. Possibly even Wi-Fi APs, though I think UBNT or even Asus consumer stuff is still better for that since I don’t see any 4 stream Wi-Fi devices from MikroTik.

Right now I think the setup would go MB8600 -> 4-way LAG to CCR1009 -> 10G SFP+ to CRS317 -> 2x 10G SFP+ LAG to CRS328 (24 port Gigabit POE switch for security cameras and other gigabit devices).

I would also connect my APs to the CRS317 using 6 speed multi-gigabit SFP+ to RJ45 adapters so they are ready if the AP supports 2.5G/5G/10G.

On the WAN side I would likely build a fallback 4G LTE modem using RBM11G and the 11G 4G LTE mini-PCI-e card which has the perfect bands for my mobile plan. I was looking at doing this with a USB modem and the “dual WAN” feature on Asus routers, but the MikroTik setup should give much higher performance than the USB LTE modems I can find.

That should let me do everything I want, all brand new, for right around $1000, which honestly isn’t too bad. Power draw isn’t that high either considering what old enterprise hardware would use.


#11

Be aware if you go single mode, the SFP transceivers are MUCH more expensive, even for same speed than multimode (more expensive lasers).

Basically, if you’re doing short runs (i.e., within a couple of hundred metres or so) run multimode. Single mode transceiver rated distance starts at like 1.5km and goes up from there.

Single mode is more useful for building to building or longer distance cabling, multimode is fine within a single premises (unless you’re talking something much larger than a domestic house).

I’d say that going single mode in a house is crazy. The SFP cost will just kill you, and it just isn’t required.

edit:
whoops didnt realize the age of the post.