Flexible options for faster multi-gig’ networking

Flexible options for faster multi-gig’ networking

The need to support multiple gigabit speeds across the network has been increasing – and Zyxel has developed a set of options that give small and medium-sized organisations the freedom and flexibility they need, as Luke Harley, Switching Market Development Manager EMEA, explains.

We are always moving forward in the technology industry – and that applies as much to the way we use tech’ as it does to research and development. Just as quickly as the IT industry finds ways to do more – to process instructions faster, to transmit data at faster rates, to store more information in a smaller space – customers find new ways to use that extra speed and capacity.

In recent years at Zyxel, we have been steadily expanding our range of switches that support multi-gigabit speeds. After achieving the landmark of being able to send data traffic at 1Gbps across the network, we soon moved on to 2.5Gbps and then quite quickly to 5Gbps, and we are now supporting speeds of up to 10Gpbs.

Fibre optic fabric

All of this is, of course, running across fibre optic cabling – which is not inexpensive – and the network switches therefore need to support small form factor pluggable (SFP) connections.

It’s now commonplace even for relatively small networks to make use of different gigabit speeds in different parts of the infrastructure, to ensure that there are no bottlenecks, and that the best performance can be delivered to all users at all times. As a result, we’ve seen demand for switches that can support the use of multiple gigabit speeds rising fast.

But of course, every network is different; a business with more than 100 users that only runs ‘standard’ business applications might need to have 10Gbps on the backbone, with 1Gbps out to users at the edge. However, a smaller business that does a lot of video editing or CAD work, might need 5Gbps or even 10Gbps right to the desktop.

Something for everyone

We have responded by developing switches that can cater for every conceivable need for high-speed networking. At one end of the scale, our MG-105 and MG-108 devices provide five and eight 2.5Gbps SFP ports respectively. These are for fairly small networks that nevertheless need good copper performance.

At the next level, our XGS1010, XGS1210 and XGS1250 models have twelve ports, with eight supporting 1Gbps and additional ports that will run at 2.5Gbps, plus either one, two or even 3 ports that support 10Gbps. The latter allow these switches to be connected to the core backbone – if that’s what is required – or to a local server for high speed access.

By doing this we have provided more flexibility with the XGS range, so they can be used in various different network set-ups.

The same is true of the three XS1930 multi-gig’ switches. These all have 12 ports in total but all with port layouts, from copper Multigig without and with 375 Watt PoE Budget to a 10Gbps Fiber solution. These 3 models all come with NebulaFlex dual mode management i.e. it can be configured and controlled through our Nebula cloud platform or controlled as a stand-alone unit.

Easier moves, changes and additions

This provides a wide-ranging set of options that can be adapted to meet almost every conceivable need in smaller and mid-sized networks. The great thing about this approach – from both a customer and partner perspective – is that when there is a need to change or update the network infrastructure, there will be another Zyxel switch that can be slotted into place.

There will be no need to update the fibre optic cabling and connections (unless the distance between switches and other devices has changed). Moves, changes and additions can thus be performed quickly, with minimal disruption and at very low risk.

These switches are amongst our most popular and partners frequently perform upgrades as customers discover that they need more capacity across their networks. If you’d like to know more about our approach to multi-gigabit networking and the flexible options our switches provide, please do get in contact with your nearest Zyxel office or partner.