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Fiber optic connection--what does this plug into?

Posted on 2008-11-03
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Hello, we're moving into a new building that has some of the network infastructure still in place from the previous tenant, but I'm having difficulty figuring out what I'm looking at & how it fits in with the larger picture.

The building has two floors and there is an orange fiber optic cable running between the two floors. Printed on the cable is the following text: AMP Netconnect F.O. cable dist 6x62.5/125 E223000 Type OFNP (UL)c(UL) 04/48 R120439/11/04 02394

Downstairs, this cable goes into a rack-mounted black box (with dire warnings not to open it!). There is an SC to LC cable plugged into that box and the LC connection will fit nicely into my switch. No anticipated problems there.

Upstairs, this cable ends in six SC connectors. I'm not really sure what these connectors would have been plugged into...?

I want to connect this end to my other switch--product suggestions?
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Question by:gettica
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by:Darr247
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They would appear to be 6 (3 send; 3 recv) 62.5 (micron core) / 125 (micron jacket) multimode fiberoptic cables bundled into one cable... for ease of pulling into place, and the fiber strands' protection.


> 6x62.5/125 E223000 Type OFNP (UL)c(UL) 04/48 R120439/11/04 02394

At each end of the bundle, are the numbers in the '02394' position identical?  If not, what are they at each end?


> Upstairs, this cable ends in six SC connectors. I'm not really sure what these connectors would have been plugged into...?

They would have been plugged into SC jacks.
Those jacks could have been on media converters, or a switch, or router, or about anything else terminating in SC jacks.

It's not much different than finding a bundle of cat5e cables with one set of ends in a cable closet/panel and the other ends in a cable closet/panel on a different floor. You can probably use them for a wide variety of devices... e.g. a 24 port 10/100 switch with a couple gigabit SC modules, leaving 1 pair of your cables for spare, or a 48-port 10/100/1000 switch with 2 or 3 10Gb SC modules (these would be limited to about 108'/33m, though).

What do you *want* to use them for?  :-)
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by:gettica
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RE: "At each end of the bundle, are the numbers in the '02394' position identical?  If not, what are they at each end?" I'm afraid I can only see the numbers upstairs.  If you can wait until tomorrow afternoon, I can see if I can get to the downstairs numbers...

I *want* to plug them into my TigerSwitch SMC8124PL2.  I'm afraid I know so very little about fiber optic!  
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by:Darr247
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Well, from SMC's website info it appears the only SFP transceivers they make for that model all take LC connectors.  Note that each SFP module used takes away one RJ45 port (port 23 and/or 24)... so if you use 2 modules you'll have only 22 wired ports left.

SMC1GSFP-SX - is the one they make for 62.5/125 multimode cable. Your switch can take 2 of those, if you need 2Gb of bandwidth between floors. Then you'll need an adapter such as http://www.cypressindustries.com/shoponline/proddetail.asp?prod=FAM2SCFLCM - (one for each transceiver you install).

I'm sure there are other brands of adapters, but $30 each seems reasonable to me, considering they have the 90-degree swivel, and that feature can come in handy making the cables fit where they need to be. If you have plenty of room on both sides and top/bottom of the SFP slots, you should be able to find adapters cheaper without the rotating joint.
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When I checked earlier those adapters said 'in stock' - now I see it says out of stock.
Here's an alternative - http://www.keenzo.com/showproduct.asp?M=TRIPP-LITE&ID=844974&ref=GB
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by:gettica
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Alright.  Follow-up question.  I've got a SMC1GSFP-SX single port 1000BASE-SX SFP transceiver with LC connection installed in my switch.  There are actually places for two ports, so I could get an additional one and, in conjunction with the gadget you suggested above, I'd be able to plug in 4 of those six fiber optic cables without losing a RJ45 port.  (Unless you're telling me that even if I don't have it plugged into a RJ45 port, the power gets diverted from ports 23 and 24 to power the fiber optic bits)

My question is: is it desirable to plug in more of the fiber optic connections?  Do I get better bandwidth?  Don't I have to check out which of the six fiber optic cables are plugged into the other switch downstairs?  It looks to me like the switch downstairs has only two cables plugged into it...?
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Darr247 earned 200 total points
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> There are actually places for two ports, so I could get an additional one
> and, in conjunction with the gadget you suggested above, I'd be able to
> plug in 4 of those six fiber optic cables without losing a RJ45 port.

You don't *have* to get an additional one at this time. You do need one of those adapters first, though. Using a SC to LC adapter you can connect 2 of them (1 send; 1 receive, so the opposite ends are connected to the opposite functions... e.g. send on first floor connects to receive on second floor, and vice-versa) to one of those modules and each module activated takes the place of one of the RJ45 ports in the switch. So you can *not* use *either* SFP module without losing a corresponding RJ45 port.


> (Unless you're telling me that even if I don't have it plugged into a RJ45 port,
> the power gets diverted from ports 23 and 24 to power the fiber optic bits)

I don't really understand what you're asking there.
When you use either SFP port, it takes the place of either port 23 or port 24 in the switch, rendering those RJ45 ports inactive. If you use both SFP ports, it renders inactive both RJ45 ports 23 and 24.

Are you asking if those RJ45 ports will still supply PoE power if you use the SFP ports? (I believe that answer would be 'no', but I'm not certain.) You can have an SFP module plugged in but if you're not actually using it you might not lose either port 23 or 24 on the RJ45 rows... without one of those switches to play with on my bench, I wouldn't trust the manual to be accurate on that.


> is it desirable to plug in more of the fiber optic connections?

If you need more bandwidth, that's an option. One of those SFP modules should theoretically be able to supply ten 100Mbps RJ45 connections with full bandwidth simultaneously, so using both of them should supply enough bandwidth for twenty simultaneous 100Mbps connections with full bandwidth, between floors... all 22 (or 23 or 24) should have full bandwidth between any other (on the same switch) whether you use any of the SFP ports or not. The SFP modules are just a way to supply reliable gigabit connectivity 5x as far as the 100m limit of cat5e/cat6. Between floors of a building, fiber's probably not *necessary* now, but when it was installed it might have been the *only* way to get reliable gigabit throughput (and don't forget, with different hardware you should be able to get 10Gbps through those fibers reliably).


> Do I get better bandwidth?

Better than what?
With that hardware it's *probably* no faster than cat5e... I was hoping the numbers in the '02394' position would tell me the installed length, but apparently that data's not available (and it may not be what those numbers are, anyway).


>  Don't I have to check out which of the six fiber optic cables are
> plugged into the other switch downstairs?

Yes... that would make a difference. Your original message didn't mention that they were not *all* connected downstairs. Are the protective rubber covers in place on the cables that aren't connected, btw?
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by:gettica
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Wow!  Lots of information!  
I haven't given up on numbers downstairs, but I'm afraid they are pretty inaccessible.  I'm going to guess that the cable is roughly 40' long.  Just a guess.  

I looked more closely at the box downstairs.  The orange fiber optic cable goes into the box, appears to get split into six component fiber optic wires.  (can I call them wires?).  The wires each appear to be connected to some sort of gadget?  connector?  that makes them SC female.  There's an SC (male) to LC (male) duplex cable coming out of that which will pop into my switch nicely.  But it does appear that there are four ports/wires that are not in use.  There are rubber caps on the ports.  

Sounds like I have to do some work to figure out which fiber wires are going to be used.  Thank you!
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by:Darr247
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OK... if only 40 feet in length, they would easily support 10Gb too.

But SMC doesn't make any 10Gb multimode SFP modules... all of their 10Gb modules are about twice that wide (GBIC, I think they call them). So you would need different hardware (whether that's more SMC or another brand) to get 10Gb out of each pair, but that should be do-able if it's ever decided that much bandwidth is required between floors.
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