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Fiber Optic cable and switches selection

Posted on 2011-03-21
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I know close to nothing about fiber optic cable and networks. I know a decent amount about copper networks.

I need to setup a Fiber network over a large area and outdoors.

We have a 10 ancre apartment complex that we currently have analog security cameras on and we are looking to upgrade to IP based cameras.

I need giga bit plus ability (a cable that will support faster than 1 gigabit switches in the future) in order to support a large number of cameras.

I also need it to be weather proof since this will be run on roof tops.
At certain points this will be arially suspended.
So cable with a messenger would be nice but I can always come up with my own suspension system to support the wire.

The switches will need a fiber uplink and down link port  (or at least they will be used that way) the rest can be rj-45 ports.

In other words the switches will be connected to each other via fiber, and to the cameras via copper.

I dont need more than 8 ports on each switch.

Can you please recommend a cable and switches for me to use, and a termination method.
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Question by:beatified
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Jody Lemoine earned 250 total points
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It depends greatly on how you want to lay out the network, but as long as you're not going over half a kilometre in a single run, you can run 1Gb Ethernet on 50 µm OM3 multimode fibre.  This cable can be used with 10Gb Ethernet, but the range decreases to 300m, so make sure your individual runs don't go over this distance.

Any switch with a pair of SFP interfaces will be able to accept the fibre connectivity as long as 1000BaseSX SFP transceivers are purchased with the unit.  Upgrading to 10Gb Ethernet down the road will definitely require the purchase of new switches and transceivers though.  Examples of 8-port switches with PoE (I'm assuming you need this if you're running cameras), 1Gb Ethernet uplinks and SFP interfaces are: Cisco Small Business SFE1000P, Netgear GS110TP, HP Procurve E2520-8-PoE Switch (J9137A) and others.

Aerial multimode can be done with a messenger or with self-supporting fibre optic cabling, so you're on the right track there.
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by:jostafew
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Netgear's SmartSwitch and ProSafe line offer great value and have ports for use with interchangeable fiber modules. We've got different models from this line is use at a couple of our sites with fiber between them. We happen to be using the AGM731F 1000BASE-SX Fiber SFP GBIC modules; they've been in place for a few years now and have performed flawlessly.

Forgive me if this is too basic but I should mention that while you or I can easily terminate cat5 with an RJ45 connector it takes training and special equipment to terminate fiber.

I would suggest getting in touch with a good tradesperson on selecting the actual fiber and termination method to run as they will have a feel as to where the industry is going (especially in your area). Just be sure to match the terminator to an available fiber module format. Once the fiber is run it will be capable of capacities greater than 1Gbps for certain, it's just the technology on either end of the fiber that will make the diff.
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by:beatified
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Thanks for reading my question and taking the time to answer. Can you please tell me more about the cable I should use single mode or multi mode how many strands and hopefully a little about why to choose that type of cable. And finally I have seen two different methods of termination one much easier than the other. One required polishing (hard method) and the other just breaking it properly and putting a connector on. Which should I use, or is there another method?
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by:IanTh
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you can get 10gbe 10GBASE-SR which is a 10gbe fibre connection now and I would check if they can be used in a standarad sfp port on a gs110tp for instance

I wouldn't think you need to go for 10gbe switches yet as most ip camera's dont even use gigabit ethernet yet
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by:beatified
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Maybe even a few examples of cable brand and model.
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by:Jody Lemoine
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Single-mode versus multi-mode depends largely on the distance you require.  Single mode enables longer distances but is more expensive to build a complete solution on.  Multi mode is for shorter ranges and is more economical overall.  If you need runs greater than 300m (10Gb) or 500m (1Gb) then you need single mode.  Otherwise, stick to multi mode.  As far as termination is concerned,  you'll need connectors to plug into the SFP sockets, but this is usually done with patches from a patch-panel type of termination.  I agree 100% with jostafew about getting an experienced professional to come in and do the cabling and termination.  I've been doing this for close to 20 years and, while I'll do my own CAT5/CAT5e cabling, I won't touch the actual cabling and termination of fibre myself.
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by:Jody Lemoine
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As long as you're meeting OM3 specifications, just about any vendor will do.
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by:steveoskh
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My experience with fiber is limited.  I know enough to know that it is not amateur hour and I need outside expertise for my use of fiber.   We use a local BICSI certified installer that does great work.

Be careful over buying capacity now for possible future needs.  A switch that can handle 10g will be much more expensive than a gig switch.  Just changing fiber types on the switch module can have a huge impact on cost.  As prices drop it is possible you will save more by waiting than what you throw away to replace the switches.

If you are not married to Cisco, I would recommend checking out HP Procurve.  Lower cost up front, no charge for firmware and lifetime equipment replacement.  They also had a free network design service HP Network Design Service
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by:beatified
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Thanks everyone. Yeah my plan is to keep it Gb for now and just have the possibility of 10 Gb later. I will check all that you have thrown at me. Thanks again.
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by:beatified
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Oh yeah can someone please comment on how many strands I should be looking at getting in a cable?
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by:Jody Lemoine
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Two strands per run is the minimum required. I would do six per run for redundancy.
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by:steveoskh
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Similar to running extra copper cables it is just insurance against future need.
If you are going to to have multiple switches  i.e.,  Switch A  --fiber-- Switch B ---fiber-- Switch C
having extra strands allows Switch A to connect directly to Switch C  and eliminates B from the path.

Good luck with your project.  It sounds like a fun one.

FWIW.  Years ago I was at a conference on IP cameras.  The comment that stood out to me was
"An IP Camera project is usually not a security or camera project.  It will be a storage project or a networking project"  His point was only 10-20% of the time and cost will be for the cameras.
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by:BudDurland
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If you haven't invested any money yet, I strongly recommend you find out more about FireTide radio mesh networks (http://www.firetide.com/).  We used them at a 40 acre marina were i used to work, and supported about 20 hi-res IP cameras, several PC's in different buildings and about 45-50 boaters using WiFi.  The mesh network itself is not WiFi; it's a multi-point/node radio network.  
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by:beatified
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Thanks for the giving me an option but the speeds talked about on there site are not fast enough for me. We will have higher res cameras than most (5 and 8 Mega pixle) as well as the normal 1.3 cameras we can quickly reach the limit of a fast wireless network we need gigabit to begin. We have 32 cameras and about 6 of them are 5+ Mega pixles.
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