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The Network Equipment Solutions Blog

2 Lifesaving Steps For Forcing Cisco Switches To Use 3rd Party SFPs

Posted by John Ciarlone on Oct 23, 2014 6:00:00 AM

If you use Cisco switches, it's no secret that their hardware is some of the most expensive on the market.  In many cases, this is justified, but it still leaves Cisco users looking for ways to reduce their spend on hardware.  

One of the most obvious ways to do this is through the use of third-party optical transceivers.  Small-Form Pluggable (SFP) transceivers are designed so that a single Cisco router can accept a multitude of standard plugs, especially ones from the various optical formats on the market.  In most cases, they're even plug-and-play without needing a reboot.

When adding new Cisco switches, these can be a serious money-saver.

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Topics: Cisco Optics, Cisco Compatible Optics, Cisco Switches

Exposing The Myth Of Tiered Optical Transceiver Component Suppliers

Posted by John Ciarlone on Oct 22, 2014 6:00:00 AM

If anyone has told you there are "Tiers" in optical transceiver quality, you've been misinformed.

Optical transceivers are real workhorses in the world of modern business networks.  These small plug-in devices are used in most brands of switches and controllers - most notably Cisco - and allow them to accept a far wider range of cable and fiber types than the switch could ever natively support. 

If your switch has an SFP (Small-Form Pluggable) port, then it can be swapped out at will whenever you have a need for a new type of fiber run or distance.  These ports are usually also plug-and-play, so that rebooting isn't necessary.

Sadly, some manufacturers want to nickle-and-dime you for their own matching brand of SFP transceivers, to the tune of hundreds of dollars, when realistically the components cost roughly 1/10th their list prices.  To convince people to buy from them, rather than third-parties, they then engage in the age-old art of FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt.

Companies like Cisco would desperately like you to believe that third-party transceivers are dangerous, or low quality, but it's simply not the case.

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Topics: Cisco Optics, Cisco Compatible Optics, Juniper Compatible Optics

How To Deal With The Cisco Unsupported Transceiver Error

Posted by John Ciarlone on Oct 21, 2014 6:00:00 AM

These days, most businesses understand that networking equipment is largely standardized and interchangeable.  While there may be certain benefits to sticking solely on one brand, by and large one network component is expected to be able to connect to components from other brands.

There's an unfortunate exception to this, one which leads to people paying far too much for an "official branded" version of a very simple piece of hardware: the basic Small-Form Plugable (SFP) optical transceiver.  

Unfortunately, owners of Cisco Catalyst switches are discovering that they aren't "supposed to" use any SFPs except those made by Cisco.  Attempting to use a third-party SFP results in an UNSUPPORTED_TRANSCEIVER error.

The good news is, there's a very simple workaround.

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Topics: Transceivers, Cisco Optics, Cisco Switches

Which Networks Work Best On Single Mode Fiber Optic Cable?

Posted by John Ciarlone on Oct 16, 2014 6:02:00 AM

So in our last blog, we discussed Multi-Mode fiber-optic cabling and its most typical deployment uses. To summarize, Multi-Mode is best deployed on a local basis, as either the network backbone or in providing extremely high-speed connections directly to workers.  Its high-speed data transmission properties limit its ability to transmit across long distances.

Single-Mode has the opposite issue.  It's perfect for long-distance transmission, but will generally struggle in local deployments.  Further, it's also significantly more expensive than Multi-Mode, especially if you want to see the same speeds as you would from Multi-Mode.

So, let's see what makes Single-Mode different from Multi-Mode.

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Topics: Transceivers, Cisco Optics, Cisco Compatible Optics, Juniper Compatible Optics

When Is It Best To Use Multimode Fiber Optic Cable?

Posted by John Ciarlone on Oct 15, 2014 6:03:00 AM

When a company is investigating an upgrade to a fiber-optic network, one of the most basic questions to answer is "which kind of fiber do I need to use?"  There are two major kinds of fiber-optic cabling: Single-Mode and Multi-Mode.

While it's not impossible to get the two types to interact with the right transceivers and intermediate hardware, there's significant signal loss involved in the transition and, therefore, much higher power requirements to re-boost it.  It's best to simply lay the kind of fiber that best meets your needs.

Today, we'll take a look at Multimode fiber optic cable, and the uses it's put to. Tomorrow, we'll examine Single-Mode in more depth.

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Topics: Transceivers, Cisco Optics, Cisco Compatible Optics, Juniper Compatible Optics, Switches

7 Free Tools For Troubleshooting Your WiFi Network Problems

Posted by John Ciarlone on Oct 14, 2014 6:00:00 AM

Even though you're on a service contract, it's sometimes a lot quicker and easier to fix a basic problem yourself. 

There are a multitude of tools out there which can assist even inexperienced IT employees in doing basic WiFi network troubleshooting.  After all, even with a high-tech automated network, it's going down if someone kicks the wrong cable.  Being able to spot simple and common issues will help you get past any hiccups in your day-to-day network operations.

So, here's our quick guide to some of the best - and most affordable - tools to help you identify and correct commonplace problems with your network.

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Topics: Wi-Fi Signal Strength, Secure Wi-Fi Solutions

Meet Hotel Guest WiFi Needs or Lose Repeat Business: Your Choice

Posted by John Ciarlone on Oct 9, 2014 6:00:00 AM

Is your poor hotel guest WiFi driving business away?  A new study from Netgear suggests it's more likely than you might think.

Earlier this year, Netgear conducted a study of hospitality businesses and their guests about WiFi Internet.  Their results showed a clear disconnect between... 

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Topics: Secure Wireless Network, Deploying IT Equipment Correctly, Wi-Fi Signal Strength

3X Faster WiFi Speeds? It's Closer Than You Think

Posted by John Ciarlone on Oct 8, 2014 6:00:00 AM

Have you started looking towards WiGig WiFi speeds yet?  802.11ac is nice, but 802.11ad is going to blow it out of the water in terms of speeds.

802.11ad, also called WiGig, is the next generation of networking hardware, and it's scheduled to first come out next year.   It's big selling point will undoubtedly be the pure, raw speed it can achieve.   The slowest WiGig access points will be as fast as the best 802.11ac APs, with thoughput starting around 7Gbps.  Expected speeds later on will likely top 25+Gbps.  100Gbps is even theoretically achievable with more antennas.

That means transferring a high-def movie in a matter of seconds, rather than minutes, even on low-end WiGig hardware.

Should you be looking ahead to WiGig rather than upgrading this year?  Well, it's not clear cut, and there are issues with WiGig that may deter companies from investing.  Let's take a look.

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Topics: Wireless Access Points, Secure Wireless Network

Is It Cost Effective To Upgrade My Current Phone System To VoIP?

Posted by John Ciarlone on Oct 7, 2014 6:00:00 AM

We'll be honest:  At this point, if you're still primarily using old copper-wire phone service for your business phone system, you're missing out on most of the current telecommunications innovations.

Ma Bell had a good run but, after a century, we've finally invented something better than copper for voice communications, and that's VoIP.  By moving voice services off of its own network, and combining it with your overall data system, you can open up a world of data-based telecommunications services which simply cannot be implemented effectively on copper.

On top of that, VoIP is far less expensive for everyday calling than the old telcos.  The fees are usually a flat rate per user, per month, and low enough that just a handful of long distance calls will justify the spend.  In companies with high call volumes, or dedicated inbound "1-800-" lines, the cost savings from VoIP can be absolutely tremendous:  50% of your communications costs or more.

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Topics: VoIP, Phone Systems

How To Choose In-House vs. Outsourced Hotel WiFi Management

Posted by John Ciarlone on Oct 2, 2014 6:00:00 AM

Businesses today have more choices in implementing networks and WiFi than ever before. In fact, unlike years past, an operation doesn't even necessarily have to do any administration of its own network. Outsourced providers can theoretically manage all aspects of your network.

For a busy hotel or other hospitality operation, this makes an attractive proposition. After all, your job is running a hotel and keeping your guests pampered – why should an employee have to waste their time messing with the network when someone else can handle it?

That said, there are of course trade offs to be made, and this may not be the best networking path for every hotel. Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons.

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Topics: Secure Wi-Fi Solutions

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