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I'm going fiber - Page 1

It's a good thing I keep track of people I used to work with.
One of my friends knew a friend who heard that the place they worked at was getting rid of some short lengths of Mixed end fiber optic cable.
A week, one photo and a quarter tank of gas later I made arrangements to pick up what appears to be several (more than 15) 20 foot lengths of SC-ST, SC-SC and ST-ST cable next Wednesday.
Since hubs, transceivers and cards are getting cheaper (and since almost all my computers are in the same part of the house) I thought it might be nice to finally upgrade from my tangle of 10Mbit BNC ThinNet, 10Mbit CAT 5e, 100Mbit CAT 5e, AppleTalk and Token Ring to just Token ring (so I can network my old AIX 1.3 box) and Fiber.
The cables I am getting should cover most of my computer room however I'm not going to get all the systems. So far, it will look like I will need seven PCI fiber cards and seven AUI fiber transceivers. If I get a fiber card for the Onyx and the Indy we can take out two transceivers. If I can find two Sbus Fiber cards for the SUN systems, I can take out two more transceivers.
The only systems that I don't think I can network are my macs (both PCI and NuBus) and my Intel (white box) NeXTStep 3.3 system.

The only items I currently have that are related to fiber are two FORE ATM cards for the Crimson and Onyx and a card installed in my Indigo. What do you think?
:Crimson: :Onyx: :O2000: :O200: :O200: :PI: :PI: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Octane: :O2: :1600SW: :Indigo2: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: :Indy: :Indy: :Cube:

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pentium wrote: so I can network my old AIX 1.3 box


Cool, you got it going. :)
Land of the Long White Cloud and no Software Patents.
Cool, you got it going.

Yeah, one of the floppy images kept getting corrupt so I had to use that alternative.
Bummer I only have a 160Mb ESDI drive and nothing else to control a drive with. I can't load all the software.
I might like to see if I can load everything to tape though.
:Crimson: :Onyx: :O2000: :O200: :O200: :PI: :PI: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Octane: :O2: :1600SW: :Indigo2: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: :Indy: :Indy: :Cube:

Image <-------- A very happy forum member.
pentium wrote: I thought it might be nice to finally upgrade from my tangle of 10Mbit BNC ThinNet, 10Mbit CAT 5e, 100Mbit CAT 5e, AppleTalk and Token Ring to just Token ring (so I can network my old AIX 1.3 box) and Fiber.

So, essentially you want to run regular ethernet using fiber as a medium instead of e.g. cat5 cable, using transceivers or SX cards. Usually people do that when they need to cross long distances (> 100m) but I understand the coolness factor.

pentium wrote: The only items I currently have that are related to fiber are two FORE ATM cards for the Crimson and Onyx and a card installed in my Indigo.

I hope you're not mixing up ethernet over fiber (using transceivers), FDDI and ATM. They all use more or less the same medium (fiber) but the protocol layer is of course totally incompatible so you can't mix them.

pentium wrote: What do you think?

I agree with you that it is a good idea to standardize on as little network media as possible. Personally, I'm using cat 5e for ethernet wiring (with AUI-RJ45 media converters where needed), and FDDI for systems for which fast ethernet adapters don't exist (SGI '4D'), are of poor quality (Onyx), or hard to find (Indigo/Indy/Indigo2).

You can buy a fan-less 16port gigabit ethernet switch, that consumes only 8W, fairly cheap, but an equivalent 1000base SX switch will be loud, big and power hungry. This becomes annoying if you run it 24/7. There is a reason these things don't have a lot of value in the second hand market ;)
To accentuate the special identity of the IRIS 4D/70, Silicon Graphics' designers selected a new color palette. The machine's coating blends dark grey, raspberry and beige colors into a pleasing harmony. ( IRIS 4D/70 Superworkstation Technical Report )
I hope you're not mixing up ethernet over fiber (using transceivers), FDDI and ATM. They all use more or less the same medium (fiber) but the protocol layer is of course totally incompatible so you can't mix them.

Oh, I know I can't use the FORE cards. I'm just going to pray that the card in the Indigo operates on the right protocol however I have a feeling it is FDDI (two ports on it).
:Crimson: :Onyx: :O2000: :O200: :O200: :PI: :PI: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Octane: :O2: :1600SW: :Indigo2: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: :Indy: :Indy: :Cube:

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Honestly, I think its cool, but kinda insane. I briefly thought about doing something similar as I have a stack of 2Gbit SFPs leftover from work and a bunch of PCIX fiber cards which are supported under IRIX/Linux/BSD. The main thing which stopped me is that electricity here is very expensive and a full-fledged computer (as a gateway/ firewall/ web server), with a fibre switch and wireless access point consumes a whole lot more energy than my WRT54GS. The heat/ noise factored in there a bit as well.

I know your network has had issues, but trying to "standardized" on fibre is a bit of an oxymoron. Fibre is a very proprietary media and without long distances, it offers little benefit to gigabit often at much higher cost.

I know it lacks the cool factor, but if I were you I'd sell a good portion of that fibre and purchase a good 16-24 port 10/100/1000 fanless gigabit switch with a 1000ft spool of CAT6, a crimper, and bag of RJ45 connectors and maybe some 100Mbit network cards. Ideally you can use expansion cards to make your 10Base2 machines into 10Base-T ones but media convererts do exist and are cheaper than ones to fibre.
So what you are attempting to tell me is that the drawbacks to fiber is the power the switch takes and it's rather proprietary.
The thing here is that electricity is cheaper where I live network cable is horrendously expensive here (copper is like gold right now) and if Five meters of fiber costs less than fifteen feet of regular CAT 5e/6e after taxes I really think it would be nice.
To me, the only expensive parts are the cards, and the switch. ST AUI transceivers, while slow are incredibly cheap these days.
:Crimson: :Onyx: :O2000: :O200: :O200: :PI: :PI: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Octane: :O2: :1600SW: :Indigo2: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: :Indy: :Indy: :Cube:

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Or you could sell or trade the fibre cables to get enough cat 5. Not to mention it'd save you the cost of the cards, switch and transceivers <you could probably buy the cat 5 for just the cost of shipping on those items>.
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pentium wrote: The thing here is that electricity is cheaper where I live network cable is horrendously expensive here (copper is like gold right now)


Technically copper is fool's gold. :)

Remember that you buy a cable once but continually buy electricity. Unless you have your own hydroelectric dam and generator, electricity prices will go in one direction only.
Land of the Long White Cloud and no Software Patents.
Have any LC-LC? I'll trade a bunch of roughly 1000ft CAT6 lengths for a few LC-LCs. We're actually in the process (we'll its somewhat constant since we routinely add new machines) of adding new cables for the research clusters. University IT gave us all the leftover cable they were going to throw out a few months ago and we have more than we'll ever need. I'm sure I could get more very easily as they are horribly wasteful. I can't find any links for anyplace that sells bulk cable like that, but it comes in on trucks via 5ft high plywood spools.

Anyway... sorry to be a downer.

Fibre is cool and can be fun to play with. I liked getting to use 2Gbit links between our main cluster switches at work. However, while all was fun with the same model Linksys switches, trying to get them to interface with the University's Cisco gear was absolute hell. I'm not saying get rid of all the fibre, a single high speed link between two machines like your main workstation and fireserver is fine. Just realize its not something really possible to make a full home network out of without a lot of pain and money.

Also, the sole benefit of using fibre at work besides uping our headroom (we haven't yet maxed out gigabit) was to decrease latency, which it did for longer hops on the network by roughly 60%.
I don't think there is any LC cables in the pile.
Well, I guess I'll stick with what I got then but I still strongly think that it would be better than what I am living with now.
:Crimson: :Onyx: :O2000: :O200: :O200: :PI: :PI: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Octane: :O2: :1600SW: :Indigo2: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: :Indy: :Indy: :Cube:

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:roll:
Fiber NICS a more expensive.
Switches are more expensive.
And as Jan said, switches will also be hot and noisy.

And you will always have a few computers that you have to run with copper, that means tou gave to have a switch for that aswell, or a converter.

Paying for all the extra equipment will eat up the savings from the free fiber.

//deBug
Mein F├╝hrer, I can walk!
Sometimes using FDDI is just the fun of using some 'used-to-be-very-expensive' equipment :)

Mine still needs to be set up (starting on my hobbyroom will be my newyears' resolution ;) ).
The concentrator i use will draw about 100W, it has two hot-swap cards installed (one FDDI, one ethernet), and will connect 4 systems via FDDI master ports, bridge to its ethernet card, which uses FOIRL (ethernet protocol over fiber) to connect to my switch...said ethernet card is '92 vintage and therefore only 10Mbit though :roll:

Basically they'll chat pretty fast among themselves, connecting to the rest of their UTP-equipped fellas is kinda slow.

Smart? No. Sensible? No. Fun 'n Cool? Hell yeah! I mean....just look at all those blinking lights! :D
-= I reject reality, and substitute my own =-

1 Indigo R3k-33 32MB XS24-Z;
1 Indy R5k-180 256MB XZ;
1 Indy R4k-175 64MB XL;
2 Indigo2 R10k-195 512MB MaxImpact;
2 Indigo2 R4k-200 256MB (XL+Extreme);
2 Octane Dual R12K-300 1024MB (MXI+V6).
UrbanHero wrote: I mean....just look at all those blinking lights! :D

Get yourself a PowerSeries VGX and run it with the front panel open -- definitely up there with the 1960's James Bond movies ;-)
To accentuate the special identity of the IRIS 4D/70, Silicon Graphics' designers selected a new color palette. The machine's coating blends dark grey, raspberry and beige colors into a pleasing harmony. ( IRIS 4D/70 Superworkstation Technical Report )
I picked them up today.with the exception of one cable, they are all 20 foot SC to ST cables and a quick check shows that none of them have damage to their fiber core (at least no real breakage). Unfortunately only a few came with dust caps.

EDIT: Not only did it arrive fast but it was also installed fast. In less than an hour I had strung sixteen lengths of fiber to almost every computer I own so at the very least I am fiber ready however if I were to go completely Fiber I would need the following:

8 x AUI ST Fiber transceivers
8 X AUI extension leads (6" extension cord that allows me to move the transceiver around)
1 x AAUI ST fiber transceiver (I know where to get one too)
2 x ST Fiber PCI network cards (capable of at least 100Mb/s)
1 x SC Fiber PCI network card (capable of at least 100Mb/s)
1 x 16 port SC fiber switch (the most expansive part)

That would amount to approximately $100 which really seems not much more of an improvement over the cost of Copper gigabit.

And as Jan said, switches will also be hot and noisy.

Useless to mention but what the heck.
My server/router room is both air chilled (draws air through underground pipe which keeps the room at a nice 10 degrees) and it's encased in a styrofoam shell that quiets down the Proliant server quite nicely (sister's bedroom is next to the server room and she ca barely hear it).
In other words, my server/router room is an old concrete floor/insulated wall root cellar.
:Crimson: :Onyx: :O2000: :O200: :O200: :PI: :PI: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Octane: :O2: :1600SW: :Indigo2: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: :Indy: :Indy: :Cube:

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Okay then, what specifically should I be looking for?
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pentium wrote: Okay then, what specifically should I be looking for?


1) Read The Practical Guide to FDDI . All of it.

2) Search eBay for a concentrator like the Cisco WS-C1100 or WSC-1400 mentioned.

Be sure to buy one with the FDDI boards installed and not an empty chassis. Buy one with optical (MIC) connectors, if it looks like RJ45 it's CDDI (the copper flavour of FDDI) and it won't work with your SGI's.

With a little patience you should be able to pick one up for $25. Someone offered me three loaded ones for $50 some time ago but shipping was killer.

Oh, and those Cisco's don't have an ethernet port. But a Linux PC with an ethernet and an FDDI card makes an excellent router. At least, that's how I did it.
To accentuate the special identity of the IRIS 4D/70, Silicon Graphics' designers selected a new color palette. The machine's coating blends dark grey, raspberry and beige colors into a pleasing harmony. ( IRIS 4D/70 Superworkstation Technical Report )
jan-jaap wrote: Oh, and those Cisco's don't have an ethernet port. But a Linux PC with an ethernet and an FDDI card makes an excellent router. At least, that's how I did it.

Do they make an FDDI network module for the 3640 ?
Oh dear, this is getting a bit out of hand.
I just assumed that so long as I stuck to the ethernet protocol while using fiber I would be fine.
I was wrong...very wrong.
so, what you are telling me is that switching to fiber will not be as easy as getting cards for all my systems, getting all the cable and purchasing a metal box that turns an optical connection into something that I can plug into my Linksys WRT54G into?
:Crimson: :Onyx: :O2000: :O200: :O200: :PI: :PI: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Indigo: :Octane: :O2: :1600SW: :Indigo2: :Indigo2: :Indigo2IMP: :Indigo2IMP: :Indy: :Indy: :Indy: :Cube:

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pentium wrote: Oh dear, this is getting a bit out of hand.
I just assumed that so long as I stuck to the ethernet protocol while using fiber I would be fine.


FDDI and optical fibre fast ethernet are not the same thing.

To quote a wise man on the first page of this thread:

jan-jaap wrote: I hope you're not mixing up ethernet over fiber (using transceivers), FDDI and ATM. They all use more or less the same medium (fiber) but the protocol layer is of course totally incompatible so you can't mix them.
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