100G Network Howto

by Andrew G. Watters, Esq.


Safety first.

So yes, I decided to go with a 100 gig LAN in my new office, just because I can. This is my first fiber optic project and it's turning out great. The old tutorial from 2019 was at my prior location, and this new one is at my new suite in the same building.

Cable selection

I went with the highest quality option, which is Corning plenum-rated single mode fiber in a six-stranded configuration. That way I have two pairs to each endpoint and one extra pair for future use. Overkill for most people, but I want to ensure the highest speeds and best transmission for a video-intensive project that I'm working on.

Pulling Cable

This was the hard part. The old walls don't have conduit in them, so I was running around with different methods trying to figure out how to get the cable pulled through essentially an empty space. There are literally holes in the wall above the ceiling, and boxes at the bottom, with no strings or other means of running the cable-- at least in the old walls.

In the new wall I believe I saw a string for pulling cable, and I assume there is conduit, but that doesn't help me when my priority is my desktop computer in my office and that box seemed impossible to pull wire into. I tried running new conduit, but it seemed to be going sideways into empty space. I also managed to get the new conduit stuck in the wall.

I tried running just the fiber, but it was getting caught on something. I tried just fish tape (metal wire for pulling cables), but it got caught on the electrical conduit for the next box over and I barely got it out. The solution ended up being very simple: I took a fishing weight and some fishing line, and I simply lowered the weight through the space directly above the box. Here I have the first cable coming out of the wall box. Success!

Terminating Connectors

Terminating LC connectors on single mode fiber (SMF) is honestly beyond my capability. These are high-precision connectors and I don't want to waste a bunch of effort only to have non-functional connectors. So I am bringing in a cabling contractor to terminate the LC connectors. Should be done this coming week (October 18-22, 2021).

Router and Switch Selection

Obviously, there are a lot of 100G router and switch options. My internet is a 1G fiber connection from Cogent, so I don't care about the uplink port. What I care about is the LAN. I tentatively selected the Cisco Catalyst 9500 series, which offers a combination of 100G and 10/25/40G ports. I need 100G from my workstation to the IT closet, and everyone else can have 10G I think. So the Catalyst is an excellent solution, assuming they will sell it to little old me (lol).

Performance

To be determined.

Cost

1000 feet of top quality fiber optic cable: $330

Tools and accessories: $200

48 LC connectors and termination services: $4,000

Cisco Catalyst 9500 switch: $20,000 (est.)

Total: $24,530 (est.)

The Verdict

Coming soon.

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© 2021 Andrew G. Watters

Last updated: October 17, 2021 07:13:27