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Arista Networks, Data center, Cisco Systems, Juniper Networks, Network switch Episode 9: MSA Compliant Cables in the Data Center

The high speed product manager at the siemens company it’s my pleasure to welcome you to the next episode of our corporate podcast network connections. The podcast about ict networks presented by siemens Music today on our show i’m pleased to be joined by ryan harris our high speed application expert and rob high speed development engineer together, we’re going to talk about msa cables versus oem cables, uh ryan to get us started. I was wondering if we could address a common question that gets asked of us. Do i need to use an oem cable from the active equipment manufacturer that i’m purchasing equipment from you know that that’s a good question, john and it’s, a question that comes up a lot? You know the answer. Is you have options? I see customers that use the oem cables and i also see a lot of customers that use msa industry standard cables like ethernet standard cables, for example, and so there’s. You know there’s a mix out there, and but you have options of of either those cable types. Okay, so i think this is an important point, but i think we need to define what is an msa compliant ethernet cable. So an msa is an agreement with multiple vendors, so the equipment can work together in an ecosystem. Ethernet is a large ecosystem of networking equipment. Vendors, like cisco, arista, juniper and more and ethernet cables are programmed to work on all industry standard equipment, basically making them the easy button for selecting high speed, interconnects uh in your data center.

Okay. So what you’re saying that it is easier to have one type of cable that works with multiple types of active equipment? Do you usually see switches and servers being different from different manufacturers? The industry standard cables are used on switches servers, nick cards they’re also the msa. Also covers some operating systems as well. In addition to them working, they also have a better price and you get more available options like colors and half meter lengths. So that way you can order the the right cable for your data center application. Okay, so rob! Could you tell us a little bit about what is different about an oem cable versus an msa, compliant cable, yeah? Well, uh, mechanically speaking, oem and msa cables are identical, uh same form, factors same mechanical test parameters, um then electrically speaking, the only like signal, integrity, wise they’re, the exact same. The only difference is in what’s called an eprom which has different values, whether it’s just an oem, cable or an msa compliant cable. So within the eeprom there are several different registers. Each of those registers have information in them and typically the active equipment looks in those registers to see who manufactured the cable, and sometimes there is a vendor lockout. Have you seen this before ryan? I have seen vendor lock so usually whenever i have a customer that asks if the cables are going to work, i suggest trying out a sample, and so we send samples on a regular basis for customers to check out ahead of time to make sure that the Cables work so you hand out a lot of samples, um yeah, i think it’s important.

The samples you know, help the customer and feeling confident and what they’re going to buy and when they show up, they have really high quality. And so you know the samples are. Are great at selling themselves? How long does a customer typically qualify the system with your our cables? Uh? It really depends on the customer, so it could be. You know plug it in and run it for you know a day or two i’ve had other customers where i send them a cable, and you know three months or six months later they tell me that they finished their testing and they’re ready to proceed with. You know their their deployment, so you know it could be. You know, days weeks months, um it’s, all it’s all different, but you know all of our customers like to test the cables rob. What is the main standard used to ensure that cables and active equipment mechanically latch, um, mechanically latch for sfp plus and sfp 28 there’s, an sff standard called sff 8432, and that defines everything about the sfp? The position of the triangular retention post, the just the width of the connector, the height length, where the pcb needs to be placed in order for the actual the edge card connects into the connector sff 8432, is the bible of sf of the sfp okay, so that’s. The way it gets done for both the 10 gig and the 25 gig sfps, but how about the 40 gig and 100 gig qsfp connectors? Yes, you have pretty much another sff document and i believe that is sff 8661.

That has almost all of the same things. Width height, where exactly the pull latch needs to be in order for it to actually mate into the cage. Yeah excellent, well, that’s, all for today’s episode of network connections presented by the semen company. Thank you for listening. Thank you. Ryan rob make sure everyone listening subscribes to the siemen company youtube channel. So you never miss another episode. Future episodes will continue to feature subject matter experts that will deliver valuable insight into the ict industry from all of us here at the sema company. We hope you and your family stay safe and healthy during these times, and we will see you next time.

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