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Top of Rack Connections

The Top of Rack design has at least one switch located in each rack and the servers within the rack typically connect to the switch via copper cables. The advantage of the Top of Rack design is that all copper cabling for servers stays within the rack. The switches then use fiber to link the rack to the data center network with fiber running directly from the rack to a common aggregation area . See the figure below from Cisco.

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    The use of fiber facilitates greater flexibility in selecting the physical location of the network equipment and it enables easily supports future upgrades to 40 or 100G.

    Each rack can be treated and managed like an individual unit within the data center, allowing easy change out and/or upgrade of the servers technology rack-by-rack. Any network upgrades or issues with the rack switches will generally only affect the servers within that rack, not an entire row of servers.



TOR Connections

Technology and Media

Technology Rate (bits/sec) Rate (bytes/sec) Media
Fast Ethernet 100BASE-X 100 Mb/s 12.5 MB/s Cat 5e or higher
Gigabit Ethernet 1000BASE-X 1000 Mb/s 125 MB/s Cat 6/6A, Cat 7/7A, LC Fiber SFP twinax and transceivers
10 Gigabit Ethernet 10GBASE-X 10 Gb/s 1250 MB/s Cat 6A/7/7A, LC Fiber, SFP+ twinax and transceivers
40 Gigabit Ethernet 40GBASE-X 40 Gb/s 5000 MB/s MPO/MTP Fiber, QSFP+ twinax and transceivers

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