Connecting Cabling Between Devices

By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2002-05-15 Print this article Print

We are now ready to connect the cabling between devices. There are a few different types of fibre cables (see table below). Your selection should depend primarily on your distance and throughput needs. It is extremely important to remember that devices are designed to work with specific cables. Plugging a short wave cable into a switch designed for long wave WILL toast your device.
Fibre Color Diameter Distance
Single Mode (long wave) Yellow 9 microns 2 m - 10 Km
Multimode (short wave) Orange 50 microns 2 m - 500 m
Multimode (short wave) Orange 62.5 microns 2 m - 300 m
For our demonstration, we used a 62.5 micron multimode cable with ST connectors (see image on right below). Keep in mind that there are two primary types of fibre connectors: ST and SC. The ST connector is quickly gaining acceptance from product vendors, but many SC connections still exist. Be aware of your device connection types before making your cable purchase. Many devices allow you to purchase hotswappable GBICs to change the connection, or you can also purchase hybrid cables (see below left) to accommodate both connection types. Each type connector is keyed to make proper insertion a snap.
Multi-mode fibre cable with
both SC and ST connections.  
    Multi-mode fibre cable
with ST connectors only.
Note in the cable on the left the ST connector is on top, and the SC connector is on the bottom. With the physical connection between our server and our storage device (see below) established, we need to define the network architecture for our HBA in order to establish link. This step varies according to HBA vendor, where vendors provide an assortment of Windows, DOS, or BIOS-level applications to perform architecture configuration commands. For our demonstration, Emulex provides a handy Windows application. Emulex
Fibre Channel RAID and Tape Library units can be shared on a SAN.
Overland Data Incs LXN2000 tape library (left image above) has an optional Fibre Channel connector that we used to hook into our SAN. Hitachi Data Systems Thunder storage array (above right image) has Fibre Channel ports and it provides the shared storage for our SAN. Fibre Channel switches

Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at

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