How to Build a 10GbE Network for a Small to Mid-Sized Business

The 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) standard, IEEE Standard 802.3ae, was formally ratified in 2002. This ratification saw the immediate deployment of 10GbE by larger corporations in their data centers and server farms in order to create support required for higher-bandwidth and mission-critical applications. Since then, 10GbE technology improvements have seen its performance rise and price fall to within reach of small to medium organizations.

QNAP built-in 10GbE products

Some of the reasons why SMBs should consider updating to 10GbE networks include increased use of voice and video over IP applications. In addition, most modern PCs are fitted with 1GbE network connections that place a great strain on business networks. Furthermore, the arrival of Internet of Things (IoT) means businesses will have to deal with millions of data packets from the connected sensors and devices.

Lastly, server virtualization makes it possible for a business to run multiple applications on fewer servers, saving money in terms of equipment infrastructure. Deploying 10GbE equipment makes it possible for a business to multiply its network output. When building your 10GbE network, use the following components.

Storage Systems

A Network Attached Storage (NAS) device connects directly to your business network and helps users share content within using different computers. Most NAS devices on the market feature two or more drives that can also implement RAID. Using a NAS appliance is the best replacement plan for storage purposes, especially in applications where multiple portable drivers need to be connected to every computer.

SMB 10GbE NAS solutions offer around 20 users in your organization simultaneous access to files stored on it without a drop-in network performance. Such solutions feature fast processors and high-end RAM capabilities that ensure you get the best performance at all times. NAS devices for SMBs also have in-built drive bays, expansion slots and iSCSI protocol support for easy storage management over long distances.

10GbE NAS solutions on the market are available in two configurations:

  • QNAP 10GbE ready unitsDesktop – These NAS devices are compact and quieter, but with fewer bay expansions due to their size limitations
  • Rackmount – The devices can be used in an existing server room small rack cabinet and larger so they accommodate more expansion bays and fans

Network Switches

Network switches are an integral part of any 10GbE network. A 10GbE switch provides high-bandwidth for collaborating, sharing and editing high-density files like graphics, animation and video. A 10Gb Ethernet switch ensures that your staff enjoy all the benefits of a 10GbE network, including:

  • Higher speed server connectivity
  • Managing and sending files between different users in your organization is 10 times faster
  • Switches offer a flexible interface
  • Help in the maintenance of bandwidth across your network
  • Easy to install
  • Quickly, reliably and efficiently enhance and optimize the business network
QNAP QSW-1208-8C switch

QNAP QSW-1208-8C 12-port 10GbE unmanaged switch

SPF+ DAC cable10GbE Cabling Choices

The most common methods of connecting servers and storage to switches in 10GbE networks are 10Gb SFP+ optics, 10GbE over direct attach copper cables (DAC), and 10GBASE-T. All three technologies allow the moving of data between your servers, storage and network devices at 10Gb speeds – with 40Gb and 100Gb coming very soon.

To use 10Gb SFP+, you will require a 10Gb SFP+ network adapter card and pluggable SFP+ transceivers on each device. This cabling method is ideal for long distances over fiber, allowing you to connect a switch to a data center that is at the other end of your office or several racks away. 10Gb DAC cables are used for connecting (through copper wires) devices with built-in transceivers using adaptor SFP+ ports.

Cat6 cableThe most popular option is the 10GBASE-T because it uses the familiar Cat6a or Cat 7 cables and RJ-45 ports unlike the more expensive options above. The cables have individual copper wires, which are twisted tighter and with better shielding from outside signal interference.

10G NIC Card


10G NIC Card

A 10G Ethernet network card (NIC) is used for the provision of a full-time connection for your computer to the 10GbE network. The card fits in the same type of slot – PCIe – as your graphics card does and is available in one or two-port flavors.


There you have it, the basic pieces required to create your business’ 10GbE network. With technology advancing, you should expect the prices of these components to drop even further and offer increased capabilities.


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