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Fiber dedicated connection from ISP

Last response: in Networking
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September 22, 2012 1:41:14 AM

I have been doing network and computer work for a small public library which will soon be needing to change internet providers. Our planned route will be to have a fiber connection directly from our local ISP, but we need to figure out the best network hardware to accommodate this network connection.

We currently have two HP 1810-24G switches connected to a Sonicwall TZ100 firewall as the primary router. The firewall/router connects to the internet with Cat6 connected to a fiber optic media converter. The media converter is on lease from the current internet provider so it will be gone.

Our new ISP has said that they can provide a fiber connection in our building to an SFP port termination, which is their recommendation. Ideally, this would be an SFP port in a router or firewall. However, there seems to be very few options for routers with SFP and they're all incredibly expensive compared to a network switch with SFP. While I imagine we could just terminate the fiber optic connection into a cheaper switch with SFP and connect to that with the firewall, our network is further complicated in that we have a CISCO LifeSize video conferencing system which ideally runs best without running directly through the firewall, which can cause some lag and glitches in the signal it seems. I don't believe it's possible to have the router WAN interface connect through to the ISP with a static IP and PPPoE sign on as well as another network devices using the PPPoE and a separate static IP address, am I correct?

Have I just over-complicated this network issue, and everything should just be run behind the existing firewall, or should I be able to find a different firewall/router or switch that can connect with SFP to the ISP? Any help or opinions would be greatly appreciated, and thank you very much for your time!
September 22, 2012 11:19:47 PM

Given what you have said, unless you have multiple static IP addresses, you cannot use a switch (even then, the switch would have to be full layer 3 such as a Juniper EX2200 or Cisco Catalyst 3560). There is also a simple answer to this solution, they make SFP to Copper Gigabit Ethernet media convertors.
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September 23, 2012 7:12:10 PM

Thank you for the reply, that does help out. What we currently are using is a fiber to copper media converter, though it is not an SFP media converter, and is only capable of 10 Mbps speed. We may have to go with this method just for budget needs, but for some reason our ISP said that it would make a big difference if we could just go direct SFP to a switch/router instead, and would even result in a lower cost to our monthly agreement. I don't really understand myself how this would make a difference...

Would there be a difference going with a Layer 3 switch versus going with a full router with SFP? From what I know right now, we are needing two static IP addresses so they were going to purchase a block of 5 as part of our agreement. I just wasn't sure if we could have the Cisco LifeSize connecting directly to the ISP network (assigned a static IP) as it would have to probably connect back with PPPoE authentication, but our firewall would also have to connect back with PPPoE authentication and I thought this would cause conflicts.
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