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Looking at this switch datasheet, the concepts of "FX port", "FX switch" and "inline FX" crop up. (The obvious Google searches are not really helpful.)

What does FX mean in the context of a network switch?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

As Lucas says, FX normally refers to a type of fibre, but that's not how this company is using the term.

Instead, FX refers this company's inclusion of an FPGA that has access to 8 of the ports. People who buy this switch can either buy or develop their own applications that can be loaded on the FPGA and can process data as it passes through the switch.

All 24 ports are 10Gb and they claim the FPGA has 160Gbps of throughput. The idea is that instead of just using the switch to move data and then process the data on the server, you can do whatever data analysis on the fly as it moves through the switch and get faster results.

They use trading systems as an example of where this type of switch could be used, e.g. in the data sheet for their SDK:

Systems can be developed which pre-parse incoming messages or execute trades based on custom algorithms or triggers. This can be programmed to parse packets of interest and hand them off to host system user space or programmed to directly act on the data. This method reduces processing variation, decreases latency and offloads the host processor.

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I haven't found anything on their site that suggests how they came up with the term FX... it seems a bad choice since the obvious assumption would be that it refers to FX fibre. Maybe it's the F from FPGA and X refesr to the switching? Best just to think of it as a vendor's arbitrary labeling. –  Ward Oct 16 '12 at 19:04

FX stands for two strand fibre, it supports up to 100 mb/s and can go up to 2km.

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exactly, you guessed right :) –  Lucas Kauffman Oct 16 '12 at 18:47
    
Actually, that's not what FX means for this switch... (my own answer is coming) –  Ward Oct 16 '12 at 18:48
    
Oh wait you are right, just saw the link :( –  Lucas Kauffman Oct 16 '12 at 18:49

Fx Port:

Interfaces configured as Fx ports can operate in either F port or FL port mode. The Fx port mode is determined during interface initialization depending on the attached N port or NL port. This administrative configuration disallows interfaces to operate in any other mode—for example, preventing an interface to connect to another switch.

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fibre channel switch dood –  John Aug 20 '13 at 14:26

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