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A computer network is a group of computers that use a set of common communication protocols over digital interconnections for the purpose of sharing resources located on or provided by the network nodes. The interconnections between nodes are formed from a broad spectrum of telecommunication network technologies, based on physically wired, optical, and wireless radio-frequency methods that may be arranged in a variety of network topologies.

We have several methods to support additional networking cards with NUCs.

SFP (Small FormFactor Pluggable)

This is a small module that provides either Optical or Copper connections to a device that supports it This allows the device to be designed to support this module which might be 1Gb, 10Gb, 25Gb, 40Gb, 50Gb, 100Gb, etc as well as different communication standards. We have both internal Add In Cards (AIC) (Plug-In cards) for the slot based systems like Ghost Quartz, Vortex, etc as well as external boxes that plug into the Thunderbolt 3 connector found on almost all Intel based NUCs now.

In the past, we needed optical connections to do 1Gigabit Ethernet (1GbE or just GbE). With GbE "Copper or RJ-45" adapters that came out around 10 years ago, we are used to using inexpensive Cat-5E or Cat-6 cables to get to Gigabit speeds. These inexpensive cables are only good for 300ft (100m) between devices or repeaters. Using optical cables, you can go thousands of feet between repeaters or devices. So even today, most customers looking for Fiber, (also spelled Fibre) or Optical cables just want to do Gigabit, but go between buildings or longer runs.

With fiber, we also can run higher speeds of 10Gb and higher. Inexpensive 10Gb up to 100Gb Fiber cards have come up.

Meanwhile, there was a push to take the decade old GbE over copper and push the speeds up, so last year, 2.5GbE was introduced that can use Cat-5E for short runs, Cat-6 for longer runs, and Cat-7 for up to 300ft. And just recently, 10GbE was introduced that uses the same cables, although Cat-7 is recommended.

Fiber is still the choice for long runs over 100m (300ft) but we are moving to higher speeds for up to 300ft.

There are several models of NUCs that provide a Thunderbolt 3 connection and one model that provides 2 Thunderbolt 3 connections. These are high-speed 40Gbps connections that can attach to external devices such as 10GbE solutions.

  • Skull Canyon
  • Hades Canyon (2 links)
  • Baby Canyon i5 and i7 (i3 not supported)
  • Bean Canyon
  • Provo Canyon
  • Frost Canyon
  • Quartz and Ghost Canyon (2 links)
  • Trident and Vortex (2 links)

Here is a solution for Thunderbolt 3 to a SFP adapter with a 10GbE adapter included. We have not tested these adapters but are only providing this information.

SFP Adapter: