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I recently built a NUC into an Akasa case as Roon networking bridge /endpoint with great results  I have expanded the project to do a little more tinkering.  I briefly played with WiFi, and I am pretty sure that the WiFi was messing with my system.  The NUC I am using has an M.2 "e" slot for PCIe networking.  

 

There is an M.2 network card that drives an SFP.  I am considering putting this in my NUC.

 

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833453141&Description=M.2 SFP &cm_re=M.2_SFP-_-33-453-141-_-Product

 

If you have a spare PCIe slot in your server, you can put a PCIe SFP card in the server.

 

 

https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833114123&ignorebbr=1

 

With these two network "cards" we can now test direct fiber between the server and the endpoint.

 

This idea is going through my head while I am testing the TLS modified network switch.

 

I have a PLAN!

 

My current server is a Sonic Transporter i7 DSP that is set up for network bridging.  I have a run of bog-standard CAT6 from the basement computer shelf to the system in the Living Room with the NUC. 

 

My TLS switch hooked up to an LPS-1.2 in the rack with the stereo.  To start testing this idea I ordered some fiber gear from FS.COM as follows.  (Ignore the switch for this part of my project)

 

fs18fuw93cmx20181217103103.jpg

8-Port Gigabit PoE+ Managed Switch with 2 SFP, 150W

ID #73457
 
US$  160.00x1
US$  160.00
fs19tkou573v20190107103924.jpg

1000BASE-BX BiDi SFP 1310nm-TX/1550nm-RX 10km DOM Transceiver Module for FS Switches

ID #29892
 
US$  9.00x2
US$  18.00
fs19ff6bysc620190107112908.jpg

1000BASE-BX BiDi SFP 1550nm-TX/1310nm-RX 10km DOM Transceiver Module for FS Switches

ID #29893
 
US$  12.00x2
US$  24.00
fs187m5n4ruu20180907211159.jpg

Unmanaged 1x 10/100/1000Base-T RJ45 to 1x 1000Base-X SFP, Gigabit Ethernet Media Converter, AC 100V~240V

ID #17237
 
US$  31.00x2
US$  62.00
fs18jyz2s4xa20180907195619.jpg

1m (3ft) LC UPC to LC UPC Simplex OS2 Single Mode PVC (OFNR) 2.0mm Fiber Optic Patch Cable

ID #40446
 
US$  1.50x2
US$  3.00
fs18dppt370b20180907203624.jpg

5m (16ft) LC UPC to LC UPC Simplex OS2 Single Mode PVC (OFNR) 2.0mm Fiber Optic Patch Cable

ID #40436
 
US$  1.90x2
US$  3.80
fs18w6ujab1k20180907203625.jpg

15m (49ft) LC UPC to LC UPC Simplex OS2 Single Mode PVC (OFNR) 2.0mm Fiber Optic Patch Cable

ID #40441
 
US$  3.00x2
US$  6.00
 
 

The first test configuration was system validation placing the FMC devices between the home network and the server using a short fiber cable.

 

IMG_0998.thumb.jpg.73f06b937a2bf833502eca64b1afd4ae.jpgIMG_0997.thumb.jpg.120ecf9d5d06a0d2a11ae5c407766dc9.jpg 

 

Everything operated as expected for four hours while I was working. Plug and Play!

 

Note that the SFP system I am using has a Single Mode single fiber and the SFP's are in pairs transmitting on 1310 or 1550.

 

 There is now a 15M fiber cable between the endpoints.  I powered the server-side FMC with one rail of the HDPLEX 200 supply.  The second FMC is next to the TLS switch.  I only have one LPS up there, so the FMC is on the provided SMPS.

 

Here is the test plan outline.  *** I like to work backward from what I think will be the best.***

 

With a little more run-in time on the TLS switch I will listen between the fiber network and Ethernet network with the TLS switch as the last hop before the NUC.

Then I will remove the switch and power the FMC with the LPS 1.2 to see how that sounds.

Finally drop back to ethernet only.

-------

After all that I will decide about trying the direct fiber to the NUC.  I am considering building a fanless Xeon server that will have one or two SFP ports to isolate the server from the rest of the network without additional switching or wireless.

 

As a final note the FMC devices are network switch gear and I am sure that they introduce some sort of noise.  Much to consider here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by bobfa

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The first phase of listening has started.  On Friday my friend Keith visited and we spent about four hours listening.  We tested two configurations using the fiber-optic link between the server and the endpoint.  We were listening to the changes in the system with and without the TLS Switch.  I have an LPS-1.2 on the switch but the FMC on that end is running on the provided SMPS.  The server end of the system uses the HDPLEX200 running the FMC on one output along with the Sonic Transporter.

 

When we started the A/B blind testing and it was totally obvious that the switch just works.   The soundstage expansion and the detail improvements, the instrumental separation all jump out when we swapped back and forth.  

 

The next couple of hours we listened to the system with the TLS switch in.  At the end of the afternoon I realized that I was not tired from listening.  I do not remember that happening before.

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I have been using single fiber systems in production networking for a while.  I always use Single Mode Fiber.  I have deployed it in industrial environments with great success. There are fewer connections to fail.   I try to buy from a single source and that has been Ubiquity.  Their stuff just works.  I did not have any spares on hand so I tried some gear from FS.com where I purchase some of the cables I use.

 

I will actually be converting my whole network at home to Ubiquity soon.  I want a single console for everything.  Right now there are multiple management points.

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