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I want fast file transfers between Win 7 computers using fiber optics, but I don't want the expense of buying a fiber switch.

Can I buy two fiber expansion cards and connect the computers with a fiber cable directly? I know a crossover cable is required to do this using Ethernet. Is there a crossover-type issue with fiber, and if so will the cards do the conversion?

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Why fiber? Also think about 10Gbit Ethernet which is still expensive, but still cheaper than fiber. –  Jens Erat Nov 4 '11 at 16:01

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It may be possible but the cost of the cards may be prohibitive. Copper will give you gigabit and so will most common fiber cards. Once you move into the faster fiber (8-10gbit), the cost will jump. What speed are you trying to attain?

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You should be able to transfer about 900Mbit/s using gigabit ethernet (each direction, remainder is overhead). What protocols are you using? Are your computers able to deal with this data? Windows shares are known to be rather slow. Try eg. iperf to find out if you've got some problem with your network. –  Jens Erat Nov 4 '11 at 16:31
    
After some research I agree, buying high-performance copper gear is probably cheaper than low-performance fiber gear. Even for such a simple connection. I am going to leave the question open though in case another reader really wants fiber speeds. I'm also curious if anyone answers who has done the fiber connection. –  steampowered Nov 4 '11 at 16:49
    
Well, I did. And I agree with previous speakers- it's huge waste of money for so-short distance. Fiber have sense, when you want long (more than UTP-Ethernet segment) link as monolitic link without active repeaters in the route. On ordinary 5e cables (5 meter) and consumer's level NICs I have 121MB/s now (test's results for pure TCP transfers, FTP-HTTP is 117-119) –  Lazy Badger Nov 5 '11 at 12:30

If they are two Win7 computers, you should easily get 100 MBps over SMB, since VistaSP1 and up uses SMB 2.0.

I personally get about 90 MBps transfers(but that's what I get for local copies as well) and have seen NAS to VistaSP1 transfers that top 100MBps.

These are well within the limits of gigabit LAN.

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