Teledata Technologies

Fiber Optic Cable 

Optical fiber is a type of fiber made by drawing molten silica glass to a diameter barely thicker than a strand of human hair.  Optical fibers are typically used to transmit light between two ends of fiber for fiber-optic communications.  The silica or plastic allows for transmission over longer distances at higher bandwidths than wire cables.  This is due optical fiber’s immunity of electromagnetic interference.  These fibers are often wrapped in bundles for carrying light into, or images out of confined spaces for fiberscope. 

            A typical optical fiber includes a core surrounded by a material that causes light to be confined to the core.  Light is kept at the core by total internal reflection, causing the fibers to act a waveguide.  Optical fibers can support many paths (transverse modes) or a single mode.  Multi-mode fibers generally have a wider core diameter and are used for shorter distances.  Single-mode fibers can support communication links longer than 1,000 meters (3,300 ft). 

            The process of joining optical fibers with low loss is a critical in fiber optic communication.  This is done through a process called cleaving, which creates a deliberate, controlled break, intended to create a perfectly flat endface and precise alignment of the fiber cores.  A fusion splice (the act of joining two optical fibers end-to-end using heat) is used for a permanent connection of two fibers.  If temporary or semi-permanent connections need to be made, a technique known as mechanical splice (ends of the fibers are held in contact by mechanical force) is used. 

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Optical Fiber

            Singlemode, Multimode, OM4, 8-fiber MPOs, OM5, 40 Gig, 100 Gig…  Fiber options, interfaces, and transmission applications are increasing, making it difficult for one to select the best possible choice for data center needs.  As the need for supporting large amounts of data is increasing due to the internet, it is important to understand the basics of optical fiber and its various types.  

The Basics of Optical Fiber

            Optical fiber is a type of fiber made by drawing molten silica glass to a diameter barely thicker than a strand of human hair.  Optical fibers are typically used to transmit light between two ends of fiber for fiber-optic communications.  The silica or plastic allows for transmission over longer distances at higher bandwidths than wire cables.  This is due to optical fiber’s immunity of electromagnetic interference.  These fibers are often wrapped in bundles for carrying light into, or images out of confined spaces for fiberscope.  A typical optical fiber includes a core surrounded by a material that causes light to be confined to the core.  Light is kept at the core by total internal reflection, causing the fibers to act a waveguide.  Optical fibers can support many paths (transverse modes) or a single mode.  Multi-mode fibers generally have a wider core diameter and are used for shorter distances.  Single-mode fibers can support communication links longer than 1,000 meters (3,300 ft).  The process of joining optical fibers with low loss is a critical in fiber optic communication.  This is done through a process called cleaving, which creates a deliberate, controlled break, intended to create a perfectly flat endface and precise alignment of the fiber cores.  A fusion splice (the act of joining two optical fibers end-to-end using heat) is used for a permanent connection of two fibers.  If temporary or semi-permanent connections need to be made, a technique known as mechanical splice (ends of the fibers are held in contact by mechanical force) is used. 

Fiber Optic Choices

            The switch-to-switch backbone which links to the core and to the storage area network (SAN) of a data center makes fiber optic cables the ideal choice for data centers.  Providing low-latency and high bandwidth connections, while managing more equipment and higher densities has data centers considering upgrading from 10 Gigabit speeds to 40 and 100.  Between singlemode and multimode, what exactly is the best choice?

Singlemode V Multimode

 Singlemode offers better future proof capabilities and is able to reach greater distances, but the active equipment requires can be more costly.  With the introduction of wideband multimode fiber, designated as OM5, multimode fiber has also become more complex.  The OM5 is an upgrade over the existing OM4 with its ability to support wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) technology.  This technology multiplexes multiple signals onto a single fiber by using different wavelengths, giving it the capacity to increase transmission speeds or reduce fiber strand counts.  Today, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) does not have applications to operate over this medium so one might consider this before opting for OM5.  If cost isn’t a huge concern or if long link support is needed, singlemode may be the better choice.  The IEEE P802.3bs (400GBASE –DR4) is expected to support 400 Gb/s over singlemode to 500 meters. 

                                                                  8-Fiber MPOs or 12

More and more data centers are using 12-fiber MPO/MTP plug and play connectivity for its efficiency, high-density duplex fiber applications and its ability to support parallel optic applications that depend on multiple fibers for higher transmission rates.  It is important to keep in mind that the latest applications like 40 Gb/s (40GBASE-SR4) and 100 Gb/s (100GBASE-SR4) are based on 8 multimode optical fibers.  12-fiber MPO/MTP, also known as Base 12, for duplex fiber applications typically leaves 33 percent of optical fiber unused.  100 percent of optical fiber utilization  can easily be achieved by converting cords or modules that transition two 12-fiber or one 24-fiber trunk from backbone cabling to three 8-fiber MPO/MTP for connecting to 40 and 100 Gb/s equipment.  One might want to consider Base 8 solutions for new deployments, since conversion cords can add complexity. 

 

Regardless of what fiber selection is made, keeping within optical insertion loss budgets ensures proper transmission of data signals.  Managing fiber jumpers at patching areas is also important, especially when taking into account the number of connections within a single rack of space.  Optical fiber offers numerous benefits in terms of higher bandwidth, transmission over longer distances, and is significantly lighter comparable to copper cable.  More and more data centers are opting for optical fiber so it is important to consider the best choice when supporting your data needs.  As the need to support extreme data volume increases, fiber optic cabling may be the best choice for fiber optic communications. 

fiber optic cabling, Fiber Optic Las Vegas, fiber cable, optical fiber technology, fiber optic communications

NErdy Networking Star Wars Screening

Join Teledata, Anixter, Commscope and Crestron as we network and discuss some industry changes in outlining specifications, RFPs and bet us we can't make it intersting...  

Join us at 1 pm December 15, 2018 for a brief meet and greet followed by discussion with Commscope, Anitxer and Crestron.. and festivities shortly after including a viewing of the movie "Star Wars 8, The Last Jedi"

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