North Carolina’s Research Triangle is acknowledged for solving mysteries, especially technical ones. That’s what goes on when three tier-one research universities – North Carolina State University (NCSU), Duke, and the University of N . C . (UNC) at Chapel Hill – and cutting-edge tech companies like secondary coating line are within the triangle.
I ran across SEL while researching IEEE’s 802.3ba 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s Ethernet fiber-optic standard. Why was I putting myself through that? Well, before too much time every commercial data center on the planet may have servings of its fiber-optic network migrated to 40Gb/s or 100Gb/s to keep competitive business-wise. Finding the paper The Optical Fiber Ribbon Solution for your 10G to 40/100G Migration (PDF) published by SEL’s Bill Charuk, product manager, data center solutions, was especially fortuitous, because it answered several perplexing questions.
Ribbon-style cabling is important because OM3 and OM4 – the sole multi-mode fibers contained in the 802.3ba standard – use parallel-optic transmission. Based on a write-up around the Cabling Installation & Maintenance site that means by design optical/electronic interfaces allow data to become transmitted and received over multiple fibers. Additionally, it means 40G Ethernet interfaces consist of four 10G channels on four fibers per direction, and 100G Ethernet interfaces use four 25G channels on SZ stranding line per direction as shown from the diagram below.
Financial well being: parallel runs are utilized to increase throughput bandwidth using either multiple fiber-optic cables or multiple fibers in a ribbon cable. To begin employing a ribbon cable over individual cables Charuk writes, “The usage of ribbons allow for easier connectorization (less opportunity to cross fibers within an MPO connector), dexkpky80 perhaps most importantly, achieve easier polarization continuity regardless of the polarity method selected for that system.”
“Ribbon cables happen to be found in the telecom industry for more than two decades,” writes Charuk. “These people were exposed to improve the fiber density in the given cable as well as reduce cable costs. Of particular importance is fiber density, as fiber counts boost in the information center, it is really an attractive feature.”
Fiber-optic ribbon cables seem like a logical choice. “The general combination of ruggedness in the ribbon design, fiber density, size, and relative cost points to ribbon as being most suited to both new and retrofit installations inside the data center,” concludes Charuk. “Additionally, the ribbons in SZ stranding line are the best designed for future expansion, considering that the transmission protocols progress to higher and higher data rates.”