Data Center Cabling Solutions

This chapter covers the challenges for polarity (or fiber path) into data centers.This has been a big sticking point and challenge for the industry itself.

The buzz words that everybody is familiar with is plug-and-play systems. To be frank, most systems are not plug-and-play.

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Josh: Hello, I am Josh Taylor the director of product management with CABLExpress and I am here with Rick Dallmann, director, data center architecture. Also with CABLExpress. Rick, how are you doing?

Rick: I'm well, how are you doing Josh?

Josh: Doing great. Wanted to talk to you today, I'm just back from a trip to a trade show. One thing that- well, there's always a lot going on in technology. IT is a very busy industry. It seems like recently, and preparing for the future there is going to be a lot of disruption with transceivers. You have a lot of expertise. You've seen a lot. What are you seeing now, and coming down the pipe for transceiver change? I was seeing a lot at the trade show. Curious to learn more.

Rick: That's a great question, Josh. You and I obviously go back a long ways. You know my feelings about this, especially not only on the transceivers but how in fact, we're going to connect these transceivers into our high-end connectivity in our data centers. That, I think, is going to be the biggest challenge. Actually, I'm going to pull a presentation up right now that I did a few months back, titled Migration Challenges for High-Speed Applications. Exactly what we're talking about.

It addresses, I think, all your points and it talks about the CABLExpress solution, how we're going to address. Something that's been pretty passionate a goal of mine for the past several years. We'll talk a little bit about, obviously, the driving factors of it. I actually have been on several committees on the TIA board. We'll discuss what's going on in the committees and the arguments that ensue because of these particular challenges.

We'll review, in fact, those transceivers with standards and also some non-standards but also being talked about, possibly could be standard soon. We'll review some of the cabling standards and then obviously, we'll put our take on what the challenges are. Then finally, what our solution that we came up with, a Multi-Path to address these shortcomings in my opinion, for data center infrastructure that we deal with on an everyday basis, and especially moving forward.

Josh: Fantastic.

Rick: Of course, the driving factors JT. Obviously, we're all familiar with LC and MPO style interconnects. I'm not going to bore you with giving you a fiber 101. That in itself, associated with the transceivers that they plug into, are what really is creating some challenges, because there's some different transmission methods that are required for those particular connectors. We'll talk about obviously, the big buzz word lately in the industry has been OM5. The latest standard for shortwave multi mode.

We'll talk about that a little bit, and the effects on the data center infrastructure. We'll again, just flat out talk about everything from 10 gig to 400 gigabit. Then again, reiterating, and again, I can't reiterate this enough. The challenges for polarity or fiber path into data centers. Like I said, this has been a big, big sticking point and challenge. I think for the industry in itself, the buzz words that everybody is familiar with, with structure cabling is plug and play systems.

To be frank, it's not plug and play. It's plug and play in the fact on how the actual material works together or the components work together, but the customer can't simply buy a cable from anyplace and a cassette module from anyplace and plug it in and expect it to work. These are the challenges that we deal with on an everyday basis. To throw some more fuel on the fire, some manufacturers out there have some proprietary methods with fiber path that are not in the standards, that also prevent us from even complying to the standards across the board.