Data Center Cabling Solutions

The IEEE 802.3b standard (and the -ba, -bm, and -bs) started out about eight years ago.

It's been updated a couple of times since. It's a standard for 40 and 100 gigabit and it also addresses 200 and 400 gigabit transmitted on an MPO-style interconnect.

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Rick: All right so let's jump right in. Let's talk about what's standard and what's not standard.

Josh: Okay.

Rick: This refers to the IEEE standards for high speed ethernet, obviously which proposes the challenges. Obviously, we all know that there's a whole laundry list of challenges with performance characteristics with link distance and loss budget in businesses. We're not going to talk about that today. We're going to talk about simply fiber path.

Again, these standards have been around for a while. The 802.3b standard and then again there was a ba, bm, bs. I won't bore you with the acronyms and things of that sort, but started it out eight years ago. It's been updated a couple of times since, but long story short, it's a standard for 40 and 100 gigabit and also talking about 200 and 400 gigabit transmitted on an MPO style interconnect.

The individual fibers or lanes will transmit anywhere from 10 gigabit to 25 gigabits per channel, all the way up to and including going up to the next range of 50 gigabit, and then finally 100 gigabit per channel, multiple lanes of traffic.

We have on the single mode side, see the same principle, but then going over to the Duplex LC, single mode can transmit those high speeds on just a duplex style connectivity as well.

Also in the marketplace those of you that are familiar with Cisco or have used Cisco, they have a bidi technology which transmits 40 gigabit on a duplex style LC interconnect. That was proprietary technology. They have released it to the marketplace so now it's available to everybody, however it's not standard.

There was talk that it was going to wall to wall for 100 gig bidi, but rumor has it that that's not going to happen.

You also have the existence now, obviously we mentioned OM5 earlier with short wave division multiplexing. That's going to take advantage of some higher window wavelengths on multi mode cable. Similar to some of the single mode technology that we're familiar with. It's going to basically transmit multiple wavelengths of signal over a single fiber.

Josh: Okay.

Rick: However, the challenge there is that obviously there's no electronics on the marketplace, we don't know when they're coming. The highway, so to speak has been specked, but the electronics side of the marketplace is not there yet and who knows when those electronics come out a year from now, six months from now, two years from now. There might be different technology again in the marketplace.

These are all, again, critical things that we have to take advantage of, but the long and the short of it is, okay, and this is I guess why we're having this conversation today, is that for our perspective in the industry and we see it today, there's going to be a mix of technologies that are going to be running in the data center. We see it on an everyday basis. Now obviously a three layer pipe design for structured cabling is still there, however, spline and leaf has really taken off and they use 100 gig uplinks. They need to split the signals out for like you say 425 gigs or 410. 410's that's one good thing about the technology and that inherently is what where the challenge is because again, you can transmit high speed on duplex LC, you may require parallel optics using the MPO, so your infrastructure has to be flexible and easy to migrate cost effectively and if you're trying to follow the standards, which is always a good idea, quite frankly there's no cost effective easy way to do it.

You basically chose one method and you're going to have trouble converting when you switch transmission methods. It's as simple as that and that's inherently what CABLExpress has been working on for some time now and we've come up with a solution on how to address that.