Intelligent CIO Middle East Issue 23 - Page 53

FEATURE: CABLING STANDARDS How long should cabling infrastructure last and how many generations of equipment should it support? As mentioned, the standards state a minimum of two iterations of technology upgrade, therefore realistically the minimum lifetime is around 10 years. The 25 year warranty should be seen as a guarantee that this will be possible. NARENDER VASANDANI, RCDD, TECHNICAL MANAGER MIDDLE EAST AND INDIA AT SIEMON As cabling dictates how fast a network can operate, is there a particular standard those installing cabling infrastructure should look for in terms of speed? The Internet of Things and Big Data have a significant impact on the cabling infrastructure in data centres as both are key drivers for increased transmission speeds. 40 Gigabit per second (Gb/s) and 100 Gb/s speeds are now required to transmit, process and store the vast amount of data generated by the IoT and the IEEE P802.3bs 200 Gb/s and 400 Gb/s Ethernet Task Force is nearing finalisation on the specification of a new generation of applications, which will support 200 Gb/s and 400 Gb/s speeds. However, this minimum period of use will probably increase when you consider that 10G over Copper is seen as a notional ceiling and all future developments for higher bandwidth is happening with existing standards compliant fibre. All major cable manufacturers are required to make their cable to minimal standard compliances for each grade. How do these vary Looking towards the future, the Ethernet Alliance predicts in their Roadmap that Terabit per second (Tb/s) Ethernet transmission speeds will be required in some environments by the year 2020! To support these higher speeds, optical fibre cabling is certainly best suited for data centre switch-to-switch backbone links to the core and to the storage area network (SAN). However, the availability of multiple fibre applications, standards and technologies can pose a challenge for data centre managers who need to manage costs and ensure low latency, high bandwidth connections and scalability now and in the future. For those looking to upgrade their entire backbone data centre cabling, the choice falls between multimode or singlemode optical fibre cable with multimode remaining the more common choice for up to 100m links due to lower cost for the required active equipment. However, data centre managers need to carefully evaluate the capabilities of different multimode systems (e.g. OM3 and OM4) optical fibre cabling systems to ensure support of current and future topologies and requirements. Emerging singlemode optical fibre applications may be the better solution for those looking to future proof for 400 Gb/s. For example, the nearly-finalised IEEE P802.3bs standard will include an implementation to cost-effectively support 400 Gb/s over singlemode optical fibre cabling to 500 metres (400GBASE DR4). How can those looking to install new cabling infrastructure ensure their cabling meets future standards? between the grades currently being installed? Most manufacturers have strict Quality Assurance procedures during production to ensure compliance with the standard. Excel Networking’s third party verification certificates ensure that our product does not vary beyond the acceptable tolerance limits as stated within the standards; there is no major variance from these. With data centres swiftly moving towards 40 Gb/s, 100 Gb/s and beyond, new 8-fibre MPO/MTP solutions provide the most effective support of next generation optical fibre applications. The most commonly deployed high speed optical fibre applications include 40GBASE-SR4 and 100 Gigabit 100GBASE-SR4, which are based on 8 optical fibres with 4 fibres transmitting and 4 fibres receiving at either 10 Gb/s or 25 Gb/s. For data centres that are looking to migrate to higher speeds but already have traditional 12-fibre MPO/MTP solutions installed, the use of conversion cords or modules provides the most cost effective option. These cords and modules transition two 12-fibre MTPs to three 8-fibre MTPs for connecting to 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s equipment and enable 100% utilisation of the available optical fibres. However, any new plug and play fibre deployments will greatly benefit from an 8-fibre MPO/MTP solution. Using 8-fibre MTP backbone cabling and 8-fibre MTP jumpers for 40/100 Gb/s equipment connections achieves 100% fibre utilisation without the need for costly, complex conversion cords or modules. What and why is the recommended category of cabling required to meet modern standards? At the data centre ‘edge’ where server to switch connections are made, category 8 cabling is certainly a recommended solution. Connection speeds in this part of the data cent B۝[YHZYܘ]H^[ۙ L؋˜[]YܞHX[\][Y[\ۜHHYY܈]\]SSQSSL