What MPO cabling means for fiber testing in the data center

2012-08-05 18:00:18

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Infonetics: Ethernet, IP MPLS VPN services top $81B by 2016
Infonetics Research says that demand for cloud services and an overall increase in data traffic will boost the market for Ethernet and IP MPLS virtual private network (VPN) services to beyond $81 billion by 2016. The market research firm makes the prediction in its newly released 2012 Ethernet and IP MPLS VPN Services report.Ethernet and MPLS IP VPN service revenue worldwide grew a combined 13% in 2011 to just over $50 billion, Infonetics says. This growth rate was significantly greater than that of telecom service provider revenue (though actual service provider revenue is increasing). More than 90% of spending on mobile backhaul equipment in 2011 was on IP/Ethernet gear, the company adds."The move from legacy frame relay, ATM, and leased-line services onto Ethernet and IP services is quickening as businesses put a razor-sharp focus on staying competitive in today's highly interconnected, mobile, video- and cloud-oriented world," notes Michael Howard, co-founder and principal analyst of Infonetics Research. "By 2015, ATM and frame relay will virtually vanish, while private leased lines will be around a bit longer."Asia Pacific will surpass EMEA as the leading region for IP MPLS VPN services this year; it already leads in Ethernet services. Asia will remain the leader for the combined IP MPLS VPN and Ethernet services market going forward as well, led by China and India, according to the report.Infonetics' Ethernet and IP MPLS VPN Services report provides market size, forecasts through 2016, and market and trends analysis for wholesale and retail Ethernet services (Internet and WAN access, E-LINE, E-LAN services) by speed, and managed and unmanaged Layer 2 and Layer 3 IP MPLS VPN services.
New Hampshire FastRoads builds BTOP middle-mile link with Calix
Access transport systems vendor Calix, Inc. (NYSE: CALX) says that New Hampshire FastRoads, a limited liability company of the Monadnock Economic Development Corp., will use the Calix E7-2 Ethernet Service Access Platform (ESAP) and 700GE family of optical network terminals (ONTs) in a network that will provide point-to-point Gigabit Ethernet services to underserved subscribers in 35 communities in the western part of the state. NH FastRoads has partnered with Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) awardee Network New Hampshire Now (NNHN) to use existing infrastructure owned by the University of New Hampshire (UNH) to bring fiber-enabled services throughout the Upper Valley and Monadnock regions of the state, including fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) projects in the towns of Rindge and Enfield.According to information on the NH FastRoads website, the core network comprises a collapsed fiber ring with two 10-Gigabit Ethernet links between colocation sites in Hanover (home of Dartmouth University) and Keene. The network will use a minimum of a Gigabit Ethernet link between core routers, with the ability to increase capacity as warranted. The new fiber middle-mile network will consist of 288-strand fiber cables. FastRoads will have IRUs for 48 strands of fiber on the network within the FastRoads territory."New Hampshire as a whole has been underserved by broadband for years, with large portions of our population having to rely on dial-up and wireless services," said Carole Monroe, executive director of NH FastRoads. "This new fiber network will be a powerful tool to further the economic development of the state that began with the NNHN middle-mile project, while continuing to improve the lives of our existing residents and businesses and attract new business to the area. Calix, with its broad experience with fiber access networks and deep understanding of stimulus projects, will be a true asset in the delivery of advanced services to residents and the extension of fiber across the region."Design Nine has provided the network design and project management for the effort. Design Nine's President, Andrew Cohill, said, "We evaluated equipment from many vendors, and in the end, Calix had the most capable equipment and the most attractive technical support package. We're glad to have Calix powering FastRoads' gigabit-to-the-home network.""With the construction of some middle-mile Broadband Stimulus projects already coming to a completion, we are beginning to see a natural extension of these anchor institution focused networks to target residences and businesses, just as NH FastRoads is undergoing in New Hampshire," said John Colvin, senior vice president of North American sales and marketing. "This kind of project is exactly what the Broadband Stimulus program was designed to be -- a catalyst for long term broadband expansion and economic development in each region awarded. We look forward to working with NH FastRoads as they improve the lives and businesses of residents of western New Hampshire with this powerful fiber access network."
What MPO cabling means for fiber testing in the data center
Enterprise data centers have an insatiable appetite for bandwidth. Virtualization, cloud computing, storage area networks, and a host of other factors conspire to drive that appetite, and meeting the need means a steady proliferation of fiber connections and ever-faster links.Up until recently, 10 Gbps was considered a top-end connection; now 40 Gbps is gaining traction, and some are even starting to look at 100 Gbps. In fact, according to a recent Cisco report (Cisco Market Need for 40 Gigabit Ethernet Report, 2012), shipments of servers with 40-Gbps Ethernet interfaces are expected to grow by more than 40% in the near term.Multifiber Push-On (“MPO”) fiber trunks have become the default cabling solution to these ever-increasing data center bandwidth requirements. Because they are a natural fit for parallel optics, these fiber links are compact, pre-terminated, able to handle bandwidth all the way up to 100 Gbps, and even plug and play by design. What could go wrong?Well, it turns out that this type of MPO cabling can create a testing, certification, and migration nightmare. The standard testing process – and you are testing your pre-terminated cables, right? – can be time consuming, error prone and, once you throw polarity of all 12 fiber connections into the mix, almost a hit-and-miss manual affair. And if you migrate from 10 Gbps to 40/100 Gbps on the same cable? You need to test and validate performance all over again.The rise of MPO cabling To understand the challenges of MPO cable validation, it’s necessary to understand MPO cables and how they’re tested in the field. An MPO connection is about the size of a fingernail and contains 12 optical fibers, each less than the diameter of a human hair – and each one needs to be tested separately. That traditionally means the use of a fan-out cord to isolate each fiber, followed by tedious manual testing, tracing, and error-prone calculations.The actual fiber test is quick enough: typically under 10 seconds per fiber once you’re in process. But you better be cruising: While one of our enterprise customers has data centers with as little as 48 MPO fiber trunks (x12 fibers each), that same customer also has a 30,000-MPO data center installation. That’s 30,000 connections with 12 fibers each, or roughly 3,120 hours in labor (and $343,200 in cost) if you had to test them all individually.And at some point, you better have tested them. There were two primary drivers behind development of MPO fiber trunks. The first was the ever-increasing need for cabling density in the data center. Cabling blocks airflow, so the denser the cable, the better the thermal management. And, as data center bandwidth steadily climbs to 10, 40, and 100Gbps, a dense multi-fiber cable becomes the only option.But the second, perhaps more important factor, is the difficult and highly technical nature of field termination for fiber. We’re talking curing ovens, adhesives, microscopic fibers, etc. Given that expensive and time-consuming “craft” process, modular factory-terminated MPO cables promise simplicity, lower cost, and true plug-and-play fiber connectivity.The challenge is that pre-terminated fiber is only guaranteed “good” as it exists in the manufacturer’s factory. It must then be transported, stored, and later bent and pulled during installation in the data center. All kinds of performance uncertainties are introduced before fiber cables are deployed. Proper testing of pre-terminated cables after installation is the only way to guarantee performance in a live application. In short, investing in factory-terminated fiber trunks to save time and decrease labor costs doesn’t really offer an advantage if the testing becomes an expensive bottleneck.Testing and determining fiber polarity is another challenge. The simple purpose of any polarity scheme is to provide a continuous connection from the link’s transmitter to the link’s receiver. For array connectors, TIA-568-C.0 defines three methods to accomplish this: Methods A, B, and C. Deployment mistakes are common because these methods require a combination of patch cords with different polarity types.More bandwidth means more testing The use of MPO cables for trunking 10-Gbps connections in the data center has steadily risen over the past 10 years. That trunking requires use of a cassette at the end of the MPO cable designed to accommodate legacy equipment connections. Now that 40-Gbps and 100-Gbps connections are coming on the market, a migration path has emerged: Remove the 10-Gbps cassette from the MPO cable and replace it with a bulkhead accommodating a 40-Gbps connection. Then it might be possible to remove that bulkhead and do a direct MPO connection for 100 Gbps at a later date.The problem is that while this migration strategy is an efficient way to leverage the existing cabling, in comparison to 10-Gbps connections, the 40-Gbps and 100-Gbps standards call for different optical technology (parallel optics) and tighter loss parameters.In short, each time you migrate you need to verify the links to ensure the performance delivery the organization requires.Proper MPO testingSo what would a proper MPO test look like? The answer is simple: Test all 12 fibers – the whole cable – simultaneously and comprehensively (including loss, polarity, etc.). That sort of test capability changes the fiber landscape, enabling installers and technicians to efficiently validate and troubleshoot fiber – flying through the process by tackling an entire 12-fiber cable trunk with the push of a button.The tools to perform this type of test are just emerging on the market, and promise to reduce the time and labor costs up to 95% over individual fiber tests (according to internal research based on the average list of standard competitive products). Characteristics to look for in such a tool include: An onboard MPO connector to eliminate the complexity and manual calculations associated with a fan-out cord.A single “Scan All” test function that delivers visual verification via an intuitive user interface for all 12 MPO fibers in a connector. Built-in polarity rification for end-to-end connectivity of MPO trunk cables. “Select Individual Fiber” function that enables the user to troubleshoot a single fiber with more precision.Demand for fast and reliable delivery of critical applications is driving data center technology to evolve at an ever-increasing pace. And that insatiable need for bandwidth ensures that the integrity of the data center has become inextricably linked to the strength of the fiber cabling infrastructure. The growing use of MPO fiber trunks – and the migration from 10-Gbps to 40/100-Gbps connections – means that it’s time to stop the cumbersome verification of individual fibers. After all, it’s a single MPO connection. You should be able to test it as one.
The above information is edited by 10GTEK.
10GTEK TRANSCEIVERS CO., LTD (Hereinafter refered to as 10GTEK) is specialized in developing and manufacturing Fiber Optical Transceivers and High Performance Cables which are wildly applied in Datacom, Telecom and CATV, providing customers with top quality and cost effective products. Our High Speed Cables cover Passive SFP+ Cable, Active SFP+ Cable, QSFP+ cables, MiniSAS (SFF-8088) Cables, CX4 Cables, Harness cables, Breakout Cables, Patchcords. We also manufacture Fiber Optic Transceivers like 10G XFP, 10G SFP+, SFP DWDM/ CWDM, GBIC, etc. The prompt response and excellent customer support contribute to clients‘ full satisfaction.Today, 10GTEK has been growing fast in the optical field for its unique and competitve excellence which has got a high attention from datacom and telecom.
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