While it may not quite be at the level of Game
of Thrones or Pokémon
Go, single mode fiber optics and cabling are all
the rage in the data center industry. The hype, albeit over the top at times,
is not entirely unjustified. Increasingly we are seeing a debate between
deploying single mode fiber optics and cabling versus multimode fiber.
CLICK TO TWEET: Learn five characteristics of data center single mode fiber deployment from CommScope
There are different reasons for
each choice, but they tend to root back to the same causes and characteristics:
footage: SMF enables support for very large data centers with more than 80,000
square feet where “leaf to spine” cable runs have exceeded the distance
limitations of multimode fiber transceivers.
speeds: Some customers are deploying 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) on SM today
and are already looking to 400GbE and beyond as soon as they can get there. The
standards path, as it sits today, targets 400GbE options using single mode
fiber cabling that fit the near-term lines and distances that larger data
center operators are looking for.
that drive significant revenues: Data centers are an integral part of any
business operation. If it goes down, the business immediately loses the ability
to function and service their customers adequately. To conceptualize this, look
at your smartphone. Look at each app on your phone and ask yourself the
question, “If this company’s data center had a noticeable interruption, would
they be able to service their customers?” The additional cost of SM optics is
justified by enabling the scale and time to market that large operators
efficiencies in the business: Enterprises are excited about the
efficiencies that computing is bringing to their business and are actively
trying to expand upon that. Their data center forms the foundation of their
business, not just a tool in their bag. They view investments in data center
infrastructure as part of their business strategy and look to define long-term
strategies for increasing data capacity.
of Missing Out: The hyperscale cloud companies have been very boisterous
about driving down the cost of single mode optics. Others don’t want to appear
behind the curve and are eager to embrace single mode fiber. This is balanced
against the investment costs, scale and timelines that the business requires.
Hyperscale cloud service
providers were the first to embrace single
mode fiber plants throughout their data centers
because of their unprecedented scale and bandwidth consumption. Multi-tenant
data centers, large enterprise and telecom service providers deploy single mode
fiber plants in their data centers in various measure to support WAN
connectivity and longer reach for metro and campus area networks. While a few
very large enterprise data centers have chosen single mode for reasons that are
similar to the hyperscale operators, most have not yet found a business case
for changing to single mode.
For more information, I
encourage you to check out this Cabling Installation & Maintenance
article on single mode.