Bend Insensitive Multimode Fiber Adds Little Value to Enterprise Network Performance

Eric Leichter_thumb Eric Leichter November 22, 2010

Bend-insensitive multimode fiber, or BIMFF, has seen a big marketing push recently and it is a bit difficult to understand why. Although fiber has always had a minimum bend radius, I have rarely seen bending issues as a top concern from end users in the data center or enterprise spaces. Their concerns tend to focus more on actual system performance – network speeds, maximum distances, allowed connector pairs within a link, etc.

In the enterprise, the cable trays, conduits, patch cord trays, slack storage spools, and rack management systems are all specifically designed to limit bend radii or mitigate deployment stress and error. Therefore the value of BIMMF is as assurance against the unplanned mishap and abuse of the media, not as a solution to address everyday occurrences.

The following table lists out some of the important performance requirements and the limited effect of BIMMF.

Today there are no standards around BIMMF and there are concerns about compatibility between BIMMF and traditional fibers, as well as between BIMMFs from different manufacturers. There are also questions around bandwidth measurements in the factory, actual performance in the fields, and changes to field testing that may be required.

It might be best to wait for this technology to mature before jumping in.

About the Author

Eric Leichter_thumb

Eric Leichter

Eric Leichter is director for business development for CommScope Mobility Solutions, focused on fiber and power solutions for remote radio deployments. He has over 15 years of experience with telecommunications and optical fiber solutions, including roles supporting application and field engineering, product management, standards and training. While supporting a mix of wireless, data center, campus, and outside plant applications, Eric has experience with a multitude of vendor and generic solutions sets. He is a multiple patent holder, has provided several dozen published articles and conference presentations, and is a LEED Green Associate. Eric has an engineering degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) and an MBA from Gardner-Webb University.