FiberSupportThe past couple of months have been an exciting time in the world of fiber optic technology. In a recent blog, I mentioned that we have been working with our partners on new technological advancements  in support of optimizing high-speed transmission over multimode fiber (MMF), including a next generation that we refer to as wide band multimode fiber (WBMMF)Since then, we have seen significant activity taking place regarding initial standards proposals.  

At the October meeting of the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) TR-42 committee on structured cabling, CommScope and its partners presented two contributions on this topic. The first contribution was co-authored with OFS and Finisar and supported by Avago and IBM. The second was co-authored with Prysmian. These contributions shared much in common, as both provided rationale supporting the utility of WBMMF and wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) as complementary technologies to parallel transmission. Both outlined the wavelength span necessary to support at least four wavelengths with sufficient bandwidth to allow transmission of 28 Gb/s on each wavelength to at least 100m while retaining support for existing applications operating at 850nm. They also showed measurements of actual fiber meeting the outlined specifications, and transmission results indicating superior performance at wavelengths longer than 850nm of the WBMMFs compared to OM4. This is the highest performing standardized MMF to date.

Avago presented its own contribution that covered bi-directional transmission enabled by WDM. This presentation supported the concept of using WDM near 850nm by showing a currently deployed multimode transceiver operating at 20 Gb/s per wavelength.

After these presentations, CommScope proposed to initiate a project to develop a WBMMF specification. The proposal received significant support and the work will be carried out by a task group with joint oversight of TR-42.11 (Optical Systems Subcommittee) and TR-42.12 (Optical Fiber and Cables Subcommittee). The task group will hold regular meetings, both face-to-face and by teleconference, and the output will be a new fiber specification to be published as TIA-492AAAE

At the subsequent meeting of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 86A Subcommittee on Fibers and Cables in November, a number of proponents of this initiative invited participation from the international community. Members of the European and Asian countries asked to participate in the TIA task group work

Clearly this proposal has sufficient participation and interest to move forward with focus and persistence. CommScope will continue working to define a robust fiber specification and will continue working with WDM transceiver vendor partners to ensure that these two technologies will bring unprecedented capacity while maintaining the value that multimode transmission has always offered for short-reach communications channels.

If you have any questions or comments regarding the WBMMF and WDM initiatives, leave a comment below and I will be sure to get back to you.

About the Author

Paul Kolesar

Paul is an Engineering Fellow in the Enterprise Solutions division of CommScope in Richardson, TX.  He received his BSEE degree from Pennsylvania State University and MSEE degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Employed with Bell Laboratories from 1981 to 2001, Paul designed and developed PBX circuit packs and fiber optic multiplexers, and in 1988 assumed systems engineering responsibility for optical fiber structured cabling systems within the SYSTIMAX SCS business.  He actively contributes to the development of industry standards within ISO/IEC regarding structured cabling, IEC TC86 on fiber optics, IEEE 802.3 on Ethernet; and chairs TIA TR-42.11 on optical systems.  He holds issued and pending patents on optical patch-panel design, array connectivity supporting parallel transmission and high-speed multimode transmission.  He conceptualized and drove the standardization of laser-optimized multimode fibers now known internationally as OM3 and OM4 for which he received the IEC 1906 Award in 2011.  These fibers have been specified within Ethernet and Fiber Channel standards to support low-cost VCSEL-based transmission systems from 1 Gb/s to 100 Gb/s and constitute the vast majority of optical media installed in data centers today. 

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