Why 8-Fiber MPO/MTP Solutions Are Your Path of Least Resistance

In looking at current and future applications – for both multimode and singlemode – it is easy to see that the foreseeable future will be dominated by 2- and 8-fiber solutions. Table 1 below clearly shows that the Ethernet Optical Transceiver Roadmap includes fiber applications that are always divisible by either 2 or 8 fibers. What does this mean for existing 12-fiber MPO/MTP connections?

Table1_28Fiber

Table 1: Ethernet Optical Transceiver Roadmap includes multimode and singlemode fiber applications that are always divisible by either 2 or 8 fibers

For applications like 40 Gb/s (40GBASE-SR4) and 100 Gb/s (100GBASE-SR4) that are based on 8 multimode optical fibers, as well as future 400 Gb/s, the use of 12-fiber MPO/MTP solutions means that 33 percent of the optical fiber goes unused. One way that data center managers can ensure 100 percent utilization of optical fiber with 12-fiber MPO/MTP solutions is to use conversion cords or modules that transition two 12-fiber or one 24-fiber trunk from backbone cabling to three 8-fiber MPO/MTPs for connecting to 40 and 100 Gb/s equipment. This is ideal for those data centers that already deployed 12-fiber or 24-fiber backbone trunk cables. It should be noted however that conversion modules introduce additional insertion loss into the channel and conversion cords mean that three ports need to be taken off line in the event that the cord needs to be replaced.

On the other hand, 8-fiber MPO/MTP solutions that are starting to hit the market are considered the most efficient option since they support current and future duplex fiber applications using modules that break out 8-fiber MPO/MTPs to duplex LCs, as well as current and future 8-fiber applications without the need for conversion cords or modules.

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Singlemode or Multimode for Big Data in the Data Center?

DataCenterThe Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly evolving and brings many great advantages to organizations. However, the vast amount of Big Data that is expected from IoT, as well as from increasing storage intensive and cloud-based applications, has a significant impact on data centers. Within the data center environment, especially within switch-to-switch backbone links to the core and to the storage area network (SAN), there is immense pressure to handle extreme data volumes. To process this data, switch-to-switch links are rapidly migrating from 10 Gigabit per second (Gb/s) speeds to 40 and 100 Gb/s and beyond, which is best served by optical fiber cabling. In addition to higher speeds, the sheer number of equipment and fiber links continue to increase, leading to increased densities of fiber connections that need to be carefully managed.

With several fiber applications, standards and technologies available, data center managers need to understand current and future choices that provide reliable low latency, high bandwidth connections and scalability. First and foremost, data centers looking to upgrade their entire backbone data center cabling are faced with whether to deploy multimode or singlemode cable. While singlemode may offer the best future proof capabilities, the active equipment required currently remains more expensive than multimode equipment. Further, while most data center backbone links do not require the reach distances currently supported by singlemode fiber, which include up to 10 kilometers (km) for speeds ranging from 40 to 400 Gb/s, hyper scale data center backbone links often exceed the 100-meter maximum link length supported by multimode equipment. Hence, while multimode fiber remains the more common choice for these links, new developments in optimized-reach (i.e., 500 meter) singlemode data center solutions are expected to change the landscape of data center architectures.

Even selecting multimode fiber has become a more complex endeavor, especially with the upcoming 3rd edition of the ISO/IEC 11801 standard that will include a new type of wideband multimode fiber, designated as OM5. While existing OM3 and OM4 multimode fiber is specified to operate in the 840 to 860 nanometer (nm) wavelength range with 850nm as the optimal wavelength, new OM5 wideband multimode fiber specifies a wider range of wavelengths between 840 and 953nm to support wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) technology. WDM technology multiplexes multiple signals onto a single fiber using different wavelengths.

While OM5 may seem like an advantage in terms of reducing fiber strand counts, it is important to note that there are no applications currently under development within the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to operate over this medium and, as a result, there is no available information on data rate, link length, or strand count for installing this media today. As such, one of the emerging singlemode fiber applications may be the better solution for anyone looking to future proof for 400 Gigabit. For example, the pending IEEE P802.3bs (400GBASE-DR4) standard is slated to cost-effectively support 400 Gb/s over singlemode to 500 meters using 8-fibre MPO/MTP solutions with 4 fibers transmitting at 100 Gb/s and 4 receiving at 100 Gb/s. For more information, see our previous blog on OM5 multimode fiber.

In addition, the pending IEEE P802.3cd (50GBASE-SR) standard – anticipated to release in 2018 – will support single lane 50 Gb/s, demonstrating IEEE’s commitment to the development of higher capacity applications over the installed base of OM3 and OM4 multimode fiber. There is also work on singlemode technologies for shorter reach (500m) applications via the pending IEEE P802.3cd (100GBASE-DR) and IEEE P802.3bs (200GBASE-DR4/400GBASE-DR4) that may provide yet another case for singlemode fiber to be considered.

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Learn How to Plan and Design for the Future of Smart Lighting

POELightingAs intelligent lighting systems continue to see substantial growth year after year, it’s beneficial for infrastructure designers to have a comprehensive understanding on the deployment and installation of these systems. In fact, Power over Ethernet (PoE) lighting currently illuminates over one billion square feet of commercial space globally, and it is estimated the number of smart lighting deployments will grow from 46 million units in 2015 to 2.54 billion in 2020!

The driving factors behind its increasing popularity include the ease and benefits that accompany using Ethernet communication for control and deploying remote powering technology, such as 60-watt PoE. These PoE lighting systems rely on a well-designed infrastructure of high performance balanced twisted-pair cabling, network electronics, and software connecting and communicating with Internet Protocol addressable luminaires, dimmers, sensors, and controllers to deliver maximum performance.
PoE lighting luminaires typically use light emitting diode (LED) technology, which offers the added benefits of lower power consumption and less heat generation than other luminaire design alternatives, while lowering capital lighting investment, improving safety and comfort, and integrating with all Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled building automation systems.

A wide range of expertise is needed to specify, install and manage the many components in a PoE lighting system. Zone cabling is ideally suited for these deployments and infrastructure designers should be knowledgeable and prepared to adapt this cost-effective and efficient standards-based design.

Siemon’s newly created guide: Zone Cabling and Coverage Area Planning Guide: 60W PoE Lighting Applications is a valuable tool for designers and architects to utilize when planning PoE lighting systems within highly automated building spaces. This guide covers the areas of design and deployment, installation recommendations, integration with IoT applications, zone cabling for PoE lighting, coverage areas, location of zone enclosures, and more.

Learn more about PoE Lighting Applications for intelligent buildings and access the new planning guide at www.siemon.com/poelighting

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Do I Need an LP-Rated Cable?

The 2017 edition of the NFPA 70® National Electrical Code® (NEC) contains a new Article 840, Part VI requirement addressing premise powering of communications equipment over communications cable. This requirement only applies when the power supplied is greater than 60W (e.g., it does not apply to IEEE 802.3 Type 1 (15W), Type 2 (30W), and Type 3 (60W) PoE implementations). In this case, the maximum ampacity that may be carried by a cable conductor is determined by the conductor gage (AWG) size, number of 4-pair cables in a bundle, and the mechanical temperature rating of the cable as provided in Table 725.144 of the NEC and excerpted below. Note that this table is based on an ambient temperature of 30° C (86° F).

Ampacity-TableAs an example, the maximum ampacity of one 24 AWG category 5e conductor, mechanically rated to 60° C and contained within a bundle of 62-91 cables, is 400 mA (800 mA per pair). Since the developing IEEE P802.3bt Type 4 90W application is targeting an operating current of 960mA per pair, this example product and installation configuration would not be compliant to the NEC requirements for support of this application. To overcome this restriction, the NEC provides a provision to use a limited power or LP-rated cable jacket to support increased ampacity. Another alternative allowed by the NEC is to use cables having larger diameter conductors and/or a higher temperature rating to reach the desired ampacity capability.

Siemon recommends the use of its shielded category 6A and category 7A cables (having 23 AWG and 22 AWG sized conductors, respectively) for support of 60W and higher power applications because these cables offer the same application support capability as LP-rated cables with the added benefits of greater heat dissipation, power efficiency, bandwidth, and noise immunity. Note that these cables are mechanically rated to 75° C (167° F) and, according to the NEC table (refer to the cells highlighted in yellow), are suitable for support of at least 500 mA per conductor/ 1 A per pair current levels in bundle configurations of up to 192 cables in 30° C (86° F) ambient temperature environments. Siemon has developed bundling recommendations for a much broader range of ambient temperatures. Following these bundling guidelines ensures that an LP-rated cable is not required to support greater than 60W applications within the environments for which Siemon cables are rated.

To read more about TIA, ISO/IEC and IEEE standards, please visit our Standards Informant.

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OM5 Recognized by TIA and IEC. What Now?

wdmduplexWideband multimode fiber (WBMMF), officially designated as OM5, is a recently released fiber medium that is now recognized within both the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards. OM5 fiber specifies a wider range of wavelengths between 840 and 953nm to support wave division multiplexing (WDM) technology and is fully backwards compatible with existing OM4 fiber specifications.

WDM technology provides the capability to either increase transmission speeds or reduce fiber strand counts by a factor of 4. For example, using standard OM3 or OM4 multimode fiber, 100 gigabit speeds require the use of 8-fibers via 100GBASE-SR4. In contrast, using 25GBASE-SR specifications, 100 gigabit OM5 fiber links could be created using 2-fiber 25 gigabit channels on 4 different wavelengths. Similarly, using 100GBASE-SR4 specifications, 400 gigabit OM5 fiber links could be created using 8-fiber 100 gigabit channels on 4 different wavelengths.

However, it is important to note that there are no applications currently under development within the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to operate over this medium. In addition, because IEEE typically develops applications based on a significant installed base, it is not certain when and if any application will be developed. Further, OM5 carries a significant cost premium over OM4 and a premium will also apply to any future transmission equipment.

The recent release of IEEE 802.3by-2016 (25GBASE-SR) and the pending IEEE P802.3cd (50GBASE-SR) – anticipated to release in 2018 – demonstrates IEEE’s commitment to the development of higher capacity applications over the installed base of OM3 and OM4 multimode fiber. There is also work on singlemode technologies for short reach (500m) applications via the pending IEEE P802.3cd (100GBASE-DR) and IEEE P802.3bs (200GBASE-DR4/400GBASE-DR4) that may provide a case for singlemode fiber to be considered.

As a result of this pricing premium and application uncertainty, at this time Siemon still recommends deployment of OM3 or OM4 8-fiber MPO/MTP connectivity for seamless migration from current standards-based 2-fiber (10GBASE-SR, 25GBASE-SR) and 8-fiber (40GBASE-SR4, 100GBASE-SR4) applications to future applications.

To access our full line of OM3 and OM4 LightHouse™ Advanced Fiber Solutions, visit www.siemon.com/lighthouse

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Copper and Fiber Communication Cable Now Subject to Construction Products Regulation (CPR)—To Carry CE Marking by July 2017

ceeuflagPublished in 2011, the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) defines the fire performance of all construction products. Under this regulation, all construction products and building materials installed in the European Union (EU) must contain the CE mark that provides proof of compliance.

How Does CPR and the CE Mark Relate to Communications Cable?

As of 10th June 2016, copper and fiber telecommunications cabling is now subject to the CPR with a one year transition period. This means that as of 1st July 2017, all copper and fiber cables supplied to EU member states must comply with the regulation and carry the CE marking. With CPR specifications developed and adopted by EU member states, the regulation facilitates trade between EU member states for any construction products that are intended to be permanently incorporated into a building.

It’s important to note that the CE mark does denote quality—it means that the product meets standards for health, safety and economy of energy. It also only relates to cables intended for permanent installation, which excludes non-fixed cabling infrastructure components such as patch cords and jumpers.

For more background on CPR, visit: https://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/construction/product-regulation_en

 What are Euroclasses?

Under the CPR, existing IEC 60332 flammability ratings will be replaced by different reaction to fire performance known as Euroclasses. There are seven Euroclasses—A, B1, B2, C, D, E, and F—whereby A is the most flame retardant and F is the least. The requirements for the Euroclasses are outlined in the recently published standard EN50575, Power, control and communication cables – Cables for general applications in construction works subject to reaction to fire requirements.

 Who Determines what Euroclass is Required?

EU member states are required to follow CPR and each EU member state will decide which Euroclasses to adopt for their specific construction standards and regulations. Euroclasses B through D are considered low fire hazard cables and must meet EN 50399 Flame Spread testing in addition to EN 60332-1-2 while Euroclass E need only meet EN 60332-1-2 and Euroclass F has no determined performance. Broad use of Euroclass D and E is expected for residential and standard commercial premises throughout the EU.

 How Does the Regulation Impact Cabling Manufacturers?

Any cable manufacturer wishing to sell fiber and copper communications cable into EU is required to test their cables for CPR compliance with a “notified body” required to certify test results. Manufacturers must then draw up a Declaration of Performance (DoP) and affix the CE mark to its cable products and product labels. The purpose of the DoP is to hold manufactures responsible for conforming to the declared specification. As previously noted, all manufacturers supplying copper and fiber cables to EU member states must issue a DoP and affix CE marking to cable by 1st July 2017.

 What is Siemon Doing to Prepare for CPR Compliance?

As a leader in the structured cabling industry, Siemon is currently working with Notified Bodies to test its existing copper and fiber cables and establish Euroclass specifications. We are on schedule to receive Euroclass D and E certification for the bulk of our copper and fiber cables and are targeting to offer CPR compliant product with CE marking by the end of this calendar year. Further communication regarding product availability will be forth coming, and Siemon will continue to monitor all standards, trends and adopted Euroclasses within the EU and adapt cables where necessary.

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Buyer Beware: The Savings from Low-Cost Generic Fiber Assemblies are Not Worth the Risk

A Closer Look at Plug and Play MPO/MTP Assemblies

Maybe you’re one of the data center managers that tries to save a little with cheaper fiber assemblies from generic assembly houses. But do you really know if these assemblies are viable for your high speed fiber links?

When it comes to plug and play multi-fiber MPO/MTP cable assemblies used in data center backbone 40 and 100 gigabit fiber links that handle larger sets of complex data from multiple sources, performance is more critical than ever—especially considering the more stringent channel loss requirements of these next generation speeds.

Siemon Labs recently completed comprehensive testing on the performance of plug and play MPO/MTP assemblies, and we can absolutely tell you that not all MPO/MTP assemblies are created equal.

We tested random samples of MPO/MTP and MPO/MTP-to-LC assemblies acquired via standard distribution from four different low-cost assembly houses and from Siemon to TIA and IEC standards for end face geometry, cleanliness, optical performance and mechanical reliability. Each assembly was also tested to Siemon’s specifications which are more stringent to ensure superior performance and application assurance. What did we find?

As detailed in the white paper “A Closer Look at Plug and Play MPO/MTP Assemblies,” the majority of the generic assemblies failed to meet minimum standards requirements across the range of performance-critical parameters. Siemon was the ONLY manufacturer to pass ALL the parameters for ALL tests. In fact, three of the four assembly houses had assemblies that didn’t even offer an insertion loss performance that would allow for the use of a cross connect in a 40 or 100 gigabit channel. And all samples from one of the assembly houses completely failed cable flex mechanical reliability testing with the cable jacket completely pulling out of the rear of the crimp sleeve!

Is this the kind of quality and performance you want to rely on for your high speed data links? Probably not.

Thankfully, Siemon plug and play fiber assemblies are manufactured using the highest quality materials and via rigorous process control over end face geometry, cleanliness and mechanical reliability to ensure superior optical performance. In other words, your high speed fiber transmission can rely on our assemblies.

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Siemon Develops Valuable Planning Guide for Highly Automated Intelligent Buildings

July 5, 2016. Watertown, CT — Siemon, a leading global network infrastructure specialist, today announced the release of a new Zone Cabling and Coverage Area Planning Guide developed to assist infrastructure designers and architects ensure flexible zone cabling designs that provide significant benefits within intelligent buildings.

By 2020, it’s estimated that there will be 26 times as many connected devices and connected people! The growing adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) will be optimally supported by a cabling design where low-voltage building, network and security systems are converged on a single IP network infrastructure and powered by advanced power over Ethernet (PoE) technology. Ideally suited for these converged infrastructures, zone cabling consists of horizontal cables run from telecommunications rooms to intermediate connection points housed in zone enclosures typically placed in the ceiling space. Cables from zone unit enclosures connect directly to building devices such as sensors, wireless access points, cameras and digital signage or to outlets serving any such device. Combining these connections within zone enclosures supports rapid, less disruptive changes and reorganization of work areas while simplifying deployment of new devices and applications.

“Deploying a zone cabling approach that facilitates building device connections within zone enclosures saves significant cost for automated buildings where a variety of low-voltage systems are converging on a single unified physical infrastructure,” says Valerie Maguire, global sales engineer for Siemon. “It’s important for those designing these converged infrastructures to realize the benefits of this highly economical and functional standards-based design and to understand how best to deploy it.”

Siemon’s new Zone Cabling and Coverage Area Planning Guide explains the various patterns that designers and architects can use for effective arrangements of coverage areas and their associated zone enclosures. The guide also highlights best practices for optimizing device density, scalability, and flexibility, and it covers considerations for selecting cable media and complying with industry standards.

As designers and architects strive to leverage IoT and deploy a converged cabling approach that allows connected systems to collect and analyze data for new levels of building intelligence, Siemon’s Zone Cabling and Coverage Area Planning Guide will serve as a critical reference to ensuring that cabling infrastructures are optimized to support these new trends in building design.

Learn more about cabling for intelligent buildings and access the new guide from the whitepaper section at:

www.siemon.com/convergeIT

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Upcoming Webcast on the Cisco® Digital Ceiling

Siemon is pleased to announce a new webcast on the Cisco® Digital Ceiling and the advantages of smarter, connected buildings. Presented by experts from Cisco and Digital Ceiling Partners Siemon and Philips Lighting, this webcast is being broadcast by Cabling Installation & Maintenance on June 2, 2016 at 1 p.m. EST.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way of life as we know it, and the revolution is happening right above our heads. Low-voltage building system devices and LED lighting with advanced, embedded sensors are now converging on a single IP network and being powered by advanced power over Ethernet (PoE) technologies. Now, these trends are reshaping buildings and workspaces as the Cisco Digital Ceiling becomes the next frontier in the IoT that allows connected systems to collect and analyze data, enabling new levels of building intelligence.

Through three informative presentations, this hour-long webcast will cover the ins and outs of the Cisco Digital Ceiling and how it comes together with PoE LED lighting and a unified network infrastructure to drive new experiences and better business outcomes for maximum profitability. Presentations and speakers for this webcast include:

  • Cisco Digital Ceiling: Creating New Workplace Experiences, presented by Luis Suau, Solutions Architect and Technical Marketing Engineer for Cisco’s Internet of Everything Vertical Solutions Group.
  • Connected PoE LED: Value Beyond Illumination, presented by Keith Moreman, Vice President of Enterprise Sales at Philips Lighting US
  • Intelligent Building Infrastructure: Connecting the Digital Ceiling, presented by Bob Allan, Global Business Development Manager for Intelligent Buildings and Strategic Alliances at Siemon

In addition to arming the industry with the information they need to understand the benefits and best practices of a Cisco Digital Ceiling deployment, this webcast will also provide a Q&A portion for participants to interact with each of the presenters.  Register for the June 2nd webinar, The Cisco Digital Ceiling: The Advantage of Smarter, Connected Building, at www.cablinginstall.com/webcasts.

For more information, visit www.siemon.com/digitalceiling

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Common Cable Construction

Data has become the most valuable corporate asset. How to effectively transmit, store, access, protect and manage critical data is a challenge Siemon has conquered. For more than 112 years, we’ve remained focused on quality, service, innovation and value; providing our customers a connection they can count on.

Ranging from 10 Mbps to 100 Gbps, Siemon has the copper and fiber solutions to support all of today’s standard-based application speeds. Our broad range of cable jacket types and construction support installation in a wide variety of environments, including high flex cycling of robotics to noisy EMI of high voltage motors.

Before implementing, it is important to understand the most common cable construction types and their applications. Siemon’s preferred cable terminology is outlined below and is based on IEC 61156-5: Multicore and symmetrical pair/quad cables for digital communications.

The standard abbreviations are as follows:

U = Unshielded

F = Foil shielded

S = Braided shield

TP = Twisted pair

U/UTP: Often referred to as simply UTP cable, this is the most common unshielded balanced twisted-pair cable. UTP cable constructions feature unshielded twisted-pairs enclosed within an overall thermoplastic jacket.

F/UTP: F/UTP cable constructions feature unshielded balanced twisted-pairs surrounded by an overall conductive mylar-backed aluminum foil shield and enclosed within an overall thermoplastic jacket. The foil shield protects the cable from external EMI and alien crosstalk. Thecategory 6A/Class E variety of this cable type is commonly used in 10GBASE-T applications requiring additional headroom.

U/FTP: Category 6A/Class EA versions of this cable are commonly used in 10GBASE-T applications. This cable is constructed with no overall shielding or braiding, but each twisted-pair is foil screened.

S/FTP: This cabling type used primariy for category 7A/Class FA features individually foil-shielded twisted-pairs surrounded by an overall braid and enclosed within an overall thermoplastic jacket. Commonly used throughout much of Europe, this type of cable construction is the highest performing cable that significantly limits the amount of crosstalk between pairs and offers the greatest protection against EMI and external noise sources.  Due to the pair-to-pair isolation of this cable, it lends itself well to cable sharing which is a practice of sharing one 4-pair cable to support  multiple lower speed 1 and 2-pair applications.

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