Data center networks have traditionally been built on a combination of structured cabling architectures, backhaul infrastructure and some point-to-point and top-of-rack cabling setups to support specific needs. This combination of cables can be extremely complex and often handles an incredibly large quantity of data. As traditional copper Ethernet cables used in many of these cabling topologies begin to struggle with bandwidth requirements, the need for fiber optic cables is increasing in the data center. According to Data Center Knowledge, advances in the fiber optic cabling sector are creating an environment in which optical network components are becoming more accessible.
The timing of advances in fiber could be perfect, as the rise of 10 Gbps, 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps network speeds could make fiber critical in a wide range of data centers. Fiber is not necessarily going to replace structured cables, as copper is able to handle 10 Gbps speeds and will likely be able to support 40 Gbps when the Category 8 standard is released. However, fiber may soon be necessary in the various interconnection points and backhaul setups within data centers.
The news source explained that pushable fiber is proving integral to helping data center managers take better advantage of optical network resources.
Understanding the advantage of pushable fiber
The article explained that pushable fiber is changing the way that data center managers install and manager optical components in the network. The combination of advanced microducts and better polymers in optical cables has created a dynamic in which fiber can be installed much more easily. In the past, fiber deployment required space in a specialized duct that protected the cables from being bent or having pressure exerted on them. New microducts provide the necessary protection and can be run through traditional cabling ducts. Furthermore, increasingly flexible fiber optic cables capable of a higher bend resistance are making installation a less strenuous activity.
According to the news source, many data center leaders have had to deal with costly projects to adjust network capacity. Innovation in pushable fiber is making many of those costs unnecessary by making it easier to integrate fiber with other parts of the configuration.
Fiber optic cabling has long had a reputation for offering incredible performance gains, but with high costs and major installation challenges. As the technology of the cables themselves has matured, many of these deployment and expense issues are receding, making the cabling format a much more accessible option in the data center.