Category Archives: Fiber Cabling

Five Basics About Fiber Optic Cable

A fiber optic cable is a network cable that contains strands of glass fibers inside an insulated casing. They’re designed for high performance data networking and telecommunications. Fiber optic cable carry communication signals using pulses of light, faster than copper cabling which uses electricity. They are becoming the most significant communication media in data center. Then how much do you know about them? This post serves as a guide for beginners.

Fiber Components

The three basic elements of a fiber optic cable are the core, cladding and coating. Core is the light transmission area of the fiber, either glass or plastic. The larger the core, the more light that will be transmitted into the fiber. The function of the cladding is to provide a lower refractive index at the core interface, causing reflection within the core. Therefore the light waves can be transmitted through the fiber. Coatings are usually multi-layers of plastics applied to preserve fiber strength, absorb shock and provide extra fiber protection.

Fiber Components

Fiber Type

Generally, there are two basic types of fiber optic cables: single mode fiber (SMF) and multimode fiber (MMF). Furthermore, multimode fiber cores may be either step index or graded index.

Single mode and multi-mode fiber-optic cables

Single mode optical fiber is a single strand of glass fiber with a diameter of 8.3 to 10 microns that has one mode of transmission. The index of refraction between the core and the cladding changes less than it does for multimode fibers. Light thus travels parallel to the axis, creating little pulse dispersion. It’s often used for long-distance signal transmission.

Step index multimode fiber has a large core, up to 100 microns in diameter. As a result, some of the light rays that make up the digital pulse may travel a direct route, whereas others zigzag as they bounce off the cladding. These alternative pathways cause the different groupings of light rays to arrive separately at a receiving point. Consequently, this type of fiber is best suited for transmission over short distances.

Graded index fibers are commercially available with core diameters of 50, 62.5 and 100 microns. It contains a core in which the refractive index diminishes gradually from the center axis out toward the cladding. The higher refractive index at the center makes the light rays moving down the axis advance more slowly than those near the cladding.

Fiber Size

Single mode fibers usually has a 9 micron core and a 125 micron cladding (9/125µm). Multimode fibers originally came in several sizes, optimized for various networks and sources, but the data industry standardized on 62.5 core fiber in the mid-80s (62.5/125 fiber has a 62.5 micron core and a 125 micron cladding. It’s now called OM1). Recently, as gigabit and 10 gigabit networks have become widely used, an old fiber design has been upgraded. 50/125 fiber was used from the late 70s with lasers for telecom applications. 50/125 fiber (OM2) offers higher bandwidth with the laser sources used in the gigabit LANs and can allow gigabit links to go longer distances. Laser-optimized 50/125 fiber (OM3 or OM4) today is considered by most to be the best choice for multimode applications.

Basic Cable Design

The two basic cable designs are loose-tube cable, used in the majority of outside plant installations, and tight-buffered cable, primarily used inside buildings.

loose-tube-or-tight-buffered-cable

The modular design of loose-tube cables typically holds up to 12 fibers per buffer tube with a maximum per cable fiber count of more than 200 fibers. Loose-tube cables can be all dielectric or optionally armored. The modular buffer-tube design permits easy drop-off of groups of fibers at intermediate points, without interfering with other protected buffer tubes being routed to other locations.

Tight-buffered cables can be divided into single fiber tight-buffered cables and multi-fiber tight-buffered cables. single fiber tight-buffered cables are used as pigtails, patch cords and jumpers to terminate loose-tube cables directly into opto-electronic transmitters, receivers and other active and passive components. While multi-fiber tight-buffered cables also are available and are used primarily for alternative routing and handling flexibility and ease within buildings.

Connector Type

While there are many different types of fiber connectors, they share similar design characteristics. Simplex vs. duplex: Simplex means 1 connector per end while duplex means 2 connectors per end. The following picture shows various connector styles as well as characteristics.

fiber cable connectors

Summary

Ultimately, what we’ve discussed is only the tip of the iceberg. If you are eager to know more about the fiber optic cable, either basics, applications or purchasing, please visit www.fs.com for more information.

FS Polarity Switchable LC Uniboot Cable: Leading Trend in Fiber Optics

The data center is moving towards high speed and high density. How to build more optical fiber cables in limited space is becoming increasingly severe. In this case, FS.COM introduced a new-type product suitable for high density cabling requirement—polarity switchable LC uniboot cable. It’s the preferred option for high density data center connection today. Its largest feature is switchable polarity, designed to eliminate the need for dual zip cords and reduce overall bulk cabling by 50%. But do you know about polarity switchable LC uniboot cable? What are the features of it and how to reverse the polarity? You may find answer in this post.

Introduction to LC Uniboot Fiber Patch Cable

LC uniboot fiber patch cables are designed for high density applications in data center environment. Generally, the LC uniboot patch cord is designed with a polarization method that can help users easily reverse the fiber polarity. In addition, the LC uniboot fiber patch cable can reduce cable management space comparing to standard patch cord as it places both simplex fibers into one jacket while still terminating into a duplex LC connector. Similar to the standard patch cord, single-mode and multimode versions are available in LC uniboot patch cables.

FS Polarity Switchable LC Uniboot Cable

Features & Advantages

FS polarity switchable LC uniboot cables feature high density. They are used to connect switches or network devices in fiber networks directly or interconnect structured cabling systems in a fiber network. Besides, FS uniboot fiber patch cable has the following highlights.

  • Easy polarity reversal: Polarity changes can be made in the field quickly, without the use of tools, to the correct fiber mapping polarity.
  • “All in One” international quality cable assemblies: FS uniboot fiber patch cable has passed IEC61300-3-35 end-face standard, EIA/TIA-455-171A attenuation standard and CE, etc. providing customers with the outstanding, standards-compliant products and services.

All in One International Quality Cable Assemblies_

  • LC licence compliant & 0.2dB IL: The worldwide licence and low insertion loss keep your network running fast and smooth.

LC Licence Compliant & 0.2dB IL

  • 2.0mm round cable design: 2.0mm thin diameter allows the polarity to be switched from A-B to A-A without any tools.
  • More fiber options: OM3, OM4, and OS2.
  • Space saving: It can save the space of cassettes and cable management by 68%.
How to Achieve Polarity Reversal of LC Uniboot Cable

As we know, for traditional cabling systems using single fiber connectors, maintaining polarity requires that the “A” transmits signal and at the same time the “B” receives signal. But duplex patch cords used to complete serial duplex pair connections available in two types, depending on which polarity technique is used— “A-to-B” patch cord for “straight-through” wiring and “A-to-A” patch cord for “crossover”wiring. Thus, polarity reversal is usually required during fiber optic cabling.

polarity of LC Uniboot Cable

However, polarity reversal of traditional LC patch cable is very inconvenient and annoying since some minor mistakes could lead to various troubles. Therefore, FS.COM developed the LC uniboot cable that is easier for polarity reversal, without having to re-terminate the connectors. Here two methods of polarity reversal are introduced as follows.

LC-uniboot-polarity-reversal

From the above picture, we can see that we can use just 3 steps to reverse polarity. Type one (the left one):

1. Open connector top.

2. Switch the polarity from A-B to A-A.

3. Close connector top.

Type two (the right one):

1. Open connector top.

2. Rotate connector 180 degree to exchange the position.

3. Close connector top.

Summary

To address the increasing demand for high density applications and smaller fiber cable, the LC uniboot fiber patch cable is designed to help cut down cabling space and provide more effective polarity reversal solution. I hope this article could help you choose the proper product for high density cabling. FS.COM not only provides polarity switchable LC fiber patch cable, but also provides bend insensitive fiber patch cable which is also a high density cabling application. Welcome to consult with customer service for more details.

OM4 vs. OM5: What’s the Difference?

As the demand for bandwidth, new transmission media must be developed to meet the requirements of users. The latest in optical transmission media is called OM5 fiber. To help you use this advanced fiber to its greatest advantage, this paper describes the basis of OM5 fiber, and highlights the key differences with OM4.
OM5

What Is OM5 Fiber?

According to the ISO/IEC 11801, OM5 fiber specifies a wider range of wavelengths between 850nm and 953nm. It was created to support short wavelength division multiplexing (SWDM), which is one of the many new technologies being developed for transmitting 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s.

In June 2016, ANSI/TIA-492AAAE, the new wideband multimode fiber standard, was approved for publication. And in October of 2016, OM5 was announced as the official designation for cabling containing WBMMF (Wide Band Multimode Fiber) by ISO/IEC 11801. From then on, OM5 may be a potential new option for data centers that require greater link distances and higher speeds.

OM4 vs. OM5: What’s the Difference?

Until recently, OM1 and OM2 fiber can no longer support 25 Gbps and 40 Gbps data transmission speeds, so OM3 and OM4 were the main choices for multimode fiber to support 25G, 40G and 100G Ethernet. However, it’s becoming more costly for optical fiber cable to support next-generation Ethernet speed migration as bandwidth requirements increase. At this time, the present OM5 extends the benefits of this multimode fiber in data centers. Here is the comparison between OM4 and OM5:

OM4 fiber has been on the market since 2005, which is completely backward compatible with OM3 fiber and shares the same aqua jacket. OM4 fiber is a 50µm laser-optimized multimode fiber with extended bandwidth. It allows 10G link distances of up to 550 meters and offers an Effective Modal Bandwidth (EMB) of 4700 MHz-km.

OM4-VS.-OM5

By comparison, OM5 is also a 50µm laser-optimized multimode fiber and uses VCSEL lasers, which enable optimal support of emerging SWDM applications. But the key difference is that EMB is specified only at 850 nm for OM4 at 4700 MHz-km, while OM5 EMB values are specified at both 850 nm and 953 nm and the value at 850 nm is greater than that of OM4. Therefore, OM5 fiber offers users longer length distances and more choices in optical fiber. In addition, TIA has specified lime green as the official cable jacket color for OM5, while OM4 is aqua jacket. And OM4 is designed for 10Gb/s, 40Gb/s, and 100Gb/s transmission, but OM5 is designed for 40Gb/s, and 100Gb/s transmission which reduces the fiber counts for high speed transmissions.

What’ more, OM5 can support four SWDM channels, each carrying 25G of data to deliver 100G Ethernet using a single pair of multimode fibers. Besides, it is fully compatible with OM3 and OM4 fiber. OM5 is available globally for installations in multiple enterprise environments, from campuses to buildings to data centers. In a word, OM5 is a better choice than OM4 on transmission distance, speed and cost.

Conclusion

OM5 fiber provides next-generation multimode fiber performance for today and tomorrow’s high speed applications. With its significantly higher bandwidth, it can be assured that multimode fiber will continue to provide the most cost effective solutions for short reach applications in data centers and LANs. OM5 precisely meets the demands, and it will be your preferable choice for your data centers.

Related Article:  SFP Transceiver for Cisco 3560 Series Switches

How to Get 40/100G Connectivity in Your Data Center?

The demand for network growth is rapidly increasing, which is due to the massive amount of storage needed for high bandwidth applications. Large growth hence spurs the requirements for expansion and scalability in the data center. Cabling infrastructures must evolve to provide reliability, manageability and flexibility. Obviously, the conservative 2-fiber transmission is not enough to catch up with the speed. And 12 or 24-fiber 40/100G Ethernet migration is quickly becoming a matter of survival. This article offers cabling solutions for cost-effective and simplified migration for 40/100G within the data center.

Introduction to 40/100G Ethernet

40G and 100G Ethernet employ parallel optics. Parallel optics transmission, compared to traditional serial transmission, uses an optic module interface where data is simultaneously transmitted and received over multiple fibers. For the 40GE transmission, 4 x 10G on 4 fibers per direction and 10 x 10G on 10 fibers per direction for the 100GE. Which ushers the need for the high quality and low loss multimode MTP connectors and assemblies.

How to Get 40G Connectivity?
1). 10G to 40G Connection

Migration from 10G to 40G system utilizes 40G MTP/MPO breakout cables, with an MTP/MPO connector on one end and four duplex LC connectors on the other end. The IEEE ratified the 40GBASE-SR4 (MPO/MTP interface) standard that uses 4 lanes at 10G SFP+ (LC interface) per lane over multimode fiber for a total of 8 fibers.

Parallel optics 40GBASE-SR4 uses 8 out of 12 MTP/MPO interfaces fibers transmitting 4 duplex channels (4 for transmit and 4 receive), as shown in the following picture. QSFP+ to SFP+ breakout cable is 8-fibers MTP to LC breakout assembly.

10G-40G migration solution 1

2). 40G to 40G Connection

As for data transmission between two 40G switches, 40G QSFP+ SR4 transceivers are generally adopted, transmitting signals over four duplex 10G lanes (4 transmit and 4 receive). A 12-fiber MTP/MPO trunk are involved, with 8 out of 12 fibers used to achieve 4 duplex signals transmission. And MTP/MPO adapter panels can be installed easily to make the next adaptation, as the following picture indicates.

10G-40G migration solution 2

How to Get 100G Connectivity?
1). 10G to 100G Connection

Migrating from 10G to 100G still utilizes 100G MTP/MPO breakout cable, the IEEE ratified the 100GBASE-SR10 (MTP/MPO interface) standard that uses 10 lanes at 10G SFP+ per lane over multiple fiber for a total of 20 fibers. Parallel optics 100GBASE-SR10 uses 20 out of 24 MTP/MPO interface fibers transmitting 10 duplex channels.

10G-100G migration solution 1

2). 100G to 100G Connection

100G connectivity can be achieved through ten 10G SFP+ transceivers. SFP+ transceiver operates on legacy duplex 10G lanes, thus taking full advantage of the existing network infrastructure. With a 24-fiber MTP/MPO trunk cable, of which 20 out of the 24 fibers are used to make duplex 10×10G transmission.

10G-100G migration solution 2

We can also get 100G to 100G connectivity via MTP/MPO assemblies: simply use the 24-fiber MTP/MPO interface trunk cable or 2×12-fiber MTP/MPO interface trunk cable. As shown in the following picture.

40G-100G migration solution 1

Conclusion

With the rapid increase in bandwidth consumption, the migration from 10G to 40G or 100G is inevitable. The economics of cost per port per 10Gbps is much more favorable for a 40GBASE-SR4 and 100GBASE-SR10 network. All the transceivers and cabling assemblies presented in the solutions are available in FS.COM. For more details, please visit www.fs.com or contact us via sales@fs.com.

QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC and QSFP+ MTP Breakout Cable Solution

Migration from 10G to 40G is an inevitable trend in data center. Migration means you need new QSFP+ transceiver modules, fiber patch cables and other equipment. Common two methods to migrate from 10G to 40G for short distance are QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC and QSFP+ MTP breakout cable solution. When you come across this issue, it’s hard to tell which one is better. This article will introduce their difference and tell you how to make the right decision.

40G QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC

40G QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC (active optical cable) is composed of a QSFP+ connector on one side and four individual SFP+ connectors on the other side. The QSFP+ connector (40Gbps rate) offers four parallel, bidirectional channels and each operates at up to 10.3125 Gbps. The QSFP+ connector can be installed into QSFP+ port on the switch and feed up to four 10G SFP+ links. And the link lengths can reach 100 meters on OM3 fiber. It’s a cost-effective interconnect solution for 40G and 10G switches and servers.

40G QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ Breakout AOC

QSFP+ MTP Breakout Cable

The other common solution for 10G to 40G short distance migration is to use breakout cable and of course corresponding transceivers. How to achieve the connection? You’re gonna need 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+, MTP to LC breakout cable and 10GBASE-SR SFP+. Here we are going to explain 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ and MTP-LC breakout cable in details.

First, 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ is designed for 40 Gigabit data center and can support the link length of 100 m and 150 m respectively on laser optimized OM3 and OM4 fiber cables. This module offers 4 independent channels for transmitting and receiving. Each lane is capable of running 10Gbps signal and is compliant to IEEE 10GBASE-SR specification. Connecting with 12-fiber MTP/MPO cables, it can support 40Gbps network. Or combine 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ with 4x10G breakout cable and send data to four 10GBASE-SR SFP+.

Second, MTP to LC breakout cable is suitable for high density network. It’s specifically designed for fast Ethernet, fiber channel, data center and gigabit Ethernet application. QSFP+ MTP to LC breakout cable is used for a direct connection between QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ ports with no patch panels or intermediate trunks in between. On one side, it’s an MTP connector with 8 or 12 fibers. On the other side, there are 4 duplex LC connectors. Each fiber cable transmits 10Gbps.

MTP-LC breakout cable

Differences of Two Solutions

Two methods of 10G to 40G migration over short distance have been introduced in above content. Comparing the two different solutions, you can find some obvious differences. The following lists some points for your convenience to make suitable decision.

  • Price—The second solution needs at one QSFP+, 4 SFP+ and an MTP-LC breakout cable. The price of these devices is higher than 40G QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC. So 40G QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC is cheaper.
  • Complexity—The second solution seems more complicated since it needs more optical equipment. You need to order and manage cables.
  • Distance—40G QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC can only support the distance up to 100 m. While using MTP-LC breakout cable, the link distance can reach 150 m over OM4 cable.
Conclusion

You must have a full understanding of these two solutions. 40G QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC is easier and cheaper than MTP to LC breakout cable. If you’re a new technician and have tight budget, you can buy AOC cable. But if you don’t care too much about money, you can select 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ and MTP to LC breakout cable to get a little longer link length. Hope this article can help you make the right decision.

How to Match Fiber Patch Cable for Your Multimode SFP?

When you prepare to connect some SFPs with fiber patch cords, you may find SFPs are multimode modules while your fiber cables are single-mode. Try to connect those optics to fiber cable, but no green light and the link fails. So multimode SFPs can’t work over single-mode fiber cables. To avoid the wasting of time and money, you should better know well about single-mode and multimode SFPs and fiber patch cords.

Single-mode and Multimode SFP

SFP, small form factor pluggable transceiver, can support the data rate up to 1Gbps. SFPs can be divided into single-mode and multimode modules.

For single-mode SFPs, there are “LX” for 1310 nm and “EX” “EZX” for 1550 nm. Single-mode SFPs are designed to transmit signals over long distances. For example, Cisco GLC-LH-SM-20 compatible 1000BASE-LX/LH SFP 1310nm 20km DOM transceiver, main product information is shown as follows:

  • Wavelength: 1310 nm
  • Interface: LC duplex
  • Max Cable Distance: 20 km
  • Max Data Rate: 1000Mbps
  • Cable Type: SMF

Comparatively, multimode SFPs are identified with “SX”. This kind of optics is specially for short distance data transmission. For instance, Cisco GLC-SX-MM compatible 1000BASE-SX SFP 850nm 550m transceiver, this is a typical multimode SFP.

  • Wavelength: 850 nm
  • Interface: LC duplex
  • Max Cable Distance: 550m over OM2 MMF
  • Max Data Rate: 1000Mbps
  • Cable Type: MMF

SFP-LX and SFP-SX

Single-mode Fiber Cable and Multimode Fiber Cable

Fiber patch cables are used to connect transceivers on your switch/device. You have to buy the right fiber cable type for your optics. Fiber cable has two different categories: single-mode and multimode.

Generally, single-mode fiber cable can support further distance because of lower attenuation, but the price is higher. While multimode fiber cable has a larger core, usually multimode fiber cable is constructed in 50/125 and 62.5/125. It allows multiple modes of light to propagate. When the light passes through the core, the light reflections increases and more data can be transmitted at given time. As the high dispersion during signal transmission, the link distance gets reduced. So multimode fiber cable is for short distance application. Multimode fiber cable is a little more complex than single-mode fiber cable since it includes four different types of OM1, OM2, OM3, OM4. OM1 and OM2 fiber patch cable can support the data rate up to 10Gbps. OM3 and OM4 are laser optimized so that they can be used in high density data center to support the data rate of 40Gbps and 100Gbps. The following table shows how long each kind of fiber cable can reach running at different data rate.

Fiber Mode Cable Type 1GbE 10GbE 40GbE 100GbE
Single-mode OS2 100km 40km 40km 40km
Multimode OM1 275m(SX) 33m(SR) / /
OM2 550m(SX) 82m(SR) / /
OM3 550m(SX) 300m(SR) 100m 100m
OM4 1000m(SX) 400m(SR) 150m 150m

Note: “SR” implies multimode 10Gpbs SFP+.

For more information about single-mode and multimode fiber cable, you can refer to my previous articles:
What Is Single Mode Fiber?
What Are OM1, OM2, OM3 and OM4?

Solutions for Multimode SFP

If you have Cisco Catalyst 3650 WS-C3650-48PS switches with 4x1G uplink ports, to build a 300m-network link, you are gonna purchase fiber patch cable and SFP modules. What kind of optical equipment should you choose?

As to the SFP module, you need Cisco GLC-SX-MM 1000BASE-SX SFP. Or you can spend less money on third-party SFPs with 100% compatibility. Next step, you need to find suitable fiber patch cable to match this type of SFP. Since 1000BASE-SX SFP is multimode, of course you need multimode fiber cable. Considering the distance of 300 meters, OM1 can only reach 275 meters. So OM2 is the best choice for it’s the cheapest and can reach 550 meters.

1000BASE-SX SFP connection

Conclusion

It’s obvious that multimode SFPs can’t work over single-mode fiber cables. When buying SFPs, watch the standards on the label carefully and find if it’s “SX” or “LX”, “EX”. If it shows “SX”, then find multimode fiber patch cable. It’s not very difficult to choose right cable for your SFP modules.

Tips for Fiber Cable Installation You Should Know

Fiber cable installation is not an easy task for most of us. It’s thought as the job of professional engineers since special training is needed during the complicated process. But it would be better if you know knowledge of fiber cable installation in case that you need to run fiber cable in your home or business. This article is going to offer you some tips for fiber cable installation.

fiber-cable-installation

Before Fiber Cable Installation

Before starting fiber cable installation, please make sure there is fiber optic service in your area. If it’s available, find the nearest distribution box. What you need to do is to run fiber cable from the box to your house.

A considerate plan is the first step of successful fiber cable installation. Carefully design the cabling route. It would be better if you mark where the cable goes, into the walls, or underground, or through conduit… Point out all the termination points and splice points. At the same time, write down any potential problems you may come across during the installation. A good plan is also beneficial to avoid fiber cable waste.

Once finish the plan, you’re going to buy fiber optic cable for your applications. Except fiber optic cable, you need tools for cable management & installation, fiber splicing and fiber testing. So make a shopping list for your fiber cable installation. Then select a reliable fiber cable supplier who can meet the requirements of both high quality and low cost.

During Fiber Cable Installation
What You Should Do

Leave spare cable length—Each fiber cable for installation should be a few inches longer than the plan says. Because you can’t make sure everything goes as you wish. So you should leave plenty of spare fiber cables when beginning cable installation work.

Avoid electrical interference—Though fiber cable is not as vulnerable to electrical noise as copper cables, some devices, such as the boxes for fluorescent lights, may cause interference. So keep your fiber cable three or more feet from those devices.

Avoid end face contamination—The tip of fiber optic connector can be easily contaminated or damaged. So leave protective caps on until you are ready to plug into the equipment. Don’t forget to inspecting the end face before plugging in. If there is any contaminate, clean it.

Fiber network testing—Test each section of your fiber optic network. That’s easy to discover the problem and troubleshoot it. Don’t do this work until you finish the entire cable installation. In that situation, it’s hard to find out the trouble if the network fails.

What You Should Not Do

Don’t bend fiber cables. Fiber optic cables perform the best when it is running straight. But during installation in reality, sometimes bending can’t be avoided. Cables from different vendors may have different standards of bend radius. Or you can buy bend insensitive fiber cable for better performance.

Don’t pull too hard on the cable. Properly pull the fiber cable to avoid bending or snagging through the conduit or underground. However, don’t pull it too hard especially when the fiber cable is too short. Otherwise, it would ruin the cable or fiber optic connector.

Don’t mix and match different core sizes. Fiber optic cables are typically color coded. From the outside cable jacket, you can get information about fiber core sizes. To know more about fiber cable jacket, you can visit my last blog What Can We Get From Fiber Cable Jacket?

Don’t pinch the fiber cable. Pinch the fiber cable can squeeze the fiber and affect link performance. When use zip-ties, pay attention to this point.

Conclusion

Once you finish fiber cable installation, you can enjoy fiber optic network. See, fiber cable installation is not as tough as you think. Follow these tips mentioned above when you run cables for your house, you can keep away from most bothering issues.

What Can We Get From Fiber Cable Jacket?

Fiber optic cable is applied as the most advanced communication medium by more and more users. Compared with copper cable, it can support more and better optical signal transmission of voice, data, video, etc. and offer many other advantages. When purchasing fiber optic cables, you must see the cable jacket at first. So what information does the outside jacket tell? What type of cable jacket should you select? Come with me to find the secrets of fiber cable jacket.

Fiber Cable Jacket Introduction

Fiber optic cable is constructed very complicated from the inside core, cladding, coating, strengthen fibers to the outside cable jacket. The core made of plastic or glass is the physical medium for optical signal transmission. As bare fiber can be easily broken, cable outer jacket is needed for fiber protection. The cable jacket is the first line of moisture, mechanical, flame and chemical defense for a cable. Without the jacket, fiber optic cables are very likely to be damaged during and after installation.

fiber-cable-jacket

Fiber Cable Jacket Characteristics

In most situations, robust cable jacket is better because the environment above or underground may be harsh. For better applications, you’d better take cable jacket seriously. Cable jacket is not as easy as you think. There are many characteristics you need to consider. Except the flexibility, it should withstand very low and high temperature. Whether the cable jacket has the good features of chemical and flame resistance. All these characteristics depend on cable jacket materials.

Fiber Cable Jacket Materials

Cable jacket is made of various types of materials. As mentioned above, the cable jacket should stand the test of different environmental conditions, including the harsh temperature, the sun & the rain, chemicals, abrasion, and so on. The following shows several common cable jacket materials for your reference.

PE (Polyethylene)—PE is the standard jacket material for outdoor fiber optic cables. It has excellent properties of moisture and weather resistance. It also has the good electrical properties over a wide temperature range. Besides, it’s abrasion resistant.

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride )—PVC is flexible and fire-retardant. It can be used as the jacket materials for both indoor and outdoor cables. PVC is more expensive than PE.

LSZH (Low Smoke Zero Halogen)—LSZH jacket is free of halogenated materials which can be transformed into toxic and corrosive matte during combustion. LSZH materials are used to make a special cable called LSZH cable. LSZH cables produce little smoke and no toxic halogen compounds when these cables catch fire. Based on the benefits, LSZH cable is a good choice for inner installations.

Fiber Cable Jacket Color

Fiber cable jacket color depends on the fiber cable type. Fiber cable includes single-mode and multimode types. For single-mode fiber cable (Blog about single-mode fiber cable please read my blog What Are OM1, OM2, OM3 and OM4?), the jacket color is typically yellow. While for multimode cable ( more details on multimode fiber cable ), the jacket color can be orange (OM1&OM2 cable), aqua (OM3 cable) and purple (OM4 cable). For outside plant cables, the jacket color is black.

How to Choose Fiber Cables?

To choose a fiber optic cable depends on your own applications. I’ll talk about this from two sides of jacket color and jacket material. The cable jacket color is not just for good looking. Different color means different fiber mode. Which one suits you the most, the yellow or orange fiber cable? You should know well about the color codes before buying your fiber cables. What’s more, you should also consider the installation requirements and environmental or long-term requirements. Where will be your fiber cables installed, inside or outside the building? Will your cables be exposed to hash environment very long? This can help you decide which jacket material is the best.

Summary

As a popular data transmission medium, fiber cable plays an important role in communication field. To some degree, the success of fiber connectivity lies in a right fiber cable. How to buy suitable fiber optic cables? This article describes the method from cable jacket. When selecting fiber cable, many other factors still need to be considered. Hope you can get your own fiber cable.

Fiber Optic Components for Building 10G Data Centers

10 Gigabit Ethernet is a telecommunication technology that can support the network speed up to 10 billion bits per second. It’s also known as 10GbE. As 10GbE greatly increases bandwidth, many companies start to upgrade the data centers to meet their growing needs. How to build a 10G data center? What kind of equipment will be used except the switch? This article will recommend you some basic 10G solutions.

10G SFP+ (small form-factor pluggable plus) modules are hot swappable transceivers that plug into SFP+ slots on switches and support 10G data center. With small form factor, SFP+ transceivers can ensure low power disruption and high port density. Since it’s hot pluggable, the transceiver modules can be added or removed without interrupting the whole network. And SFP+ modules deliver data transmission speed of up to 10Gbit/s, which is 10 times faster than Gigabit Ethernet.

10g-sfp-module

Currently, a wide variety of SFP+ modules can be purchased in the market. For the long distance transmission, modules include SFP-10GBASE-LR, SFP-10GBASE-ER, SFP-10GBASE-ZR, CWDM SFP+ and DWDM SFP+. For the short distance transmission, there are modules like SFP 10GBASE-SR, SFP-10GBASE-LRM. Brands are also versatile such as Cisco, Juniper, Arista, Brocade, etc. To get modules with lower costs, you can pick third-party transceivers which are compatible with these original brands.

Patch cables contain both fiber and copper types. Fiber patch cords, as one of the data transmission media, enjoy great popularity because they have large transmission capacity, strong anti-electromagnetic interference, high security and fast speed. LC fiber patch cord is one of the most common cables for 10G data center, covering single-mode and multimode categories respectively for data transmission over long distance and short distance. To increase panel density, flexible HD LC push-pull tab fiber patch cable is designed. With its unique design, this patch cable allows the connector to be disengaged easily from densely loaded panels without the need for special tools and give users easy accessibility in narrow areas for data center deployment applications. Another special LC patch cord is uniboot patch cord. It utilizes a special “round duplex” cable that allows duplex transmission within a single cable. It’s good for saving cable management space comparing to standard patch cords.

lc-patch-cable

10G SFP+ Direct Attach Cable Assemblies

10G SFP+ direct attach cable (DAC ) is a cost-effective solution for 10G data center. It’s a low-power alternative to optical SFP+ system. The 10G SFP+ cables provide low-cost and reliable 10G speed with either copper cables over distances up to 10 m or active optical cables reaching distances up to 100 m. Because there is no need for spending on fiber optic transceivers and cables. This kind of cables contain 10G SFP+ copper cables, both passive and active and active optical cable (AOC). Active copper cable and AOC are designed for long distance connection, while passive copper cable is for short distance, such as the interconnection of top-of-rack switches with application servers and storage devices in a rack.

10g-sfp-cables

Fiber Enclosure

Fiber enclosure is an equipment you must have in data centers. This component is used to provide a flexible and modular system for managing fiber terminations, connections, and patching in high density data center application to maximize rack space utilization and minimize floor space. Fiber enclosure can be divided into different configurations like rack mount (available in 1U, 2U, 3U, 4U), wall mount, indoor or outdoor. The rack mount enclosure come into three flavors. One is the slide-out type and the other two are removable type and swing out type. Fiberstore introduces high density fiber enclosures with 48 ports, 96 ports and even 288 ports loaded LC FAPs (fiber adapter panels) in 1RU or 4RU rack mount for 10G solutions. Or if you already have the unloaded fiber enclosures, you just need to buy fiber adapter panels.

288-pors-4u-patch-panel-enclosure

Conclusion

To build a 10G data center, you have to prepare the components, for instance, 10G SFP+ modules, LC patch cables, 10G SFP+ cables, fiber enclosures, etc. You may also need other instruments for testing and cable organization. And all those equipment can be got from FS.COM with higher quality but fewer costs. For more information, you can contact us via sales@fs.com.

Advice on Patch Cable Selection for Optical Transceiver

Fiber optic network connection can’t be achieved without optical transceiver and patch cable. Optical transceiver varies from transmission media, interface, transmission distance, data rate, and brand, for example, SFP for 1000Mbps, SFP+ for 10G, QSFP+ for 40G, CFP and QSFP28 for 100G. It’s not difficult to identify these optical transceiver. But when you connect the optical transceiver to the patch cable, many details need to be noticed. This article will give you advice on how to choose the suitable patch cable for your optical transceiver.

Transmission Media—Copper & Fiber

According to transmission media of fiber optic and copper, transceivers can be divided into two kinds, copper based transceivers and fiber optic based transceivers. MSA has defined several copper based transceiver like: 100BASE-T, 1000BASE-T and 10GBASE-T. Copper transceivers are available in GBIC, SFP and SFP+ form factors, which usually has a RJ45 interface. So Cat5/6/7 cables are typically used to connect with the transceivers. Maybe Cat8 will be researched and developed to support higher data rate up to 40G sooner or later.

optical-transceiver-rj45-interface

As to fiber optic transceivers, things are more complex. For that fiber optic transceivers require different fiber patch cords which have more types. Fiber patch cables cover single-mode and multimode. Single-mode patch cable can be classified into OS1 and OS2. While multimode cables can be divided into OM1, OM2, OM3, OM4 cable. Different cables are used in different applications. Single-mode cable can support long distance transmission and multimode cable for short distance link. If the transmission distance is shorter than 500 meters, multimode patch cable is suggested. For long distance transmission, single-mode transmission is suggested. You patch-cableshould also consider that the transmission data rate can also affect the transmission distance. Let’s look at the following point.

Supported Distance and Data Rate

MSA has defined a variety of transceivers that can support different transmission distances and data rates. When you buy a fiber optic transceiver, you will find the data rate, wavelength, distance, etc. on its labeling. The following table show the basic information of most often used transceivers and supported cable type.

Description Wavelengh Data Rate Cable Type Distance
SX 850nm 1G MM 500 m
LX 1310nm 1G SM 8 km
EX 1310nm 1G SM 40 km
ZX 1550nm 1G SM 70 km
SR 850nm 10G MM 300 m
LR 1310nm 10G SM 10 km
ER 1550nm 10G SM 40 km
ZR 1550nm 10G SM 80 km
SR4 850nm 40G MM 100 m
SR10 850nm 100G MM 100 m
LR4 1310nm 40G SM 10 km

As mentioned before, single-mode patch cable is better for long distance transmission and multimode patch cable for short distance transmission. Actually single-mode patch cords can be used for different data rates in both long and short distances. But single-mode fiber optic cable will cost more. To achieve reliable performance in short distances with cost effective solutions, you should know the performance of multimode fiber optic cables. The following chart provides the detailed transmission distances and data rates information for different multimode fiber optic cables over wavelength of 850 nm for your reference.

Fiber Type 1G 10G 40/100G
OM1 300 m 36 m N/A
OM2 500 m 86 m N/A
OM3 1 km 300 m 100 m
OM4 1 km 550 m 150 m
Transceiver Interfaces

The selection of patch cable for transceiver should also consider the interfaces through which patch cords is connected to the transceiver. In addition, transceiver usually used one port for transmitting and one port for receiving. Generally, fiber optic transceivers usually employs duplex SC or LC interfaces. However, for BiDi transceivers only one port is used for both transmitting and receiving. Thus, simplex patch cord is used with BiDi transceiver.

Some 40G/100GBASE QSFP+ transceivers used MTP/MPO interfaces, which should be connected to the network with multi-fiber patch cords attached with MTP/MPO connectors. If these ports are used for 40G to 10G or 100G to 10G connection, then fanout patch cable should be used. For example, a MTP to 8 LC fanout cable can splitter 40G data rate to four 10G data rate.

Summary

Next time when you select patch cords for your fiber optic transceivers, you can consider these factors like transmission media, transmission data rate and distance, transceiver interfaces. FS.COM offers a wide range of fiber optic transceivers and patch cords. Custom service is also available. Any problem, please contact us via sales@fs.com.