A fiber feast

In addition to delivery via email or snail mail to all our regular subscribers, this issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance will be distributed at the OFC (Optical Fiber Communication) Conference, which will be held in San Francisco in early March.

Patrick 2010

From the February, 2014 Issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine

In addition to delivery via email or snail mail to all our regular subscribers, this issue of Cabling Installation & Maintenance will be distributed at the OFC (Optical Fiber Communication) Conference, which will be held in San Francisco in early March. And what better issue to send to a conference on optical communications than this one? This month our pages explore many of the levels on which optical communications and associated fiber-optic cabling systems are reaching ever-deeper into enterprise networks.

Certainly the boldest statement to that effect comes from widely recognized fiber evangelist Jim Hayes, whose article on optical LANs (beginning on page 5) includes this quote: "It's time! You are going to pull out all that Category 5 and recycle it." Years ago, such a statement would rightly be considered hyperbole. But in early 2014, the topic of optical LANs (or OLANs, or passive optical LANs, or whatever term you've heard to describe them) is making that consideration a very practical one.

And that's just the beginning of our look at fiber-based technologies. We also examine emerging data center network architectures and how they are likely to impact the migration from current 10-Gbit/sec transmission speeds to the 40- and 100-Gbit/sec transmission speeds of the not-too-distant future. The article beginning on page 13 even mentions the early developmental stages of 400-Gbit/sec Ethernet, and the reality that one iteration of 400G will be a scheme in which 16 multimode fibers each transmit 25 Gbits/sec (and 16 other multimode fibers each receive 25 Gbits/sec, of course).

A little later this year, we also will have a presence at a new event focused on optical communication. Our sister brand Lightwave will host its Lightwave Optical Innovation Summit in Austin, TX in mid-July. I was fortunate enough to sit in on some of the planning for that event's conference program. Details are available at lightwavesummit.com, but I can tell you that cabling technologies and the cabling trade are well represented.

Lest you think we have forgotten about the criticality of copper-based networks in enterprises, data centers and elsewhere, you are never really more than one issue away from a full menu of copper-based information. After all, last month's issue included an article actually titled "Testing the testers that will test Category 8." Not everyone is taking Jim Hayes's recommendation as a direct order. At least not yet. More next month.

Patrick 2010Patrick McLaughlin
Chief Editor patrick@pennwell.com

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