Furthering the discussion of 40G and 100G cabling

CommScope’s research-and-development director explains twisted-pair and multimode-fiber options for the data center.

Fresh off his participation in a web seminar on 40G and 100G cabling, research-and-development director of CommScope’s transmission solutions department, Richard Mei, posted to the CommScopeBlogs website an entry titled “The Conversation Continues: Where We Stand on 40G and 100G Cabling Systems.” In the post he states boldly (literally, the words are in bold type), “The need for higher speeds of 40/100G in the data center is certainly clear, but how to implement this in a cost-effective manner is not as straightforward.”

Much of the post summarizes activities of the multiple standards bodies involved in the creation of 40/100G transmission specifications as well as those of the cabling systems to support those speeds—namely, the IEEE, ISO/IEC and TIA. Among the groups referenced in Mei’s post are the IEEE’s 802.3bj (100-Gbit/sec Backplane and Copper Cable Task Force); 802.3bm (40-Gbit/sec and 100-Gbit/sec Fiber Optic Task Force); 802.3bq (40GBase-T Task Force); and the 400-Gbit/sec Ethernet Study Group.

Acknowledging that there is a tremendous amount of information to digest related to 40-, 100 and even 400-Gbit/sec transmission speeds, Mei emphasizes, “The most important aspect to know is that there is a proven method for organizations to upgrade to a 40G and 100G network by utilizing a cost-effective multimode option. With extended-reach transceivers, data center managers won’t get stuck with an expensive singlemode solution. A viable option to achieve a 40GBase-T Ethernet can happen with the use of twisted-pair cabling.”

The blog post includes a five-minute Q-and-A video with Mei focusing on 40GBase-T. The video highlights the demonstration, conducted earlier this year, of a Category 8 structured cabling channel. Also in the video, Mei answers questions about 40GBase-T, including the data center needs it addresses, the need for a new cabling performance level (Category 8) to support 40GBase-T, and lessons learned from the development of 10GBase-T that are being applied to 40GBase-T.

You can read Richard Mei’s full blog post, and watch the video Q&A, here.

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