CommScope, partners developing multimode fiber to support 100G over one pair

Sept. 25, 2014
CommScope is calling the new fiber type WBMMF—wide band multimode fiber—a technology that will support wave-division multiplexing.

In a recent post to CommScope’s blog titled “The Next Generation of Multimode Fiber,” Paul Kolesar revealed the company has been working with partners to develop a new type of multimode fiber that will be designed specifically to support wave-division multiplexing (WDM) applications as well as the applications traditionally supported by OM3 and OM4 multimode. CommScope refers to the forthcoming fiber type as WBMMF—wide band multimode fiber. Once developed the fiber will be incorporated into fiber-optic cable. Kolesar, an engineering fellow in CommScope’s enterprise solutions division, said the company “is working diligently with leading ecosystem partners in the fiber, transceiver, server/switch and high-performance computing industries to foster coordinated development of both new fiber technology and new transceiver technology.”

The need for a WDM-capable multimode fiber has made itself evident, Kolesar explained. After describing how parallel optics technology is used to support current generations of 40-, 100- and even 400-Gbit Ethernet, as well as 128-Gibt/sec Fibre Channel, he said, “Existing OM3 and OM4 multimode fibers have a rather limited ability to support high-speed transmission using wavelengths different than the 850-nm wavelength for which they are optimized. However, a new generation of multimode fiber greatly expands that ability while retaining support for legacy 850-nm applications. WBMMF can support four or more wavelengths to significantly improve capacity. For example, this new type of fiber could enable transmission of 100 Gbits/sec over a single pair of fibers, rather than the 4 or 10 pairs used today.”

He said CommScope and its partners “will bring proposals into standards committees starting with the Telecommunications Industry Association TR-42 meeting next month.”

Read Paul Kolesar’s full blog post here.

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