The condition and characteristics of fiber optic connectors greatly affects the performance of an installed fiber optic link. High connector loss (e.g., insertion loss), low return loss, or high reflectance will impair an application (i.e. 10GBASE-LRM) from running on a network. A high return loss is a good thing and usually results in low insertion loss. Let’s examine the differences between these three terms because they can be confusing.
Fiber to the Desk (FTTD) applications have long been lumped in with other FTTX applications with the “X” signifying a variety of fiber optic access points, including Fiber to the Home (FTTH), Fiber to the Premise (FTTP), Fiber to the Curb (FTTC) and Fiber to the Building (FTTB). But it’s important to remember that FTTD is a premise application while many of the others are considered outside plant.
Regardless of the size and type of the data center, the switching topology and the applications, the underlying cabling infrastructure that creates all the links needed to connect data center equipment follows the same basic design principles established by industry standards. These standards were developed on the basis that regardless of business activity or size, all data centers have similar needs that include providing secure, uninterrupted availability, performance and reliability.
While the number of hyperscale data centers in the world is only estimated at around 300, with half of these belonging to U.S.-based companies (Think Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Ebay and Twitter) and another 100 hyperscale data centers expected by the end of 2018, we are constantly hearing rumbles about these unique spaces.
Plus, hyperscales tend to be key drivers behind data center technologies, trends and applications—not to mention standards development. Would the IEEE really be working on 400 Gig if it weren’t for these giants?
We all know that dirty fiber connector end faces can cause loss and reflection, which is why they need to be cleaned and inspected before making that final connection. But what if you’ve properly cleaned and inspected the fiber end face for contamination, tested it using the FI-7000 FiberInspector Pro, and the connector still doesn’t pass muster? Maybe, just maybe, you have a connector end face that doesn’t meet end face geometry parameters.
Not Too High, Not Too Low
Equipment cords are an integral part of any network—whether it’s a fiber jumper used to make connections between fiber patching areas and switches in the data center or a copper patch cord out in the LAN to connect end devices to the work area outlet.
While neatly combed bundles of cables might look really nice in exposed overhead cable trays and in racks and cabinets, this aesthetically pleasing deployment isn’t always a thing of beauty when it comes to performance.
Sometimes this can be hard to explain to your customers who seem to care more about how the cable looks versus how well their data transmits.
Some Things Are Better Kept Natural
Fluke Networks has long provided educational content on anything and everything to do with testing network cabling systems—from standards and best practices, to application assurance and tricks of the trade.
With the Internet of Things (IoT) and the development of sensor technology, more and more devices are becoming IP enabled and connecting to the copper horizontal cabling infrastructure. Most of these devices such as LED lights, security cameras, building automation controls, and Wi-Fi access points include an integrated RJ45 port for connecting to the network.