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Networking Hardware | News

Siemon Says Cables Adhere to New 40 and 100 Gbps Ethernet Standard

Siemon, a company that produces network cabling, has confirmed adherence of its twisted-pair and optical fiber products to the new IEEE standard 802.3ba-2010, which lays out two new Ethernet speeds, 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps.

"These standards are a clear signal to users [mostly in the data center] that the high-speed applications are real and that they need to start preparing," said Brian Duval, marketing communications manager for the company. "Although many forward-thinking organizations--universities commonly being among these early-adopters--began implementing cabling infrastructures that could support higher speeds before the actual availability of equipment as a future-proofing move, many others chose to wait for the complete picture. The picture now is just about complete, [and] the move is on."

The company offers several products that it reported will support the new high-speed benchmark:

  • 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps support of up to 100 meters over Siemon's XGLO OM3 multimode optical fiber and MTP connectivity in short reach mode. The XGLO OM4 extends that to 150 meters.
  • 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps support of up to 10 kilometers over the XGLO single mode optical fiber and LC connectivity in long reach mode. Extended reach mode supports 100 Gbps up to 40 kilometers.
  • 40 Gbps support of up to 16 feet over Siemon's QSFP+ passive copper high speed interconnect assemblies.
  • 40 Gbps support of up to 4 kilometers over Siemon's Moray QSFP+ active optical cable assemblies.

According to Duval, international standards recommend that all new data center infrastructure be at least 10 Gbps-capable, which is what traditional structured cabling options are limited to. "This is fine for most data center needs and will be well into the future. But with the advent of 40 and 100 Gbps, there are specific equipment-to-equipment connections that can benefit from higher bandwidth," he said.

That's where high-speed interconnects come in, usually twin axial copper or optical fiber with QSFP, QSFP+, SFP, SFP+, SFF, or MTP interfaces, he explained. These interfaces, which directly attach a piece of network equipment to another piece of equipment (such as a switch to a server) function as "multi-lane channels capable of up to 100 Gbps depending on configuration."

But that high bandwidth also comes with limitations, Duval pointed out. "Many high speed interconnects are length-limited," he said. "While that typically does not pose an insurmountable challenge in the data center, where channel lengths are shorter, it does limit infrastructure design options. Equipment connected through [these] point-to-point interconnects will have to be installed in close proximity."

Also, he noted, most of these cables are designed for a specific application or equipment type, manufacturer, or model. "As such, they're best suited for stable core infrastructure connectivity, and in that configuration are an excellent high-speed, future-proof option."

Duval said that in the more dynamic portions of the data center, "where new equipment is continually added and new users are regularly being provisioned," 10 Gbps structured cabling is still the most flexible and cost effective option.

"Siemon has always been on the cutting edge with our twisted-pair and optical fiber cabling solutions, and our new high speed interconnect technology enables us to support Ethernet deployment across the entire breadth of possible data center configurations," said CTO John Siemon. "By extending our family of cabling products, we are able to support both traditional structured cabling as well as factory pre-configured unified architecture deployments to meet our customers' data center needs."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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