The Role Packet Loss Plays in IT and OT Network Performance

Nobody likes a bad packet.

Depending on the network architecture, however, IT and OT network managers look at packet loss differently.

The impact of packet loss

Packet loss negatively impacts IT/OT convergence by reducing throughput and increasing latency. IT and OT network managers look at packet loss differently.

Why do these managers have unique reasons for wanting to banish bad packets? Panduit’s “What is the Impact of Packet Loss?” white paper answers this question, by discussing issues both IT and OT managers encounter as they transform their networks to support business success in the IIoT era.

Reduced throughput
IT network managers dislike packet loss because it steals valuable bandwidth, reducing the link’s available throughput. Typical latency of the enterprise network is responsive enough for their applications.

There is an insatiable appetite for more throughput in enterprise networks, however, not to mention the demand from the myriad connected devices in our homes and in our offices.

A corrupted packet reduces throughput when the switch discards the packet, and again when it is re-sent – essentially causing the packet to be sent twice and reducing a network’s available throughput.

Increased latency
OT network managers look at corrupted packets through a different lens. On the factory floor, a network’s latency is more important than bandwidth or throughput.

For example, when a sensor on the factory floor sends a packet to request an action, it needs the response in milliseconds. The corrupted packet cannot deliver the request, and the retransmission delays the decision on the appropriate action to take. This event can be costly.

IT/OT Convergence
According to Craig Resnick, vice president of ARC Advisory Group, “to properly address the issue of minimizing the corruption of packets requires the convergence of IT and OT, both from a networking infrastructure perspective and a human resources perspective. Converged network architectures bring together IT and OT systems that have long remained separate. As a result, IT and OT professionals who previously only oversaw their own individual systems now must also understand the counterpart technologies to, for example, help eliminate corrupted packets.”

To learn more about the impact of packet loss and how to minimize corrupt packets, no matter your network perspective, download Panduit’s “What is the Impact of Packet Loss?” white paper – or subscribe to our blog to receive our complete 4-part series of IoT 101 white papers.

 

4 Factors Impacting IIoT Technology Right Now

Bandwidth has a major impact on IIoT technology and your IoT network – it’s one of four requirements that have enabled IIoT applications to flourish.

4 Factors Impacting IIoT Technology

There are four factors that are currently contributing to the growth of IIoT technology. Bandwidth is an underlying component that affects this growth.

Panduit’s white paper, “The Ubiquity of Bandwidth” discusses four reasons IIoT is trending now and how bandwidth plays an integral role in IT/OT data gathering and analytics.

Why is IIoT Happening Now?

What has occurred to propel the IIoT into one of the most popular concepts in IT/OT?

1. Smartphone/Tablet — The widespread adoption of smartphones and tablets has made us comfortable with small devices that provide information and interact with us.

2. The Internet — The Internet, or more specifically, the World Wide Web, is an intricate part of our lives; it is no longer a novelty. We have become accustomed to having our devices access vast amounts of data or upload our personal data to the cloud.

3. Cost — The cost of computing and communications has dropped to a level that makes IoT affordable.

4. Bandwidth — We are used to the increasing speeds of our communication networks but there is another aspect of communications-bandwidth is everywhere.

The Ubiquity of Bandwidth

At the dawn of the computer era, there was only one way to connect devices: wires. Times have changed.

Today, network connections can take many forms: DSL, cable TV plant (FTTx, cable modem), wired Ethernet, Fibre Channel, or Industrial Ethernet for the factory floor.

More impressive is the number of ways to connect wirelessly including Bluetooth, LTE, 5G, satellite, ZigBee, and Wi-Fi.

We now take these connections for granted. Today’s smartphone seamlessly switches between the cellular data network and Wi-Fi.

A decade ago, it would have been unthinkable to see passengers on a commuter train passing the time by streaming their favorite TV program to their hand-held device.

Another aspect of today’s communications links is that they are always on— ever-present. Having to wait for the dial-up modems to train themselves and synchronize is ancient history.

Bandwidth is everywhere. It is this ubiquity of bandwidth that is a necessary component for making the IoT possible.

To learn more about how bandwidth affects your IIoT network, download Panduit’s “The Ubiquity of Bandwidth” white paper – or subscribe to our blog to access all the papers in our IoT “101” white paper series.

 

Which Optical Fiber Should You Use: OM4+ or OM5 Fiber?

Since the TIA ratified the specification for OM5, a wideband multimode optical fiber (WB-MMF), customers that are thinking about upgrading their existing infrastructure, or building out new, are asking a question: Should they deploy OM5 fiber?

I’ll get to the answer in a bit.  First, let’s talk about what OM5 is.

OM5 is essentially an OM4 fiber that has an additional bandwidth specification at 953nm.  Both OM4 and OM5 have bandwidths specified as 4,700MHz•km at 850nm, and OM5 has a bandwidth specification of 2,450MHz•km at 953nm.  OM4 does not have a bandwidth specified at 953nm.

OM5 was designed to be used with optical modules that employ Shortwave Wavelength Division Multiplexing (SWDM).  These new SWDM modules use four wavelengths that span from 850nm through 953nm, to implement 100Gbps links.

Each wavelength is modulated at 25Gbps and by multiplexing them together, one attains 100Gbps.  See figure 1.  Given what wavelengths are used in SWDM optical modules, it is easy to see why the OM5 standard was developed.

OM5 signature core fiber

OM5 was designed to be used with optical modules that employ Shortwave Wavelength Division Multiplexing

Figure 1 – Implementing SWDM

Back to the question.

You only need to consider using OM5 if you plan on deploying 100Gbps links using SWDM optical modules AND need to reach out past 100m.

The interest in using SWDM optical modules is that they allow deploying a 100Gbps link over duplex MMFs, rather than taking up eight parallel fibers required when using 100GBASE-SR4.  SWDM allows reusing the existing duplex fiber infrastructure.

However, there are many more ideal alternatives for deploying 100Gbps over duplex fibers, such as 100G BiDi, or using PAM4 modulation to achieve the higher data rate.

The other alternatives do not suffer from SWDM’s shortcomings, such as higher cost, higher operating temperatures, and the inability to support breakout applications.  If you still are thinking about using SWDM 100G optical modules, and the reach is under 100m, then one would be better off using standard OM3 or OM4, as it is less expensive than OM5.

If extended reach is needed, say for 40G BiDi, the better alternative to OM5 fiber would be our OM4 Signature Core MMF.  Our OM4 Signature Core MMF can reach out to 200m using 40G BiDi, while OM5 will only reach out to 150m, the same as OM4.

That is because at the wavelengths used by BiDi modules, OM5 fiber is no better than OM4.  In fact, OM4 Signature Core has outperformed standard OM5 fiber in several head-to-head competitions conducted at end-user sites.

If the decision is to use 100G SWDM modules AND you need to reach longer than 150m, the better fiber to use would be our OM5 Signature Core MMF.  Our OM5 Signature Core MMF uses the same reach-enhancing technology as our OM4 Signature Core, so you can take advantage of reaches greater than the standard by 20%.

For an in-depth explanation on how our OM4 Signature Core and OM5 Signature Core MMFs are able to achieve extended distances, please visit our Signature Core landing page, where you will find everything you need to know about Signature Core MMFs.

Better yet, view the recorded webinar, Where Do We Go From Here? A Fork in the Road for Multimode Fiber, presented by Robert Reid, our senior technical manager with our Data Center business unit.  In the webinar, not only does Robert talk about our Signature Core MMF, but also OM5, SWDM, and other topics surrounding multimode optical fiber and modules.

Finally, you can download our ebook for a comparison of the various fiber type.

3 Technology Advances Drive IIoT — and its Demand for Real-Time Data

 

Real-Time Data White Paper

What is the impact on the enterprise data center when it tries to process real-time data from IIoT devices?

Deploying IIoT generates data that needs to be collected, analyzed, and acted on in real time.

What exactly is real time and how does it affect your network’s infrastructure?

Panduit’s latest white paper, “What is the Impact of Real-Time Data?”  explains the relationship between process control and real-time data.

What is Real Time?

The definition varies, but generally, a real-time system is one that provides a smooth, seamless user experience.

This is certainly the case when watching HDTV or listening to streaming music. The video frames and audio samples arrive quickly enough and at the right time.

This allows the viewer or listener to integrate them into a smooth experience rather than discrete samples.

This definition also applies to digital control systems implemented on the factory floor or a flight control system. In those applications, if the digital control system does not respond fast enough, bad things can happen.

Process Control is Generating Real-Time Data

End users and manufacturers of IIoT technology are using three concurrent technological advances to deploy IIoT: sensors, Moore’s Law, and the ubiquity of bandwidth.

Without them, the IIoT and the linkage of the factory floor to the enterprise data center would not be possible.

  1. Sensors—Sensors like microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) accelerometers, gyroscopes, and inertial measurement units (IMU), have become small enough with a reduced cost, making wide deployment practical.
  2. Moore’s Law—Doubling the number of transistors in an integrated circuit every two years has resulted in small, cheap CPUs and memories.  The Raspberry Pi single board computer is an example.
  3. The Ubiquity of Bandwidth—IIoT devices that gather data need to send that data upstream for analysis. The ability to connect to a network is available everywhere. There is a wide range of ways IIoT devices can connect to the network, for example, copper or fiber optic cabling, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, and cellular, to name a few.

Deploying IIoT devices generates large amounts of data that must be analyzed and acted upon in real time.

To learn more about the impact of real-time requirements on your network’s infrastructure, download Panduit’s “What is the Impact of Real-Time Data?  white paper – or subscribe to our blog to receive our complete 4-part series of IoT 101 white papers.

 

The Problem with High Density Fiber Enclosures – and the Solution

Last week I posted a blog about what is driving the adoption of high density fiber enclosures. High density fiber enclosures can help reduce the high cost of real estate. Possibly, one might find themselves with a data center where space is constrained so a high density fiber enclosure can help ease those space constraints.   I also said that high density fiber enclosures are used in data centers that are revenue generators because they make it possible to include more revenue-generating active equipment.

So a high density fiber enclosure helps add more equipment to a finite amount of space, but, as they say, there is no free lunch.

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What Is Driving Adoption of High Density Fiber Enclosures?

Real estate is one of the primary reasons that high density fiber enclosures are deployed in the data center. In some parts of the world, real estate is very expensive. One way to save cap ex is to try to use the smallest data center possible. The smaller the data center, the less square area required, and therefore, lower cap ex. This would certainly be the case if one is using a co-lo facility. Of course, a smaller data center also means lower op ex, e.g., less cooling, etc.

Another reason, also driven by real estate, is that the data center’s size is fixed. The data center cannot be enlarged. This might be the situation in dense urban areas where a larger space does not exist. The only way to add more functionality to the data center is to try and find a way to cram in more equipment. Hence, using a high density fiber enclosure.

Another less obvious reason for using a high density fiber enclosure is the trend towards data centers becoming profit centers. Historically, data centers were perceived as a cost of doing business. Depending on the business you are in, that may no longer be the case.

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Choosing the Right Media Type for 10 Gig Ethernet

You are ready to deploy 10 gigabit Ethernet, but what media type should you use?  As you might suspect, that is not a straightforward question to answer.  There are several things you need to consider before making the right choice, and some of the choices may be contradictory.

Does you data center require using a structured cabling solution?  If so, then you will most like stay away from Direct Attach Cable (DAC) assemblies used for 10GBASE-CR because that is a point-to-point solution, and lean toward 10GBASE-T.

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Hasn’t Everyone Deployed 10G Ethernet?

The other day I was participating in a conversation with a customer about LAN and SAN speeds greater than 10G. It was a good conversation and the customer had numerous questions about migrating to 40G Ethernet; what is happening with 100G Ethernet, using multiple fibers for Fibre Channel, etc.

Toward the end of the conversation I asked them about their plans regarding deploying 40G Ethernet. They replied that they had no immediate plans for deploying 40G and that the reason they wanted to talk about it was to make sure that their LAN infrastructure could support it in the future. They plan on deploying 10G Ethernet in the new data center.

That revelation hit me with the same impact as participating in an ice bucket challenge.

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Practicing Good Fiber Hygiene

There is something lurking about in today’s data centers that is not mentioned in polite company and quite frankly, is ignored. Although it will not go away, one hopes that it will not rise up and wreak havoc, bringing the enterprise to a halt.

That’s right . . . bad fiber hygiene!

EEEK!

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Choosing the Right Media Type

One of the frequent questions we hear from our customers has to do with choosing the right media type for their data center. On the surface, it would seem the answer is obvious: use copper between the servers and first tier of switches and use optical fiber everywhere else. Although you might find yourself nodding in agreement, that answer does not really address the real question.

The real questions is: what is the right media type for maximizing what is important to you or minimizing what is costing you?

Let’s take a look at just one of the factors you might consider when looking at the various media types: latency.

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