Helping You Manage Your Network: Tapped Fiber Cassettes

Data center networks are becoming more and more complex making it more difficult to trouble shoot and balance traffic within LANs and SANs. That is why more network architects and data center managers are deploying Tapped Fiber optic Cassettes (TFC).

Basic TFC Usage TFCs give network analyzers, packet brokers, and other pieces of test equipment access to the fiber link.

So, what are TFCs and how do they work?

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Reaching for 40GBASE-T

When developing a new networking standard, several attributes need to be balanced to optimize its implementation.  To optimize the implementation of 40GBASE-T, the task force developing the standard (IEEE P802.3bq) appears to have settled on a reach of 30 meters.  This is a tradeoff between power dissipation of the silicon physical layer (PHY) IC driving the cable, the complexity of the PHY which would impact cost, the implementation of the channel, and the reach of the link.

The question is: Is 30 meters long enough?  Let’s take a look.

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FCoE using 10GBASE-T

A converged fabric based on Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) helps data center architects and managers reduce CAPEX, OPEX, while simplifying the network infrastructure.  Up until recently, there was something hindering the adoption of FCoE: 10GBASE-T.

Historically, deploying FCoE on the links between servers and aggregation switches meant that one had to use optical fiber or Direct Attach Copper (DAC) cable assemblies.  The first generation of aggregation switches that supported 10GBASE-T did not support FCoE.  Additionally, 10GBASE-T Ethernet server adapters did not support FCoE as well, and FCoE was only available with Converged Network Adapters (CAN) that supported the SFP+ form factor.  That meant one could implement ToR architectures with FCoE using DAC cable assemblies or other architectures using optical fiber for longer distances.

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A New Way to Deploy 40G Ethernet? Cisco’s BiDi

In early November, Cisco launched its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).  ACI includes a new line of Nexus 9000 series switches, a new version of NX-OS and a policy controller called Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC).  We at Panduit were proud to be a part of the launch.

As a part of that launch, Cisco announced a new technology for deploying 40G Ethernet that has so far, received little attention.  Cisco calls that technology BiDi.

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Bend Insensitive Multimode Fiber in My Data Center?

I’d like to bend your ear a bit today on the topic of bend insensitive multimode optical fiber (BIMMF). When bend insensitive multimode fiber made its debut a few years ago, we urged end-users to use caution if they were going to adopt it in their data centers.

Since the existing fiber and measurement procedures were not designed to accommodate the intentional improvements in BIMMF’s performance nor the unintentional side-effects caused by the revised fiber design, the providers of BIMMF could have differences in how they define what BIMMF is and how they measure the various parameters of the fiber. Our concerns centered on whether differences in how the various providers of BIMMF measured its numerical aperture, core diameter, and Differential Mode Delay (DMD) would cause compatibility issues if BIMMF were used with non-BIMMF.

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