You are working on plans for a new campus which will be the home for headquarters, R&D, a light manufacturing facility, and a parking lot or two. One consideration is the infrastructure that connects the campus network. The choice will be optical fiber, but which type?
Most of you reading this will be thinking that there is only one choice: singlemode, and with good reason. It has nearly unlimited bandwidth, no practical limitation on distance, and can support any application that exists today and in the future. However, it does have one downside: cost. The optical modules used for singlemode fiber are more expensive than their multimode cousins, possibly by a factor of three. Depending on the number of links being deployed, the cost of singlemode optical modules could make a big impact on the cost of deploying your new networking infrastructure.
Before we discuss where using multimode fiber makes sense, let look at applications where singlemode fiber is a must:
- Distance – If you want to run at 40 Gbps and reach out longer than 150m, singlemode fiber is the only way to go as this application exceeds multimode fiber’s capability
- Data Rate – Using multimode fiber at network speeds above 100 Gbps becomes cumbersome
- Uncertainty – Although you may be able to identify the applications that need to be supported today, it may be difficult for multimode fiber to support new future applications
There are several vertical segments where even though they have links that can be supported by multimode fiber, they will deploy singlemode fiber. An example would be a medical campus where they are moving large data sets between buildings. With advances in medical imaging and the growth in remote medicine, hospitals need to have an infrastructure that can support new applications that have an ever-increasing appetite.
SMF and MMF?
You may be forming the opinion that your campus network infrastructure is an either/or choice: all singlemode or all multimode. However, that is not the case.
Let’s look at a hospital campus. The buildings most likely would be connected with singlemode fiber for the reasons mentioned above. They need an infrastructure that can easily support speeds of 50 Gbps, 100 Gbps, and beyond. But not everything that needs to be networked in a campus needs state-of-the-art networking speeds.
The hospital campus will be covered by outdoor Wi-Fi access points (WAPs) to provide seamless internet access for the medical staff and visitors. Wi-Fi 6 WAPs, today’s state-of-the-art, require 2.5 Gbps. Multimode fiber running at 10 Gbps can reach out to 400m. Even at 25 Gbps, or 10X the speed required by today’s WAPs, one can still reach out to 100m with multimode fiber. Another campus application where the bandwidth needs are static are outdoor cameras. Not only could these applications be supported with multimode fiber, they could also take advantage of hybrid powered fiber cable. Hybrid powered fiber cables provide the networking path via fiber cable and copper conductors to supply power to energize the end device.
Although you might be tempted to make a sweeping statement that singlemode fiber should be the only consideration when architecting a campus network, there are opportunities to reduce the cost involved by identifying those applications, or network links, that can be supported by a less expensive multimode deployment.
Whether you choose singlemode or multimode fiber, Panduit can help you connect your campus with our new campus networks solution. Fiber cabling and connectors and a new powered fiber cabling offering pair with a variety of closures to connect your campus. Contact your local sales rep today to learn more about this new solution.
For more information on Panduit’s new powered fiber cable option, or any of our bulk fiber cable, please reach out to Rhonda Johnson, product manager, at [email protected]m.