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Fiber gaining importance as interconnect demands rise

By Max Burkhalter
September 28, 2012
Fiber-optic cabling solutions have long been used in data center interconnect systems, but that type of infrastructure has generally been the domain of large data center operators, not the average IT department. As the data center without walls movement gains leverage alongside cloud computing and other emerging trends, businesses increasingly have to consider how they will establish their own interconnect systems.

How an interconnect is established
According to a recent Data Center Journal report, many organizations are realizing that data center interconnect systems are critical. However, many IT leaders have a vague view of what an interconnect actually looks like. Generally, there are two types of interconnect systems - point-to-point and loop.

The news source explained that a common interconnect type for organizations attempting to make a single interconnection is a point-to-point solution. This involves establishing a core fiber-optic link that provides the connection between the two facilities. However, more complex interconnects that use a ring-based design to enable communication between multiple facilities are also prominent. These loops are more difficult to establish, for the most part, but provide an efficient way to interact with distributed sites.

Understanding the need for more interconnects
IT is changing. How businesses harness technology is vastly different than just a few years ago. If you are an IT manager, you probably are dealing with much larger quantities of data, more video, web applications and other services that can quickly clog the network. The report explained that these types of problems are increasingly problematic for companies and interconnect infrastructure is one of the best ways to respond. The systems enable high-performance data transit between data centers and, in some cases, to the corporate headquarters.

What to look for in an interconnect
When establishing an interconnect network, you have to consider a few attributes critical or risk falling into performance problems as the solution develops. Among the most important considerations is low latency attributes. You also want to make sure the network is flexible enough to handle future demand, which requires a variety of supplemental solutions.

The role of media conversions
Fiber-to-Ethernet media converters can pay major dividends for businesses establishing interconnect systems because they not only allow the interconnect to interact with copper Ethernet solutions, but can also provide advanced capabilities that support performance goals. This enables flexibility and supports ongoing transit requirements by allowing media adaptability.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.


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