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IEEE study group decision emphasizes rising data center demands

By Max Burkhalter
July 24, 2014

Ethernet media converter solutions are becoming more important than ever in data centers as IT leaders work to address more demanding network challenges. Increased data throughput requirements and other performance challenges are making fiber-optic cables a more prominent part of data center networks. At the same time, copper is still an extremely viable solution for a variety of network needs in the data center, creating new interoperability challenges.

Fiber to Ethernet media converters can help organizations integrate diverse data center network demands and access the technology they need in the most cost-efficient way. These benefits are proving key as organizations begin clamoring for more advanced network standards that impact the data center floor.

IEEE moving forward on new standard to support better data center networks
At this point, organizations have two options when it comes to meeting the demands for high-performance networks - 10 Gbps or 40 Gbps. Sure, 1 Gbps is an option, but organizations that need a more advanced solution can only work with either 10 Gbps or 40 Gbps. According to a recent Lightwave report, the IEEE has opted to create a 25 Gbps working group to find a middle ground between the two standards. The move has been led by organizations like Microsoft that want to better aggregate network links to their core 100 Gbps channels, something that 40 Gbps is ill-equipped to do.

With technical demands rising and 40 Gbps not adequate from an aggregate perspective, data center managers need a standard that provides higher data throughput rates than 10 Gbps, but is easier to link to 100 Gbps. The work on the new 25 Gbps standard is aimed at solving this problem. According to the news source, Mark Nowell, chair of the IEEE 802.3 25 Gbps Ethernet Study Group, told attendees at an IEEE meeting that the much of the work for 25 Gbps was already done when developing 100 Gbps, so reusing that knowledge to create a dedicated 25 Gbps standard should prove fairly simple.

Fiber increasingly necessary as network standards rise
Copper is still an option for advanced networks with standards like 10GBase-T and 100GBase-Tas options. However, bundling large groups of copper cables together can create an incredible strain on facilities. This stress can include major routing challenges, airflow issues, high electricity use for signal transmission and, all told, a significant total cost of ownership. sometimes a single fiber link can replace 10 bundled copper cables, making fiber integration an extremely important option in the data center. Media converters make it easier to mix and match fiber and copper as necessary and keep up with rising network performance challenges.

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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