Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Optical cabling gaining a more prominent role in the Ethernet landscape
In most cases, fiber-optic cabling is used in high-bandwidth backbone networks that keep the internet running. The technology is becoming more prominent in fiber to the home and fiber to the business deployments as well, but direct optical connectivity within facilities is only common for specialized purposes, such as extended the network over long distances or support supercomputing environments and other advanced settings. This is changing quickly, as the rapid rise of high-performance networking solutions within standard data center and enterprise environments is leading to more optical cable deployment for internal use.
According to a recent study from LightCounting, active optical cables and similar sophisticated cabling solutions are experiencing a major sales boom, as more organizations are investing in the technology to meet their standard Ethernet needs. Research found that supercomputer operators and high-performance data center environments are still fueling the rapid growth of AOC infrastructure, but the connectivity solution is also gaining considerable leverage for businesses attempting to update their Ethernet systems in response to cloud computing and other emerging technologies.
Brad Smith, senior vice president and chief analyst for LightCounting, said the traditional data center Ethernet market is especially prominent as an emerging market for AOC technologies.
"Shipments of InfiniBand AOCs has expanded from the TOP25 to the broader TOP100 supercomputers market unit shipment are rapidly expanding. Additionally, the adoption of AOCs in the traditional data center Ethernet space is starting to happen faster than we expected," said Smith.
LightCounting is not the only organization recognizing more optical investments. The Ethernet Alliance has also noticed an increased move toward fiber-optic cabling solutions, and plans to showcase usage potential at an upcoming interoperability event. The showcase is designed specifically to help organizations see how optical network solutions can meet their day-to-day networking needs.
As optical cabling solutions become more popular in traditional enterprise and data center Ethernet settings, the need for fiber-to-Ethernet converters could expand substantially. Fiber-optic cable solutions can be ideal for improving performance and extending that connectivity over a longer range than copper solutions, but many needs are still most cost-effectively met with copper. As a result, media conversion systems that allow companies to freely choose where to turn to copper and where to install fiber are integral to integrating optical cables into standard Ethernet environments.
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.