Autumn 2019 - Optical Connections Magazine


successful deployments,” says Group CTO Badri Gomatam. “As the world of datacentres evolves to higher density interconnects, we see tremendous opportunity in both hyperscale as well as smaller segments such as containerised solutions. Our product R&D is strongly focused on providing solutions that enable datacentre operators to reduce latency and enable connectivity between multiple datacentres with superior reliability and density.” SHRINKAGE “Shrinking has been a long trend in the industry,” adds Schreiber. “Increasing the performance of CPUs and switch ASICs in a given footprint. Connecting from these devices to the outside world requires space as well and that needs to

has coped so far, work has gone in to making it and MPO connectors smaller - in some cases almost ferrule-only - which help in datacentre patch panels as well as plug & play modules. But as datacentres continue to evolve, SENKO has gone a step further to develop its CS and SN connectors. “The LC connector and multi-fibre MPO connector are a perfect fit for today’s datacentre,” says Miyamoto. “But it is not necessarily the most efficient way to make the infrastructure inside the datacentre.” That’s where the CS comes in, he says, allowing ‘direct patching’. “The data, the speed and the volumes that we’re able to send and digest through one fibre has completely changed from 10 years ago to today. Because of the old technology we didn’t have a choice - we had to use the

in more fibres. Space is at a premium, whether in hyperscale datacentres, smaller centres in intermediate locations or ‘containerised’ datacentres serving individual businesses’ needs. At Corning products and solutions are designed to cater for changes to datacentres, making deployment easier and cost-effective. Higher consolidation of in excess of 3000 fibres per cable in slimmer cable designs – enabled by reducing the diameter of the fibre itself from 250 µm to 200 µm - take up less space. “That helps to deploy faster and also save space in the already congested ducts that connect buildings on campuses or just the trays in datacentres,” says Schreiber. These cables also need to comply with heightened safety standards for datacentres and other facilities, providing high flame resistance and low smoke and hazardous substance generation in case of fires, according to the latest European Construction Product Regulations (CPR). Corning’s not alone in fibre developments. Prysmian launched a 6,912-fibre single cable at the FTTH Europe expo - something that appealed to customers faced with endlessly congested ducts. Philippe Vanhille, Prysmian EVP, telecom business, previously told Optical Connections they developed specific products for hyperscale datacentres which need interior cabling as well as strong connections between buildings on the campuses. Describing the 6,912-fibre cable as a “breakthrough,” he said: “We developed cables of up to three thousand fibres, and now we are up to nearly seven thousand, but it’s still relatively small and it will still go into a two-inch duct. It is also important not to be intrusive. In some parts of the world it does not matter if a cable is visible, but 5G is on its way and there will be an antenna every 200 metres and you will need a cable to feed the antenna with data and power, so we are working on that as well.” Among other technologies, Sterlite Technologies Ltd (STL) has developed advanced versions of optical fibre ribbon cabling, specifically compatible with emerging standards for 100 Gb/s Ethernet (GbE), 200GbE and 400GbE. “As transceiver form factors evolve, robust connectivity, size/face-plate density and reliability become paramount for

The data, the speed and the volumes that we’re able to send and digest through one fibre has completely changed from 10 years ago

LC connector and MPO connector - but today you can do a lot more things in one fibre with the data.” SENKO’s intention isn’t necessarily to immediately eliminate the LC and MPO connectors, but to introduce the CS and SN connectors that are more capable of coping with future speeds of 400G and above, he says. “If you’re using MPO even if it’s eight fibre MPO you need to split those eight fibres into channels which are pairs of fibre, which means you need a separate patching panel to do that,’’ explains Nigel Moore, Manager Middle East and Africa at SENKO. “If you are using SN with the same footprint more or less you have four duplex cables so it’s all ready to patch, it can go direct to the recipient channel rather than going through a patch intermediary. So that’s saving a lot of metal, a lot of floor space, it’s saving on your optical budget because every time you go through a patch you lose some of the power. At some point we expect the penny to drop and people will see that there are so many benefits from breaking out directly from the transceiver that the old topology of having a patch panel in between becomes obsolete.” In addition, SENKO is exploring on-board optics as well as other connectivity requirements. “We do a lot of outdoor connectivity because the other next big thing is 5G and that’s all about small antennas everywhere and anywhere so we’re looking at how we can help those solutions be more plug and play.”

shrink accordingly. Corning works with transceiver manufacturers to respond to their ideas and co-design micro-optic connectivity with them to accommodate current and future needs. The resulting density also needs to be handled and managed. Corning builds connectivity hardware and integrated solutions to make configuration, deployment and operation easier while preventing service interruption through handling errors. An example is the new MDC connector that triples the density of the well- established LC connector.” There is more to it than just connecting two optical ports, he adds. Other functions such as port tapping - allowing the analysis of traffic flow without interrupting the traffic itself - need to be integrated with minimal impact on space utilization. With new datacentre technologies also come more radical infrastructure changes such as the adoption of a latency-optimized Spine and Leaf architecture that increases the size and complexity of the physical network. “The number of links between switches in this mesh architecture multiplies compared to legacy networks. We consolidate that in what we call a mesh module to do all fibre shuffling, significantly reducing complexity and effort in the deployment of Spine and Leaf networks,” explains Schreiber. CONNECTORS At SENKO, they’re tackling the connector issue. While the standard LC connector

Philippe Vanhille, Prysmian EVP, telecom business


| ISSUE 18 | Q3 2019

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