R&M keeps an eye on the future

Fibre is enabling the set-up of future-ready high-density cabling systems in demand today.

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R&M keeps an eye on the future Tharwat: Transformation from legacy to cloud data centres places greater demands on the physical network.
By  David Ndichu Published  July 27, 2015

The major discussion around cabling today is the sheer demand for higher bandwidth and speeds, developments that portend significant challenges in enabling these super-speed connections.


This proliferation of high-bandwidth applications is pushing the need for 40Gb and 100Gb interfaces, notes Alfred Tharwat head of training & data centre consultancy at R&M Middle East, Turkey & Africa. “Today, no one asks for a slower network and while it is 10GbE that is being deployed, all new implementations are factoring in the need to include easy 40G and even 100G migration as a part of their future plan,” Tharwat adds.


And for this reason, Tharwat says, there’s a general consensus in the structured cabling industry that fibre is the way forward. In fact, in a demonstration of the incredible performance of high-quality fibre solutions, R&M recently successfully tested 100G transmission with 850nm laser technology over a reach of 675 meters.


R&M is a leading supplier of passive cabling solutions for communication networks, with a range of copper and fibre optic systems.


“Fibre systems facilitate the set-up of high-density cabling systems for data networks with parallel-optical connection technology. Consequently, data centres can introduce 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) or even 40 and 100 GbE as a bandwidth to connect the fastest servers and switches to each other,” says Tharwat.


Tharwat highlights the multi-mode OM4 fibre cabling which he says is the best option for cabling at the moment, with capabilities of accommodating 40Gbe up to 150 meters. In fact, in what was a world record, R&M demonstrated that multiple links of OM4 cables could effectively deliver 40G over 550 metres and 100G over 675 metres, Tharwat notes.


In response to the growing need for Automated Infrastructure Management (AIM) solutions, R&M worked with several software and hardware partners to develop R&MinteliPhy.


“The R&MinteliPhy solution can be retrofitted into standard R&M cabling platforms and reduces both cost and complexity by enabling remote monitoring and multi-site support while unlocking functionality for the management, analysis and planning of the physical network infrastructure,” Tharwat says.


R&MinteliPhy continuously collects information about the state of the network and the individual connections. Data can be traced in real time with a PC or smart phone, allowing an incorrectly connected cable to be located within seconds. “We have also found that the payback period for this management system is less than one year,” Tharwat says.


The ever increasing demands on bandwidth place growing dependence on the physical infrastructure. Today, organisations demand a network uptime in excess of 99.99 percent, Tharwat notes. “Maximum availability starts at Layer 1, with the passive infrastructure and with the tiniest details such as the contacts in the connection modules and plug connections. These aspects are what decide whether a cabling system will be able to provide the desired performance and signal quality in the long run,” he adds.


This is especially true given the rapid deployment of virtualised computing and cloud environments. “The transformation from legacy to cloud data centres places greater demands on the data centre physical network. If a link to a physical server does not deliver the required performance, all the virtual machines running on the server and its applications are affected,” says Tharwat.


According to Tharwat, the way forward for organisations that aim to build future-proof, reliable, and high-performance cabling infrastructures is the application of Automated Infrastructure Management (AIM) systems such as the R&MinteliPhy 3.0.


One notable recent advancement in cabling has been the strides made in the field of monitoring of network and application performance using passive optical tapping.


R&M has introduced a HD Traffic Access Point (TAP) solution which is a passive fibre optic splitter that creates an identical copy of any optical signal passing through it, without introducing latency or packet loss, says Tharwat. “The HD TAP Module uses an advanced optical splitter to reduce insertion loss and modal noise and enable high performance applications such as 10G Ethernet and 16G Fibre Channel,” he adds.


This solution can be integrated with the automated infrastructure management solution to provide seamless physical layer monitoring and management. “Advancements like these are essential in an era wherein the number of physical connections is exploding. With this, the risk of failure grows and with it, the need to ensure reliability in Layer 1,” Tharwat observes.


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