Cisco Live: CommScope Demonstrates 100GbE Over 430 Metres

CommScope has shown 100GbE running on standard fibre at nearly three times the distance specified in the IEEE standard

Networking company CommScope has yet again increased the operational distance of a future networking technology in a demonstration of a 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) data transmission, using off-the-shelf, multi-mode fibre optic cabling.

The demonstration, over a range of 430 metres, is nearly three times the distance allowed for in the official IEEE standard. And the demonstration exceeds last year’s mark of 340 metres.

Network Fabric

Once again, CommScope conducted the demonstration in collaboration with two other networking companies, namely Ixia and Reflex Photonics, at the Cisco Live! Event in London. The company said it used its Systimax InstaPatch 360 fibre cable assemblies using LazrSpeed 550 OM4 fibre.

“This demonstration shows a future-proof path from 10GbE through 40GbE and onto 100GbE with error-free operation,” said Peter Marsh, UK technical manager of CommScope.

“It also demonstrates that our customers will not have to re-engineer their networks or deploy new cable when they eventually evolve to 100GbE,” said Marsh. “CommScope’s solutions are engineered to exceed industry standards, but this demonstration, exceeding last year’s mark by almost 100 metres, proves the value high-performance cabling infrastructure can bring.”

The 100GbE standard was approved in June, 2010, by the IEEE committee, but only covers distances of up to 150 metres of OM4 fibre cable. CommScope states that its 430-metre link proves that the range could be effectively doubled through the combined use of high-performance connectivity solutions and advanced optoelectronics.

“Using CommScope’s innovative OM4 fibre cable with Ixia’s K2 100GbE test solution has once again validated this technology and proven that it is ready for deployment in today’s data centres,” said Dave Schneider, senior manager of Market Development for Ixia.

Robert Coenen, sales and marketing VP for Reflex Photonics, added, “Demonstrating the technology outside the laboratory proves that today’s 100GE network infrastructure and Reflex’s 100G CFP are ready for everyday use.”

The 100GbE Debate

So why the fuss around the distance increase for 100GbE?

Many vendors and companies are evaluating 100GbE for their networks, as the industry shifts from 1GbE to 10GbE-based technology.

Indeed, there is a debate going on within networking circles about whether companies should jump straight to 100GbE and skip 40GbE altogether. However, equipment cost is likely to be a significant factor forcing many organisations to adopt a more measured and conservative approach.