Corning has launched a cabling system complying with the Base-8 fiber cabling standard, promising better rack density and a better fit with the transceivers used in network switches.
Corning’s Edge8 cables adopt the Base-8 standard, which combines fibres in groups of eight, a number suitable for the 40Gbps circuits routinely used in data centers. Base-8 has been in development for some time, but Corning says Edge8 is the first “tip-to-tip” implementation, including everything needed between one switch and another, including trunks and patch cords.
How much fiber?
Trunk cables include 24 fibers, and these have traditionally been shared out in groups of two or 12. However, as faster speeds spread out into data center reacks and SANs, there is a need for a more manageable grouping. Connections at 40G and above are usually carried over eight fibers, and terminated at the switch in a Base-8 QSFP transceiver, which combines eight fibers.
Edge8 matches these transceivers ensuring that all the fibers in a trunk are used, and eliminating the need for conversion modules. The system uses Corning’s Edge cables where each fiber can replace up to 72 copper cables. Fiber-based networks also have lower power usage (and smaller associated carbon emissions), and are more secure than copper which can leak signals.
The Base-8 standard will be a simple and cost effective way to handle transmission speeds up to 400Gbps, says Corning vice president of enterprise networks Stuart Hiness: “Corning’s Edge8 solutions help data centre operators deliver an optimal end-user experience, while mitigating the uncertainty associated with ever-increasing transmission speeds and continually evolving standards.”