When To Use Copper Vs. Fiber Cabling For A Data Center

Copper Vs. Fiber Cabling
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When To Use Copper Vs. Fiber Cabling For A Data Center

In the modern, fast-paced world of data center networking, knowing which type of fiber cable to use in each scenario is a very useful skill to possess. If your data center requires high-intensity bandwidth as well as savings in space and time, MPO cables are the best option. You can rest assured that the MPO/MTP trunk cables are fully efficient and sufficient for telecoms, in backbones for 100G connections, and a majority of data centers. The FSG brand of MPO fiber cables come pre-terminated from the factory, as well as having been thoroughly tested. A majority of such cables contain MT Ferrules.  In some instances, copper is used to interfacing with the data center hardware. Let’s focus on when to use copper vs. fiber cabling for a data center.

Multimode vs. single-mode

The delicate tango that is selecting the right type of fiber cabling for data center applications involves both strategic and financial decisions. The majority of data centers in existence all had to choose between multimode fiber or single-mode. The slow speeds of data center architectures of the past ranged between 20 to 24GBps; thus, the single-mode fiber cabling was perfectly suitable for the job. Older data centers also had to contend with the problem of expensive pluggable optics, which meant that many could not afford multimode.

When you want to design a modern data center with the ability to withstand increasing data rates (10GBps to 100GBps and over), rising intra-DC distances (reducing the need for OM3 and OM4), multimode is a solid option. When you also take into account that the overall market price of silicon photonics has been plummeting, you will realize that multimode fiber cabling is now more affordable due to cheaper serial optics.

Copper vs. fiber at the data center

A majority of the cabling utilized in data centers is either copper or fiber optic in nature. Remember that structured cabling uses a predefined design involving specific connection points and unique pathways. The bandwidth requirements of the center guide structured cabling. This advance design and forethought makes structured cabling ultimately more expensive than unstructured cabling. The unstructured method of running cable through a data center is regarded as Point to Point. There are no connection points, zero predefined standards, and no pathways.  Unstructured installations are cumbersome, and lack of proficiency means extended downtime. Though it is cheaper to install unstructured cables, but it costs more in the long run, via operational costs.

Fiber is known for its little to no electromagnetic interference compared to copper cabling since fiber cables transmit light photons. Light can also travel longer distances, making fiber cabling advantageous. However, coaxial cables should not be eliminated from your data center.

Coaxial cables still have their advantages, including the ability to span some meters, the ability to transmit data at the best possible bandwidth available, and being cheap, reliable, and affordable. Datacenter cables made from copper are also reliable and use up less power than fiber cables.

Conclusion

In reality, both types of cabling systems are necessary in your data center to enable cost-saving, best bandwidth usage, and best transmission speeds. Thus, you need to be objective anytime your choosing between the types of fibre cables to purchase.

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