Data Center

The Importance of Managing Data Center Fiber

Benoit Chevarie

We’re facing a future where 5G, virtual and augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT are transforming technology and cabling infrastructure. These technologies are quickly taking data volume and data rates to levels we’ve never seen before.


Data centers are evolving to keep pace with increased connectivity and bandwidth demands of new technologies and applications. When it comes to internal data center traffic (traffic entering and exiting the data center, mobile traffic, enterprise IT data, etc) is also rising. 


Today’s data centers must be fast, dense, scalable, cost effective and energy efficient. For these reasons, speeds are transitioning from 40G to 100G and emerging 400G Ethernet technologies. Although 400G links aren’t yet widely deployed, adoption will grow quickly in the coming years to ensure ultra-fast, high-performing data transmission.


As data center speeds increase, cable performance is increasingly critical to ensure link quality. Fiber cabling is the only network infrastructure solution capable of supporting data rates of 50G and beyond meaning the equipment responsible for transporting and carrying signals will very likely rely on data center fiber.


Fiber—The Ideal Solution for Data Center Architecture

With greater bandwidth and error-free transmission over longer distances combined with noise immunity (EMI/RFI) and smaller size/weight (vs copper cables) fiber takes up less space in cable trays, raised floors and racks, allowing for maximum use per square foot.


Increased Fiber Connections

As more data center fiber is deployed, the increased use of fiber cable means an increase in fiber connections. In fact, many large data centers now support tens of thousands of fiber links. As the number of connections grow, effective fiber management, including optimizing use of all available ports, is vital to ensure uptime and efficient maintenance.

Consider the following when deploying fiber in data centers:

  • When it comes to data center fiber, will your data center require singlemode, multimode or a combination?
  • Which connector is best suited to interface with equipment MPO/MTP or LC connectors?
  • What fiber termination method offers the best compromise between cost, performance and scalability?  

Highest Density Frame Option Available Today

Belden’s new DCX Optical Distribution Frame (not available in the USA) enables high numbers of fiber connections and high-density data center fiber without compromising on ease of use. This system supports nearly unlimited numbers of fiber connections for unrestricted growth potential—55% higher than other systems when comparing the number of terminations per square foot (4,608 fiber terminations in three square feet).


The Belden DCX Optical Distribution Frame System (DCX ODF) is being deployed in stadiums, broadcast environments and data centers to manage fiber connections and is ideally suited to manage data center fiber for a number of important reasons:


  1.  Protect incoming and outgoing fiber cables to protect physical cable structure and ensure performance. From the time the fiber cable enters the DCX frame, it’s routed and protected until the patch cord exits the other side.

  2. Use any termination method including MPO trunk cables, multi-fiber trunk cables with LC connectors, fusion splicing with pigtails or splice-on connectors.

  3. Easy polarity management with flippable cassettes designed to maintain port numbering sequence, preventing performance errors when used upside down. This simple polarity management method (using Type A cassettes with Type B trunks) prevents errors in system design and lowers inventory costs.

  4. Futureproof functionality as infrastructure (housing, cabling, etc.) isn’t needed when migrating from Base-12 to Base-8, Base-16 or Base-24 connectivity. For data centers migrating to 40G or 100G, for example, Base-8 cassettes can be installed alongside Base-12 cassettes without sacrificing real estate.

  5. Modular system expansion for easy scalability. For data centers with <4,608 fiber connections, the cross connect can be built in a single cabinet. As fiber connections increase, cabinets can be stacked side-to-side and back-to-back.

High-density solutions designed to support high fiber counts while accommodating increased fiber connections in the future are critical to maintain data center reliability and operations.