Data Center

The Importance of Managing Data Center Fiber

Benoit Chevarie

We’re facing a future where 5G, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence 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 experiencing revolutions, too, so they can keep up with increased connectivity and the bandwidth demands of these new technologies and applications. Data traffic volume is rising when it comes to internal data center traffic, traffic entering and exiting the data center, mobile traffic, enterprise IT data and more.


Today’s data centers need to 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 widely deployed yet, adoption will grow quickly in the coming years to ensure ultra-fast, high-performing data centers.)


As data center speeds increase, cable performance becomes increasingly critical to ensure link quality – which is why data center fiber is becoming crucial. Fiber cabling is the only network infrastructure solution that can support data rates of 50G and beyond; therefore, the equipment responsible for transporting and carrying signals will rely on data center fiber.


Fiber is becoming the go-to option for data center architecture because it offers greater bandwidth and error-free transmission over longer distances and is immune to noise (EMI/RFI). Its smaller size and weight (as compared to copper cables) mean it takes up less space in cable trays, raised floors and racks, allowing for maximized usage data center square footage.


Challenges of Increased Fiber Connections

As more data center fiber is deployed to meet technology demands, however, 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 fiber connections grows, effective fiber management – and taking advantage of all available ports – is vital to ensure data center uptime and efficient maintenance. Otherwise, things can become overwhelming very quickly (and get very messy as well).


 There are also a few factors to consider when deploying fiber in data centers, including:

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

testing to support lates fiber applications webinar graphic

Belden’s new DCX Optical Distribution Frame (not available in the USA) lets you manage high numbers of fiber connections and high-density data center fiber without compromising on ease of use.


It supports support nearly unlimited numbers of fiber connections for unrestricted growth potential. In fact, it offers the highest density available in the marketplace: 55% higher than other systems if you compare the number of terminations per square foot (4,608 fiber terminations in three square feet).


It’s being deployed in stadiums, broadcast environments and data centers to manage fiber connections.


The DCX ODF is ideally suited to manage data center fiber for a few important reasons:


  1.  It protects incoming and outgoing cables so they aren’t bent or crushed – and performance issues won’t occur as a result. 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: MPO trunk cables, multi-fiber trunk cables with LC connectors, fusion splicing with pigtails or splice-on connectors.

  3. Easy polarity management thanks to flippable cassettes that maintain port numbering sequence. This prevents 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. The ability to futureproof functionality. New infrastructure (housing, cabling, etc.) isn’t needed when migrating from Base-12 to Base-8, Base-16 or Base-24 connectivity. If a data center begins migration to 40G or 100G, for example, and needs to install Base-8 equipment, Base-8 cassettes can be installed alongside Base-12 cassettes without losing real estate.

  5. Easy scalability through modular system expansion. If you have fewer than 4,608 fiber connections, you can build your cross connect in a single cabinet. As fiber connections increase, you can stack cabinets side to side and back to back.

High-density solutions that can support high fiber counts while also providing scalability (the ability to support more fiber connections in the future) are critical to maintain data center reliability and operations.