Top 5 Reasons to Choose Pre-Term Fiber

FXUHD Pre-Term MPOLet’s face it. Consumer demand for information, increased bandwidth and new applications is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. In response, today’s data centers—both at the enterprise and colocation level—need to turn up networking services as quickly as possible while supporting higher speeds and cutting costs.

Today’s data centers are also looking to provide a seamless migration path from current 10 gigabit speeds to future 40 and 100 gigabit speeds, both of which utilize parallel optics transmission with multi-fiber push on (MPO) connectors as the standards-defined interface. Insertion loss is also a critical parameter that determines the maximum distance of an optical fiber channel for a given transmission rate, and the channel loss for 40 and 100 gigabit Ethernet (GbE) applications is much more stringent than it was with 10 GbE.

When looking at the big picture and all of these factors combined, pre-terminated fiber assemblies for switch-to-switch fiber connections in the backbone and storage area network make more sense than ever.

Let’s look at the top 5 reasons to choose pre-term fiber over traditional field termination.

1. Faster Deployment

Cable termination is one of the most time-consuming and labor intensive processes of any installation. However, deployment time is significantly lower with pre-terminated systems, allowing data centers to turn up services and enable faster time to revenue

Some calculations demonstrate that a pre-terminated fiber system can be installed in just 10% of the time required for field termination, allowing connections to be completed and ready on the same day that space and components become available. Moves, adds and changes are also typically completed in half the time of field terminated systems.

The more fiber connections in the data center, the greater the time savings.

2. Reduced Cost

While pre-term fiber assemblies might carry a higher material cost, the amount of labor savings puts the total cost of a pre-term installation significantly lower. Fewer technicians are needed on site, and with plug and play installation, the higher skill level required for fiber field termination is eliminated. The factory-terminated performance (see below) also reduces the cost required for on-site troubleshooting and testing.

3. Improved Performance

Because pre-terminated fiber solutions are factory terminated, they offer more reliable, consistent performance than field terminations that are prone to installation variance and inconsistencies. Furthermore, because the pre-term assemblies and cords are tested in the factory and delivered with test results, you know what you’re getting.

While the mating surfaces of fiber connectors still need to be kept clean as contamination can impact performance, factory-terminated fiber assemblies offer lower insertion loss values over field-terminated connectors. And when you consider channel loss requirements as low as 1.5 dB like we see with 40 and 100 GbE applications using OM4 fiber, every tenth of a dB of insertion loss matters.

4. Better Scalability

Even if 40 and 100 GbE applications are not being deployed today, MPO solutions will be required for these applications. They therefore provide a seamless migration from 10 GbE.

The performance of MPOs is also critical to designing systems that will eventually meet the insertion loss requirements of 40 and 100 GbE. Very few field-terminated MPO solutions exist in the marketplace and they are not able to achieve the same level of insertion loss performance. Field terminating MPOs requires more skill and careful attention as their greater surface area can make it difficult to adequately clean and terminate each fiber in the array.

Pre-terminated assemblies also offer greater scalability due to easier reusability and reconfiguration of components, as well as less space required in racks and pathways.

5. Less Risk

To minimize downtime, many data centers perform installation, upgrades and system maintenance during off-peak hours under strict deadlines and budgets. Extremely critical environments like a healthcare facility may even require that these tasks be completed in a single overnight operation. With faster deployment and factory-terminated performance that reduces on-site testing and troubleshooting, there is less risk of not staying on schedule.

With fewer people required on site to complete the installation, there is overall less risk of accidents or damage to the facility. Pre-terminated fiber assemblies also eliminate safety concerns of field termination, including small sharp fibers scraps and chemical cleaners.

Pre-terminated solutions mean less risk to the environment—cable waste and packaging are significantly reduced, the components are reusable and factory-termination saves energy and reduces waste throughout the entire supply chain process.

If you have small number of fiber terminations, skilled technicians available and no plans to migrate to 40 and 10 gigabit speeds any time in the future, field termination may remain your best option. However, for the majority of data centers, the 5 reasons outlined above make it easy to see why pre-terminated fiber simply makes more sense.

Looking to Enable Data Center Flexibility, Manageability, Scalability and Security? Download our White Paper on Advances in Multi-Fiber Connectivity.


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