* Multimode fiber. Multimode fiber is often used in campus backbone networks where data must travel distances longer than 100 meters, but doesn’t justify the installation of single mode fiber. With data speeds continuing to increase, multimode fiber is starting to reach distance limitations. At 10Gbps, for example, data can travel up to a maximum of 300 meters on multimode cable. However, even up to 40Gbps, it isn’t necessary to replace multimode fiber because media converters or optical repeaters can re-amplify, reshape and retime (3R) the light signals, allowing data to be repeated for much longer distances.
* Single mode fiber. Single mode fiber is often used for backbone networks and is the longest distance, highest bandwidth cable type on the market, capable of data transmissions of up to 30 kilometers. Although single mode fiber is expensive, it is the highest quality media available, thus there are very few applications where a network is better off with another cable type.
Replacing cabling is sometimes required to support network changes, but it always adds cost and time to the upgrade. When deciding between upgrading the cabling infrastructure or trying to leverage existing cabling by using media converters or repeaters, it is most important to know what is already installed, what’s currently in use and, if possible, where the cabling is located.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.