As technology continues to revolutionize the data and networking sector, one thing is becoming certain; data centers and other network infrastructure are in need of more efficient systems to support their ever-increasing workloads. When fiber optic cables were introduced into networking, they were a significant upgrade from phone lines that were widely used at the time.
To support fiber optic links, Base-12 cables are commonly used as the industry standard. Indeed, Base-12 has been very effective for many years, and multiple organizations are still relying on these cables for their essential connectivity needs. But as technology continues to evolve, more efficient fiber optic links have been developed for transceivers such as QSFP, which are powering server and storage equipment. As a result, Base-8 connectivity has entered the market.
But what is Base-8 and why should you prepare for future proofing your connectivity with these new cables?
Let’s start with understanding Base-12
When Base-12 connectivity was first introduced to networking, it felt like the time when mobile phones were released. Their convenience, flexibility, and efficiency were unparalleled, and businesses were able to grow as a result of this high density and structured cabling.
When defining Base-12, it is important to know how the nomenclature arises. Base-12 refers to cables that hold 12 fibers at a time, increasing the load carrying capacity with each cable that is installed.
The need for Base-12 arose from Base-2, where only two fibers were present on the cable at a time. This significantly limited capacity, causing data centers to either reduce their loads or use a massive amount of cables to keep up with their computing needs.
In response, Base-12 cables were developed to hold 12 fibers at a time. Base-12 allowed the growth of data centers and the improved efficiency of network operations. Base-12 supports the main backbone of networking, where it carries large loads with a high fiber count. The cables can then be connected to server ports and switches (that are traditionally based on two fibers) using a converter module.
The system has always worked efficiently because any set of Base-12 cables can fit into Base-2 adapters (the numbers are perfectly divisible without leaving any cables remaining unused).
In newer types of networking equipment such as QSFP transceivers, the fiber ports being utilized are Base-8 fibers. Base-8 fibers are basically cables that use increments of 8 in their fiber optic links.
More manufacturers are opting for Base 8 because Ethernet capacity is becoming upgraded from 10G to 40G and up to 400G. With the installation of 40G and above circuits, the need for Base-8 connectivity becomes essential.
The challenge of using Base-12 with Base-8
With the upgrades in Ethernet capacity and transceivers being used, most businesses, in an attempt to keep up, have simply tried to use their Base-12 cables on Base-8 ports. With this connection, only 8 of the 12 fiber connectors of each cable are used, and the other 4 remain hanging. There have been efforts aimed at solving this underutilized capacity by using conversion modules (Base-12 to Base-8). While useful, you simply end up with a bunch of connectors on site and suboptimal utilization capacity.
The most efficient way of solving this challenge is to adopt Base-8 connectivity. This will result in full capacity utilization of available resources, without sacrificing 33% of your fibers. In addition, Base-8 connectivity results in a lean and clean data center that is devoid of a large amount of data cabling. Indeed, Base-8 connectivity is the path that transceiver, server, and storage manufacturers are following for the future.
Why you should be quick to adopt Base-8 Connectivity
In addition to the obvious benefits of increasing efficiency and reducing infrastructure in your data center, Base-8 connectivity also has other benefits that make the switch useful. It reduces the cost of converting Base-12 fibers to Base-8 transceivers by using multiple connection devices. In addition, Base-8 fibers are perfectly compatible with both Base-2 and Base-8 transceivers. This is because Base-8 cables are divisible with Base-2, eliminating the need for further compatibility issues.
And with Base-8, your business can embark on the path towards upgraded Ethernet capacity, having the ability to reach all the way to 400G. Finally, because Base-8 can achieve connectivity only with unpinned MTP patch cords, you don’t have to worry about excessive set up costs and processes.