Validation of client cable connections in datacentres

Anritsu Pty Ltd

Tuesday, 01 November, 2016


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Increased electrical and fibre optic cabling within datacentres are driving client installation and verification demands. Datacentre operators need to test fibre-rich, carrier-neutral environments for redundancy, high performance connectivity and disaster recovery up to 400 Gbps. They require a hand-held, all-in-one tool for testing and troubleshooting electrical cables and fibre optic interconnects between servers, switches and routers at all data rates, using any given interface, located anywhere in the datacentre.

Electrical Ethernet cabling such as Cat5e, Cat6 and Cat6a can be found in most plants for delivery up to GbE rates. Fibre optic is common for most rates >1GbE and can vary in types, connectors and lengths, depending on the application. MPO (multi-fibre push on) trunk cables support up to 72 fibre strands and are typically used for short distances. Single mode fibres are used for longer distances (10–40 km) and higher data rates (up to 100 Gbps). Multimode duplex fibre provides high data rates (up to 10 Gbps) over short to medium distances (up to 300 m).

Fibre optic client cable testing

  • Fibre optic connector inspection: Dirty or damaged fibre optic connectors can greatly affect network performance. Scratches, chips and contamination on fibre optic connector end faces reduce transmission quality and increase errors. A digital video inspection probe can reduce these issues by verifying the condition and cleanliness of connector end faces during the installation phase. The connector image and detailed pass/fail status should be displayed as defined by IEC 61300-3-35 ensuring quality and consistency from connector to connector, technician to technician.
  • Optic transceiver analysis: As data rates increase to 40 and 100 Gbps, pluggable optics become more complex and contain additional points of failure. The pluggable optics (CFP, CFP2, CFP4, QSFP+, QSFP28, CXP) support MDIO (management data input/output) information of the optic transceiver. MDIO analysis and testing verifies the performance of the pluggable optic and monitors alarms and errors to isolate issues from the fibre optic cable and connector.
  • Fibre optic cable measurement: Scratched or dirty connectors at fibre cable connections, such as patch panels and adapters, can be detected as fault locations due to excessive optical reflections. An OTDR measurement displays results as a trace showing the fibre optic cable length, macro-bends, losses and size of reflections, as well as an easy-to-view summary of the analysis results. The technician can set pass/fail conditions based on client service agreement value for each event, which are automatically identified within the OTDR trace.

Electrical client cable testing

RJ45 electrical cable inspection: RJ45 electrical cable should be tested to identify failures such as short circuits or breaks of a wire pair. The cable test should also indicate the distance from the instrument to the fault. This gives the technician the confidence in knowing the cable quality and if necessary, the location of any faults within the cable.

Client service verification

Selection of the proper benchmark verification test can determine if the service level agreement has been met.

RFC 2544 is an IETF standards body test typically used for packet-based network equipment. This traditional benchmark test is used to test the layer two ‘pipe’ throughput, latency and frame loss measurements after the physical layer has been tested.

Y.1564 is an ITU standards body test used to emulate the ‘services’ purchased by a client to verify the service acceptance criteria agreed upon between client and service provider.

RFC 6349 is an IETF standards body test of the TCP communication within the packet-based transport network. This test is focused on the client-to-client communication once physical, transport and network layers have been tested.

Instruments such as the Anritsu MT1000A Network Master Pro and MT1100A Network Master Flex provide complete electrical/fibre optic cable testing along with industry recognised data throughput benchmark testing that will reduce test times and costs while improving quality.

For further information or to request your free how-to guide please contact Anritsu on 1800-689-685 or au-sales@anritsu.com.

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