Plug’n’Play or don’t worry about fiber optics

Nowadays people are used to Plug’n’Play… or do you care when you plug or unplug your USB add on device from your laptop?!? The scenario of changing to high speed I/O connections in data centers seems easy enough, but seldom is, although it should be.

Firstly, the high speed cable must be mechanical and electrically compatible to what the equipment expects. Even passive copper cables do have I²C chips in the plug, which tells the FPGA behind the hole in the front panel the type of cable being inserted. Furthermore, the span (cable length) is in question. Will the cable be capable of transmitting the high speed signal over the required distance? Is the cable’s data rate capability per the latest standard? Does it comply with the data rate posted on the box?

If either length or data rate is not met, people often have to switch to fiber optic transceivers, which can propel them into deeper troubles. When there is only one link to be converted, it is readily achievable. Nowadays LC connectors are easy to handle. Even still, you have to pay attention for dust and cleanliness while plugging the transceiver into the front panel and, thereafter, the LC cable ends into the transceiver.

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