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Selecting fiber-optic cable and connectors

I have chosen to use an backbone of fiber optic cable for a network. This will run between four buildings, the furthest being 1000 meters apart. What would be the cheapest and best type of fiber optic cable to use, and what hubs would it connect to? What type of connectors would I have to purchase?

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There are several issues to consider when designing your network. If you plan on running ATM 155, then 6.25/125m Multimode (OM1) fiber would be fine up to 1000 meters. However, at that distance, this would be problematic for you in the future should you decide to upgrade to gigabit applications, such as 1Gb or 10Gb Ethernet. Another area to consider is the type of fiber transmitter to use, LED, Laser, etc. The better the technology the more costly the system. Single mode fiber would give you plenty of headroom for speed and distance, but is a very costly solution. The advice I would give is to use 50/125m high capacity Multimode fiber (OM3) with 1300nm laser transmitters. This will provide you with a network capable of 1000 meters for up to 1Gb Ethernet. In the future, if you require faster speeds you should upgrade to Single mode fiber. As for hubs, you should purchase hubs that are OM3 compliant or can interface with OM3 compliant fiber hardware. Your connectors can be MTRJ, VF-45 or ST. I would recommend dual ST connectors, they have been around for a long time, however, MTRJ would also be a good choice. VF-45 connectors are used mostly for fiber to the desktop. Keep in mind, when designing your network, that every connection point is logically 100-300 meters of cable distance. Be careful when calculating distances, all connection points need to be factored in.

This was first published in June 2001

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