In its first test of fiber optics, Anixter Levels Lab, Skokie, Ill., found that enhanced 50- and 62.5/125-micron multimode fiber from Corning Cable Systems were able to support gigabit Ethernet signals without error for distances of roughly 150% to 200% of the expectations - even with a large number of mated connectors.

"With 12 MTRJ connector pairs, 62.5-micron multimode fiber could provide the background riser in a building taller than the Petronas Towers in Malaysia," says Pete Lockhart, Anixter's vice president of technology.

During the last 10 years, companies have installed millions of feet of 62.5-micron fiber, and many network managers are installing 50-micron fiber when additional cabling is needed. Anixter Levels Lab devised a live data testing procedure using difficult waveforms in a real-world environment to find and compare the transmission limits of these two varieties of multimode fiber.

Lockhart believes testing fiber optics cabling and components at the lab will help assure the industry that cabling solutions satisfy quality requirements and meet demand for increased performance and bandwidth. You can find a white paper on this initial study, The Origins of the Anixter Fiber Testing Program, by visiting www.anixter.com/techlib/whiteppr/cabling/d0504p10.htm.