Migrating to 100G and 400G? Our Calculator Works the Numbers


If you’re like most people in the data center market, you’re in the planning stages of converting to 100G links, or you’ve already started the installation process. Either way (and whether you like it or not), that means it’s time to start thinking about 400G.

But what’s the best path forward to 100 and 400G? What cabling choices should you make today so you can cost effectively migrate in the future? Nexans can help you make those decision with our Own the Link Calculator web tool, recently updated for 400G.  In July, Nexans provided a demonstration of the value during a live webinar.  You can see it here.

While the migration from 100G to 400G presents many options in terms of fiber types, wavelengths and modulation schemes, there is a critical choice that you’ll have to make between duplex or parallel transmission.  (As of this writing, a duplex multimode option is not available, and existing multimode standards are still being finalized, so the calculator only looks at single-mode options).

Our calculator adds in the cost of all components (pre-terminated trunk cables, patch cords, patch panel and transceivers) and then normalizes the costs to allow direct comparisons of different data rates, cabling and connectivity.

The process is simple: when you go to www.ownthelink.com, you’ll see a page that allows you to select the original 40G tool or new 400G calculator. Clicking on the 400G button brings you to a screen where you can use drop down menus to describe the details of your cable plant.

When you select the “Calculate Cost Comparison” button, graphs will appear showing cost comparisons for link options you’ve selected, given in dollars per gigabit per second per link ($/Gbps per port).

In the examples shown below, the graph on the left shows the cost of components for a 100G link, with those for a 400G link in the graph on the right. In both graphs, the green bar shows the cost of a duplex link, while the blue bar shows the cost of a parallel link.

The 100G calculation says duplex connectivity is a more cost-effective option, while parallel is better for 400G. So, with migration in mind, which option should you start with?

The graph below answers that question, comparing the effect of keeping your existing cabling when you move to 400G (in blue) compared to changing it (in red). In this selected example, even though 100G is cheaper with duplex optics, the most cost-effective option is to start with a parallel cable plant in anticipation of 400G.  But this may not be the case for you!

Calculate your own potential cost savings – go to www.ownthelink.com and try the tool for yourself. Let us know what you think!