As transmission moves closer to the user and distances become shorter, a set of solutions are necessary to address the specific needs of the LAN market and those of other short-reach applications, such as SAN (storage area network) and equipment room interconnections.
Also the demand for data rates in excess of a Gbps keeps growing for the above applications, so multimode fiber and short-wave VCSELs are becoming the dominant technologies.
Since the success of 100Mbs fast ethernet in the 1990s, the driving forces behind the spurring interest in multimode fibers are the Gigabit Ethernet and 10Gigabit Ethernet. Although other technologies have also played a role, 95% of the LAN applications are Ethernet.
The multimode fiber solutions address building backbones in LANs, storage networks, and equipment interconnections. The combination of the availability of inexpensive VCSELs at 850nm, the ease and low cost packaging of launching and receiving light to and from multimode fiber, and the large expected volumes of short-reach 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports have made 850nm serial over multimode fiber the lowest-cost solution.
The most important technical knowledge obtained in the last couple of years has been the clarification of the performance of multimode fiber when excited by laser diode transmitters instead of the previously used LEDs. This change in launch condition has forced us to understand these issues during the development of Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet.