Cables Unlimited, Inc.
Case Study
Custom Networking Cable Assembly for Secured Military SCIF Data Center
Components: OM3 and OM4 Fiber Optic Cables, Keyed and Secured LC Connectors

It’s a challenge to think of secure fiber optic networking cable applications taken more seriously than those of the US military, especially if those networking cables are processing classified information relating to national security.

When a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) for the US military was built to handle matters of national security, Cables Unlimited was called in to design and manufacture a top of the line fiber optic network cable assembly with high performance and network security as priority concerns. The custom fiber optic cable assembly included some of the highest grade materials on the market, including OM3 and OM4 40 gig fiber optic cables and keyed and secured LC connectors.

OM3 and OM4 cables are both types of graded-index multimode fiber optic cable, specified under IEEE and TIA/EIA standards. OM3 and OM4 are laser-optimized multimode fiber (LOMMF) cables, specially designed to work with the high speed networks we have today. While they have very similar constructions, OM4 is able to perform over longer distances due to its 4700 megahertz bandwidth versus the 2500 megahertz bandwidth of OM3 cabling. OM4 is one of the fastest fiber optic cables available, and is such new technology that the standard was ratified by the TIA/EIA in August 2009; the IEEE 802.3ba 40G/100G Ethernet standard covering OM3 and OM4 was ratified as recently as June 2010. Not only do they exhibit great performance, but OM3 and OM4 multimode fiber optic cables are cost-effective fiber optic cabling options as well. By using these top of the line fiber optic cables, the secured data center is not only performing to its fullest capabilities now, but should meet the military’s high performance standards for years to come.

Keyed and secured LC connectors were used to maintain security in the infrastructure of the SCIF data center. These connectors are high-density connectors which use a 125um ceramic ferrule, providing connector-adapter-connector mating with proven durability, reliability, and performance. The connectors are also color coded to facilitate network administration - if someone were to plug one of the keyed and secured LC connectors into another component incorrectly; the entire network would shut down in order to maintain the network’s security. The keyed design also supports the security of the restricted network by controlling access to the components.

Quality materials were essential to outfitting the SCIF with the custom OM3 and OM4 fiber optic cable assemblies necessary for its high performance systems. However, the success of the military project also relied heavily on Cables Unlimited’s strong product knowledge and ability to provide sound guidance in the design and manufacture of a cable assembly that would be able to meet strict performance and security requirements. Cables Unlimited worked as an integral and trusted part of the team for the project – passing security clearances and touring the facility to take measurements for the network cabling, evaluate hardware, and more, to ensure that the custom fiber optic assemblies were designed thoughtfully from top to bottom to meet the application’s particular needs.

With the very serious needs for performance and security in this government military application, it was important to ensure that all of their requirements were met using quality materials and attention to detail in every facet of the custom assemblies. However, that didn’t mean that the project was without a timeline. Cables Unlimited was able to complete the extensive project in less than 20 days – a turnaround time that is nearly unmatched in the industry.

To learn how Cables Unlimited can assist you with your custom cable assembly needs, call 1-800-590-9965 today.