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How a Fiber Optic Backbone Network Can Save You Down Time

Image of Anthony Novello
Anthony Novello

Network outages often occur at the most inopportune times. Whether due to hardware or software malfunctions, human error, natural disasters, or cyberattacks, unplanned downtime is costly for any business.

Though the exact consequences of network downtime vary from business to business, solutions to prevent unplanned IT downtime are largely shared across industries. One particularly effective solution is installing a fiber optic backbone network. Fiber optics have become the preferred choice for Ethernet backbones, offering increased bandwidth to support a variety of Internet-based business functions. 

What Is a Fiber Optic Backbone Network? 

Backbone cabling systems provide hard-wired connections within a facility, connecting reception areas, production floors, offices, meeting rooms, storage areas, warehouses, and other parts of a business. Cabling backbones allow businesses to communicate between different departments with ease, supporting more efficient communications. This is especially true when using fiber optic backbone networks. 

Though more expensive than copper, businesses are turning increasingly to fiber optic backbone networks due to their reliability. These backbone networks also allow both phone and Internet over the same lines by providing greater bandwidth. Though more infrastructure is available to support copper cabling, bandwidth limitations can burden any business that relies on the Internet. 

Developing a Reliable and Flexible Backbone Network

Fiber optic backbone networks consist of optical transmitters, fiber optic cabling, and optical receivers. Optical transmitters convert electrical signals to optical signals, and fiber optic cabling carries these optical signals to optical receivers that convert optical signals back to electrical signals. Backbone networks using fiber optic cabling allow larger enterprises with substantial infrastructure to communicate more easily. Partnering with a knowledgeable contractor to support maintenance and monitoring of a fiber optic backbone network after installation will ensure optimal performance.  

Types of Fiber Optic Backbone Networks

These backbone networks connect fiber optic cabling with network routers and switches, with computers normally accessing the network indirectly. 

The four main types of fiber optic backbone networks are: 

  • Serial backbones use two or more devices to connect via a daisy chain, creating a serial linked connection. It can consist of routers, gateways, and switches. The number of devices that can connect to it is limited, and exceeding the limit may lead to data loss and unexpected errors within the network.
  • Distributed backbones use a hierarchical structure, allowing more devices to connect than serial backbones. This type of backbone uses routers and switches as central connectivity devices and provides greater scalability and simpler network administration. Its comparatively economical setup makes distributed backbones easy to implement.
  • Collapsed backbones use a solitary yet powerful router that operates as the central connector for various subnetworks. This central device needs to be powerful enough to manage all the traffic and requires sufficient computational capabilities. Because it relies on a single central device, device failure causes the entire network to go down. However, collapsed backbones are especially useful when two different types of subnetworks require connection.
  • Parallel backbones are a variation of the collapsed backbone model, where devices have multiple connections between each other. They connect high-level routers and network segments, ensuring better network availability, greater speed, and better fault resistance. Parallel backbones require much more cabling than other types, which increases cost.

Benefits of Using Fiber Optic Backbone Networks

Fiber optics have largely replaced core communication cabling throughout the developed world. For many of the same reasons that fiber optics have transformed the telecommunications industry, fiber optic cabling has become a preferred choice for building backbone networks. 

Benefits include:  

  • More secure
  • Easier to install due to the small diameter and light weight of cabling
  • Allows signals to be transmitted over longer distances 
  • Expands bandwidth and improves the scalability of IT networks 
  • Very low bit error rate due to considerable resistance to electromagnetic interference 
  • Faster Internet speeds
  • Works well in environments such as HVAC systems, controllers, power substations, large motors, and other infrastructure that emits electromagnetic interference.

These benefits not only reduce the risk of downtime, but give you greater flexibility and more power.

Supporting Fiber Optic Backbone Networks

Once installed, maintaining and managing backbone networks becomes a priority. As with other building systems, smart building software can ensure fiber optic networks perform optimally. These tools proactively monitor system performance to:

As monitoring technology continues to evolve, the performance of fiber optics will only grow in importance. A smart building platform like onPoint helps you make the most out of the possibilities a fiber optic backbone network provides. 

Buildings IOT offers state-of-the-art services and tools to maintain and monitor fiber optic backbone networks. Contact our team of experts to learn more about what we can do for you.



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