Page 60 - 2021 High-Reliability, Harsh Environment Connectivity eBook
P. 60

Optimizing SWaP for Military and Aerospace Applications
Anders Thelin, Product Manager, Cinch Connectivity Solutions
Optimizing size, weight, and power (SWaP) characteristics tends to be a key design goal for communications and networking equipment deployed in military and aerospace applications. Today’s electronic systems generate more and more data, which needs to be moved quickly and efficiently, without technical bottlenecks holding up real- time operation. Copper wires have traditionally served as the backbone of connectivity technologies, but they are increasingly being replaced by fiber optics and wireless connections.
» Fiber optic solutions like Cinch Connectivity Solutions’ STRATOS brand rugged and pluggable optical transceivers can provide the high throughput required for today’s data-intensive communications applications while delivering both optimized SWaP characteristics and the ability to satisfy tough environmental and operational demands.
Fiber vs. Copper in High-Reliability, Harsh-Environment Applications
Four key factors need to be considered for high-reliability, harsh-environment military and aerospace applications: robustness, size, weight, and performance.
When you’re a mile above the earth, reliability is paramount. Fiber is less vulnerable to environmental factors such as temperature, electromagnetic interference, and weather. Fiber also has a longer lifetime than copper, approximately 30–50 years, which reduces maintenance and overall operating costs. When considering reliability along with SWaP performance, fiber optics are often the best choice for mission-critical applications like these.
The overall weight and size of fiber optic cabling is considerably less than copper as well. A fiber optic cable weighs around four pounds per 1,000 feet versus 39 pounds per 1,000 feet for copper cable. The diameter of a fiber optic cable is considerably smaller as well. For example, Cat 5e copper cabling requires over 100 times more space than a comparable amount of fiber optic cable.
In addition, fiber optic performance again beats copper cabling, offering much higher bandwidth and much lower attenuation. The bandwidth throughput of fiber is over 60Tb/s, compared to just 10Gb/s for copper Cat 5e cabling, and the need for network repeaters is roughly every 31 miles with fiber as opposed to roughly every five miles with copper.

   58   59   60   61   62