Abstract: We present a view detailing the future of graded-index, laser optimized multi-mode fibers (MMF) coupled to low-cost VCSELs, which have historically provided the most cost-effective and widely deployed short-reach fiber solutions for local area networks (LAN) and data centers (DC). The future of MMF will be presented from the perspective of current and evolving market needs & standards as well as recent developments in fiber & transceiver technologies.
Market and customer needs have evolved as the demands on Cloud, Hyperscale, Enterprise, and Edge DCs have evolved. The paper shows the continued relevance of MMF links as cost-effective, short-reach solutions as driven by standards, technology and market trends. The reasons VCSEL-based transceivers can maintain a cost advantage will be discussed, even as speeds increase and single-mode fiber transceivers move into the 500m space in data centers in higher volumes.