Fiber Optic Solution

Saving Data Center Space to the Extreme with MPO Cable Assemblies

As data center gradually migrates to higher speed 40G and 100G networks, more and more devices will be crowded in. Space becomes the first factor that IT managers should take into consideration. To solve this issue, FS.COM has released a series of MPO cable assemblies, including HD TAB MPO fiber patch cable, MPO harness cable, MPO breakout patch panel and MPO cassette, etc. which can save space to the extreme in data center. This post will introduce these four high density MPO cabling solutions one by one in detail.

HD TAB MPO Fiber Patch Cable

HD TAB MPO fiber patch cable allows high-density connections between network equipment in telecommunication rooms. It features push-pull tab connectors at both ends that can offer maximum accessibility in high density installations. Besides, Like standard MPO connector, these HD push pull connectors are also the same size of a SC connector, but since it can accommodate 12 fibers, providing up to 12 times the density, thereby offering savings in circuit card and rack space. We can get detailed information of this HD TAB MPO fiber patch cable in the image below.

HD TAB MPO fiber patch cable

MPO Harness Cable

MPO harness cable, normally terminated with MPO connector on one end and several SC or LC connectors on the fanout end, is designed for high density applications with required high performance and speedy installation. In order to increase the capacity of existing 12-fiber and 24-fiber MPO network, MPO harness conversion cable is designed. It can allow users to convert their existing MPO backbone cables to an MPO type which matches their active equipment. Commonly used MPO harness conversion cables are 1*2 MPO conversion cable (one 24-fiber MPO connector at one end and two 12-fiber MPO connector at the other end), 1*3 MPO conversion cable (one 24-fiber MPO connector at one end and three 8-fiber MPO connectors at the other end), 2*3 conversion cable (two 12-fiber MPO connectors at one end and three 8-fiber MPO connectors at the other end). These three MPO harness conversion cable types are shown in the following image.

MPO harness conversion cable

HD MPO Breakout Patch Panel

There are commonly two types of MPO breakout patch panel for high density data center: 40G breakout patch panel and 100G breakout patch panel. Loaded with 12 standard MPO connectors (8-fiber) elite and 48 duplex LC connectors in a 1RU patch panel, 40G breakout patch panel can meet high density cabling demands up to 96 ports. 100G Breakout patch panel is designed with 8 standard 24-fiber MPO connectors (20 fibers used) and 80 duplex LC connectors in a 2RU patch panel, which can achieve 8 groups of 10G to 100G path in a simple, efficient and well-managed way.

HD MPO Breakout Patch Panel

HD MPO Cassette

HD MPO fiber cassette is a modular module, which is loaded with 12 or 24 fibers and have 6 or 12 duplex LC or SC adapters on the front side and MPO adapter at the rear. HD MPO cassette is more compact than the traditional LGX MPO cassette, so that it can be more suitable for high-density applications, helping users saving more spaces. For example, a 1RU fiber enclosure can only hold up to 3 MPO cassettes, but it can hold up to 5 MPO cassettes as shown below.

HD MPO Cassette

Conclusion

As networking equipment becomes denser and port counts in the data center increase to several hundred ports, it is time to deploy MPO cabling assemblies. All of the assemblies we have talked above can be purchased in FS.COM. For any requirement, please visit FS.COM.

Why Should We Choose SMF for Future-Proof Data Center Cabling?

When choosing fiber optic cable, users will always be in a delimma: single-mode or multimode, which one should we choose? Although multimode is cheaper in price, many facts indicate that single-mode cabling is better for future-proof data center cabling.

MMF: A Penny Wise but A Pound Foolish

Price is always the first factor that customers will take into consideration when purchasing products. Generally, the SMF itself is cheaper than MMF fiber ($1.10/meter vs. $3.70/meter for 24-strand OS2 vs. OM3 in FS.COM, and if you use SMF with LC interface and MMF with MTP interface for 40/100G, the price difference between SMF and MMF will be much great, 1M LC fiber cable vs. OM3 MPO fiber cable is $2.8 vs. $38 ), but the optics we should use with SMF vs. MMF are usually a bit more expensive. Take FS.COM as an example, SMF SFP vs. MMF SFP is $7 vs. $6, SMF vs. MMF SFP+ is $34 vs. $16, and with the increase of data rates, the price gap between SMF and MMF optics will be widen. We can get more detailed information from the table below.

price differences between SMF and MMF optics

From the price comparison between SMF and MMF cabling. You did save an amount of money to install MMF cabling, but you should consider the data rates that the MMF can support. In fact, in most cases, currently deployed MMF cabling is unable to support higher speeds over the same distance as lower-speed signals as shown in the table below since its cabling support for higher bit rates is limited by its large core size. As data traffic grows and interconnectivity speeds increase, the distance between connections must decrease, so the operators will be forced to constrain either the physical size of the data center or the connection speed between its nodes, which is unacceptable for most growing data centers. Besides, higher transmit rates will appear to meet more bandwidth requirements, IT managers will face with replacing an obsolete fiber plant, which will cause unexpected cabling costs.

supporting transmission distance of MMF

SMF Serves as an Alternative

Unlimited Bandwidth and Longer Distance: Unlike MMF, SMF cabling deployment support unlimited bandwidth, all but eliminating the capacity bottleneck. With unconstrained headroom, operators can safely settle into a network architecture with server interconnects that will scale with the data center. Many large data center operators, like Google and Microsoft have consciously adopted an SFM fiber cabling strategy in order to remove the network connectivity and speed constraints of a MMF plant.

Decreasing Cost: While using SMF cabling has historically been more expensive than using MMF, technologies advances have fundamentally changed the pricing structure. For example, price difference between 100G SMF and MMF optics is great, normally $2800 vs. $400, but there are newly designed 100G SMF optics, like QSFP28 PSM4 and QSFP28 CWDM4 as shown below, which is ideal for use for large data center. As the development of technology, the price for SMF cabling will continue decreasing.

100GBase-PSM4 and 100GBase-CWDM4

Consistency: Single-mode cabling is used for external data center communication. By extending SMF into the data center, operators can leverage a consistent cable plant throughout the data center. Standardizing on a single cable plant will drive down sparing costs and reduce operational overhead.

Summary

Choosing SMF or MMF is forcing operators to choose between today and tomorrow. Although MMF provides tempting lower prices, it is not a long-term available solution. Operators should take the advantage of SMF’s limitless traffic carrying capacity and signal reach without incurring unnecessary cost overhead.

Polarity A and Polarity B MTP Cassettes Deployment

With the widespread deployment of 40G and 100G network, high density modular system has gained much popularity. MTP modular cassette is loaded with factory-installed and tested optical fiber assembly inside to connect the front LC or SC adapter to the back MTP connector adapter, which is often used to interconnect MTP backbones with LC or SC patching. This post aims to introduce how to deploy polarity A and polarity B MTP cassettes correctly.

Polarity A and Polarity B MTP Cassettes Overview

As mentioned, MTP cassette features simplex or duplex port adapters across the front and MTP or MPO adapter across the back as shown below. The MTP adapter mounted at the rear of a cassette defines it as either a polarity A or polarity B cassette. The only differences between polarity A and polarity B MTP cassette is the orientation of the internal MPO/MTP connector with respect to the mating MPO/MTP array cable connector.

MPO MTP cassette structure

The polarity A MTP cassette makes a key-up to key down connection between the internal MPO/MTP connector and the MPO/MTP array cable connector, while the polarity B MTP cassette makes a key-up to key up connection. But we have to pay attention that a polarity B MTP cassette will not allow single-mode angle polish mated pair connections, because the angles of the mating connectors are not complementary.

How to Deploy Polarity A and Polarity B MTP Cassettes in Different Connectivity Methods?

To ensure the proper polarity of array connections using multifiber MPO/MTP components from end-to-end, the TIA 568 standard has defined three methods, known as Method A, Method B, and Method C. In different method, the deployments of polarity A and polarity B are different.

Connectivity Method A: In this connectivity method, a type-A trunk cable is used to connect a polarity A MTP cassette with key-up to key-down MTP adapters on each side of the link, then there is a A-to-B type duplex patch cable on the left and a A-to-A type duplex patch cable on the right as shown below.

method-a

Note: 1. Type-A trunk cable is a straight through cable with a key-up MTP connector on one end and a key-down MTP connector on the other end, which makes the fibers at each end of the cable have the same fiber position. For example, the fiber located at position 1 of the connector on one side will arrive at position 1 at the other connector. 2. A-to-A and A-to-B type patch cables are defined by TIA standard, which are terminated with LC or SC connectors to complete an end-to-end fiber duplex connection. Generally, A-to-A type patch cable is a cross version and A-to-B type is a straight version.

Connectivity Method B: In method B, a type-B trunk cable is used to connect a polarity B MTP cassette with key-up to key-up MTP adapters on each side of the link, and there are A-to-B type duplex patch cable used on both ends to achieve the connection between MTP cassettes and other equipment as shown below.

method-b

Note: Type-B trunk cable is with two key-up MTP connectors terminated at both ends. So the position 1 of one connector is corresponding to the position 12 of the other connector.

Connectivity Method C: In this method, a type-C trunk cable is used to connector a polarity A MTP cassettes on each side of the link, and then use two standard A-to-B type duplex cables at both ends of the link as shown below.

method-c

Note: Type-C trunk cable is similar to type-A trunk cable with one key-up connector and one key-down connector at each end, but in type-C cable, each adjacent pair of fibers at one end is flipped at the other end. For example, the fiber at position 1 on one connector is shifted to position 2 at the other connector, and the fiber at position 2 at one connector is shifted to the position 1 at the other connector, etc.

Conclusion

MTP cassette allows for rapid deployment of high density data center infrastructure as well as improved troubleshooting and reconfiguration during MACs(moves, adds and changes). The text above have introduced connectivity of polarity A and polarity B cassettes in three different connectivity method. We have to figure it out that its deployment is closely related to the other components used in the same method, when deploy it, you should pay much attention to the trunk cable and patch cable type used in different method.

Two Simplest Ways to Get 40G to 40G Connection

Technologies revolving around virtualization, cloud computing and big data are requiring more throughput capabilities than ever before, and 10G Ethernet is just not enough to deliver these resources. This is where administrators may run into the challenge of upgrading from 10G to 40G and beyond. This post will introduce how to get 40G to 40G connection through two simplest ways: MTP trunk cable and QSFP+ DAC.

MTP Trunk Cable and QSFP+ DAC Overview

Terminated with MTP fiber connector at both ends, MTP trunk cable is used to connect MTP port modules for high density backbone cabling in data centers and other high dense degree environments. 12-fiber and 24-fiber MTP trunk cables are commonly used in networking applications: 12-fiber MTP trunk cable is normally for 40G Ethernet network, while 24-fiber MTP trunk cable is normally for 100G Ethernet network as shown below.

12-fiber and 24-fiber MTP trunk cable for 40G Ethernet

QSFP+ DAC as shown below is a copper 40GBase twinax cable that comes in either active or passive twinax cable assembly and connects directly into QSFP+ modules, which are permanently attached to both ends of the cable. These QSFP+ connectors are not real modules, since they are without expensive optical lasers. That’s why QSFP+ DAC cables are much more cheaper than fiber optic cables.

QSFP+ DAC

40G to 40G Connection With MTP Trunk Cable

In this scenario, you can simply use 12-fiber MTP MPO trunk cable and 40GBase-SR4/40GBase-CSR4/40GBase-PLR4/40GBase-PLRL4 QSFP+ transceivers to accomplish a quick connection between two 40G switches as shown below. 40GBase-SR4 and 40GBase-CSR4 are used for 40G transmission in short distances up to 150 m or 400 m over OM4 fibers, respectively. The 40GBase-PLRL4 and 40GBase-PLR4 can support transmission distance over single-mode fiber up to 1.4 km and 10 km respectively. All of these QSFP+ modules can deliver 40G over 4 lanes fibers at 10Gbps per lane. When they deployed with a 12-fiber MTP trunk cable, only 8 fibers will be used (4 for transmit and 4 for receive), leaving the other 4 fibers unused. All these modules can be purchased from FS.COM, and you can choose the right one according to the distance between your two switches.

MTP-MPO-trunk-cables-in-40G-connectivity

40G to 40G Connection With QSFP+ DAC

QSFP+ DAC and QSFP+ AOC cables are recommended when the distance between the two 40G switches is very short, normally 10 meters. Unlike the first solution, in this scenario, no QSFP+ modules are required. We just need to plug the QSFP+ connectors into the two QSFP+ interfaced switches within the same racks or across adjacent racks as shown below, and it can work, which is more easy to handle, especially for someone who is new to 40G deployment. FS.COM also provides QSFP+ DAC in active or passive versions (active for link length up to 7, 10 meters, and passive for 1, 3, 5 meters). You can choose the proper one up to your requirement.

40G to 40G connection with QSFP+ DAC

Conclusion

Data center migration to 40G Ethernet is imperative. If you are familiar with network deployment, and has bright budget, you can choose MTP trunk cable to get the 40G connection. If you are a new to 40G, you’d better choose 40G QSFP+ DAC for easy installation and lower investment. Of course, this is just personal suggestion, you can choose the right one according to your practical application.

QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC VS. QSFP+ MTP breakout cable

As the demand for fast-speed data transmission ever-increases, it is inevitable to migrate from 10G to 40G in data center. However, with the existence of 10G infrastructure, it will cost an amount of money to replace them with 40G devices or equipment. So there come fan-out cabling solutions. Commonly, there are two methods used to migrate from 10G to 40G for short distance transmission: QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC and QSFP+ MTP breakout cable. This post aims to introduce these two types of fan-out cables and tell some differences between them.

40G QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC Overview

40G QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC is a cable assembly, which is composed of a QSFP+ connector on one end and four SFP+ connectors on the other end. This type of fan-out cable can transmit four separate streams of 10Gbps data over ribbon cables in a point-to-multipoint configuration for the link length of 100 meters over OM3 fiber. It offers IT professionals a cost-effective interconnect solution for merging 40G QSFP+ and 10G SFP+ enabled host adapters, switches and servers. Users can directly install this breakout cable between an available QSFP+ port on their 40Gbps rated switch and feed up to four upstream 10G SFP+ enabled switches as shown below.

10G to 40G connection with 40G QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC

QSFP+ MTP Breakout Cable Overview

QSFP+ MTP breakout cable is composed of one MTP or MPO connector on one end for interfacing with QSFP+ port on the 40G switch, while the other end is terminated with four duplex LC connectors for providing connectivity to the SFP+ port on the 10G switch. When we need to achieve the connection between 10G and 40G devices for short distance transmission, besides MTP LC breakout cable, it also requires 40GBase-SR4 or 40GBase-CSR4 and 10GBase-SR4 as shown below.

10G to 40G connection with MTP LC breakout cable

40GBase-SR4 or QSFP-40G-SR4 can be used in a 4x10G mode for interoperability with 10GBase-SR interfaces up to 100 and 150 meters on multimode (OM3 or OM4) MTP to LC breakout cable respectively, while 40GBase-CSR4 or QSFP-40G-CSR4 can be also used in a 4x10G mode for interoperability with 10GBase-SR interfaces, but it extends the distance up to 300 and 400 meters on multimode (OM3 or OM4) MTP to LC breakout cable respectively.

Differences Between QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC and QSFP+ MTP Breakout Cable

Performance: As we have mentioned above, both of these fan-out cables can support short link length. Generally, when the transmission distance is less than 100 meters, QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC and QSFP+ MTP Breakout Cable both can be applied, but when it comes to distance over 100 meters, MTP breakout cable has more reliable and better performance than QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC.

Cost: When comparing these two cable types from the aspect of cost, we should take two factors into consideration, one is material cost, and the other is maintenance cost. Actually, in 10G to 40G connection, the total material price of QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC is higher than QSFP+ MTP breakout cable with a 40GBase-SR4 or 40GBase-CSR4 module. For example, 1m QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC is about $200, while 1M MTP to LC breakout cable is $29 with a $55 40GBase-SR4 QSFP+ module and four $16 10GBase-SR SFP+ from FS.COM as show below. However, in modern data center, the value of maintenance cost is much more important than the value of material cost. With QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC, IT managers no longer have to clean the connector as well as terminate plug and test regularly, which can greatly save time and cost.

QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC VS. QSFP+ MTP breakout cable

Installation: As we know, QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC is a cable assembly which has been pre-terminated with one QSFP+ connector on one side and four SFP+ connectors on the other side, so when using it, we just need to plug the connectors directly into the switches, and it works. But for MTP breakout cable, the installation process is a little more complicated. First we have to plug the MTP breakout cable into the QSFP+ and SFP+ interface, and then plug the whole assembly into the switch port.

Which Fan-out Cable Should We Choose?

Both QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC and QSFP+ MTP breakout cable are two good fan-out solutions for the migration from 10G to 40G. But to choose the right one, you have to take some factors into consideration. If the link length you need is long and requires good performance, you should turn to MTP breakout cable and QSFP+ module. But if you are a fresh man in optical deployment, you’d better choose QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ AOC for easier installation and more free from maintenance.

Deploying MPO/MTP Cassettes for 10G, 40G & 100G Connectivity

With bandwidth capabilities, port density, security, upgradability and ease of installation, pre-terminated fiber cabling has dominated in today’s data centers and high speed networks. MPO/MTP based networking has established itself as the leading technology within the pre-terminated fiber portfolio. MPO/MTP cassette, as an indispensable device used in high-density data center, has gained much popularity. In this post, we’re going to learn some knowledge about MPO/MTP cassette and how to deploy MPO/MTP cassette for 10G, 40G and 100G connectivity.

MPO/MTP Cassette Overview

MPO/MTP cassette is a modular module, which is loaded with 12 or 24 fibers and has LC or SC adapters on the front side and MPO/MTP at the rear, enabling users to take the fibers brought by a MTP trunk cable and distribute them to a duplex cable as shown below. MTP LGX cassette, HD cassette and TAP cassette are three variants of the MTP cassette, which provide secure transition between MTP and LC or SC discrete connectors, allowing for rapid deployment of data center infrastructure as well as improved troubleshooting and reconfiguration during moves, adds, and changes.

MPO MTP cassette structure

Advantages of MPO/MTP Cassette
  • Reliable Interface: MPO/MTP cassettes is interfaced with LC and MPO/MTP, featuring superior optical and mechanical properties.
  • Optimized Performance: Low loss MPO/MTP elite, discrete premium connectors and OM4 fiber grade assures low insertion loss and power penalties in tight power budget, high-speed network environments.
  • High Density: Generally, 12 and 24-fiber MPO/MTP cassettes are commonly used ones. They can be mounted in 1U scaling up to 72 or in 3U scaling up to 336 discrete LC connectors.
How to Use MPO/MTP Cassette in 10G, 40G & 100G Connectivity?
MPO/MTP Cassette for 10G to 10G Connectivity

For 10G to 10G connectivity, as we know, we often use a duplex LC patch cable for direct connection when the distance between these two 10G devices is short, but how about long distance connection? We can use MPO/MTP cassette for interconnection or cross connection. The image below shows 10G to 10G connectivity with 1xMTP(12-Fiber) to 6xLC duplex cassette.

10G to 10G connectivity with 1xMTP(12-Fiber) to 6xLC duplex cassette

MPO/MTP Cassette for 10G to 40G Connectivity

Likewise, for 10G to 40G migration, if the distance between 10G device and the 40G device is short, we can use a MTP-4 duplex LC patch cable for direct connection. But when long distance connection is needed, we may also have to deploy MPO/MTP cassette for interconnection or cross connection. The image below shows 10G to 40G connectivity with 1xMTP(24-Fiber) to 12xLC duplex cassette.

1xMTP(24-Fiber) to 12xLC duplex cassette to achieve the migration from 10G to 40G network

MPO/MTP Cassette for 10G to 100G Connectivity

If we need to upgrade our 10G network to 100G or need to connect 10G device to 100G device, we can also use MPO/MTP cassette. In 10G upgrade to 100G connectivity scene, if the distance between the 10G device and the 100G device is short, we can directly connect these two devices with MTP-10 duplex LC patch cable. But once the distance is extended, a MPO/MTP cassette is needed. We should use it to interconnect or cross-connect the 10G device and 100G device. The following image shows 10G to 100G connectivity with 2xMTP(2*12-Fiber) to 12xLC duplex cassette.

2xMTP to 12xLC duplex cassette for 10G to 100G migration

Conclusion

MPO/MTP cassette is widely used in today’s high density data center. FS.COM provides a wide range of MPO/MTP cassettes, including 1xMTP(12-Fiber) to 6xLC duplex cassettes, 2xMTP(2*12-Fiber) to 12xLC duplex cassettes and 1xMTP(24-Fiber) to 12xLC duplex cassettes to meet different demands. All of these cassettes are the combination of high quality components and manufacturing quality control, which could provide great reliability.


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