A Brief History of MPO Fibre Networking
Fibre infrastructure based on MPO* type connectors first appeared on the market during the 1990s. These early cabling solutions suffered from poor optical performance and so their application was limited.
During the 2000s the performance of these MPO cables was improved largely by the wide adoption of the MT ferrule and the MTP connector. Both these products were produced in the USA by US Conec and were later followed by the introduction of even higher performing ferrules such as the MT ELITE ferrule.
As the demand for MPO cables increased other companies created MPO type connectors. Some of these matched the MTP ELITE connector for performance and others catered for the lower cost market.
* MPO – Multi-fibre Push On.
A connector with more than 1 fibre terminated in the ferrule.
Typically these connectors have 12 fibres, however during
the last 10 years 8 fibre, 16 fibre, 24 fibre, 48 fibre
and 72 fibre connectors have been developed.
MTP 12 Fibre Female Connector
An Aqua housing typically denotes multimode
Demand For Fibre Infrastructure with MPO Type Connectors Increases
The demand for fibre infrastructure based on MPO type connectors really increased as companies moved to centralising and outsourcing their networks to hosting data centres. Moving networking equipment (routers / servers / switches / storage) into a 3rd party’s environment which was designed specifically for this purpose made installation easier and more standardised.
This standardisation, coupled with ever increasing data rates (increasing the need for more fibre channels) enabled the growth of modular MPO cable and MPO cassette based systems which could also accommodate the changes in network topologies.
The MTP connector Starts To Dominate The Market
As demand for duplex “plug and play” fibre networking that was easy and clean to install and offered a modular approach increased, more manufacturers started to offer greater ranges. Leading the way were the large American multinationals such as Corning, Commscope and Panduit. All these companies based their data centre fibre solutions on the MTP connector as this was the most reliable in terms of over-life performance. American networking equipment manufacturers (Cisco, Brocade) also started to adopt the MT ferrule (the ferrule used in the MTP connector) in their transceivers and this added to the wider adoption of the MTP connector.
Complete Connect were one of the first UK companies
to offer complete ranges of MTP based data centre fibre networking.
Data Centre Fibre Networking Demands Even More MPO Based Infrastructure
Initially the demand for MPO based fibre networking in data centres was for duplex 1G and 10G connectivity. This was provided by modular MPO cassette/trunk/cassette solutions. MPO-LC modular cassettes connected by MPO trunk/backbone cables offered LC ports within top-of-rack 1U panels and 2U, 3U or 4U panels within distribution areas. Typically, these types of fibre networks used MPO 12 fibre connectors and 12 core cable and MPO cassette modules with either 6 x LC ports or 12 x LC ports..
Demand for higher LC port density resulted in the introduction of
higher core count MPO cables and higher density MPO Cassette systems
This type of network is still widely adopted and continues to be in demand as end users move from towards 25G networking. However, the demand for higher data rates (40G/56G/100G) and the adoption of parallel networking (multiple pairs of fibres simultaneously transmitting) has created a new demand for MPO connector based fibre infrastructure and the subsequent developement of new fibre networking product ranges.
High Density Fibre System for up to 200G Ethernet
Main Business Drivers for using MPO Fibre Systems
Improve operational performance within the Data Centre
With constant advancement of technology reducing the size of equipment and the ability of this equipment to use higher data rates, the uptake in fibre infrastructure increased, the demand for higher port density increased and the layout of the networks constantly shifted.
This continual change led to continual moves, adds and changes (MACs) within the network. Quickly it became evident that traditional fibre networking could not meet these challenges cost effectively or within the required timescales for change.
Data centres required a better solution. MPO based networks offered this solutions. These types of solution enabled data centre managers to: –
Make changes quickly and become self sufficient with making change
Use 10G MPO fibre cabling to run 40G and 100G, saving time and costs.
Avoid cable build-up in cabinets / pathways and spaces by reducing cabling physical space by using high density, light and small micro core cables reduced space by 65% compared to tight buffered internal cables. Increase port density using MTP ports and patching fields within distribution areas. Reduce patching rackspace requirements through the use of hydra cables, Zero U cable management