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Introduction to MTP® (MPO) Fibre Networking

Understand the latest fibre networking technologies

The Growth of Pre-terminated fibre

Traditional fibre installation

Fibre networks have been installed by trained engineers who terminate fibre connectors onto multi-core fibre cables on-site and then connect these cables into patch panels held in 19″ racks. The termination method varies from fusion splicing pigtails, to hot and cold cure/epoxy and polish to mechanical splice connector.

Benefits

  • being able to measure trunk lengths at the point of cutting the cable
  • testing immediately and re-terminating if an issue occurs
  • making last minute changes to requirements

Drawbacks

  • the requirement to set up a fibre termination area on-site
  • slow speed of installation
  • the management of people 3rd party contractors in areas of tight security

The rise of pre-terminated solutions

The increase in cloud computing, big data and data traffic has caused a shift to the use of data centres, either owner managed or co-location. This shift has resulted in the centralisation of networking and driven an increase in bandwidth requirements. Both these require more fibre optic links. This volumetric increase in fibre and bandwidth coupled with the restrictions of working within a DC environment drove the growth of pre-terminated fibre optics because these type of networks.

  • offer products which can deal with higher bandwidth (40G and 100G)
  • reduce on-site installation time
  • allow large volumes to be installed quickly
  • there is less disruption to the data centre
  • guaranteed optical performance

Pre-terminated fibre solutions can be split into two categories

1. Pre-terminated traditional fibre products

(e.g. LC connectors and tight buffered cable)
Generally, LC connectors are directly connectorised onto the core cable using a hot cure and machine polish in a factory environment. This gives very low losses and consistent performance. These pre-terminated trunk cables can then be taken to site, pulled into position and “fibre managed” into the patch panels.

MTP patch cord singlemode

2. Solutions which use multi-fibre connectors

– such as an MPO 12 fibre connector.
These solutions are based around a cassette/module to cassette module link via one or more trunk cables.
The cassettes/modules typically have LC front presentation for patching to equipment and rear MPO connections. The MPO trunks simply plug into the rear of the cassette modules (as you would plug in a patch cord) and the link is ready to connect to equipment.

Depending on the requirements either solution may be appropriate, however, multi-fibre connectors have taken dominance as they allow for easy upgrade of 10G networks to 40G and 100G networking.

mtp 12 fibre male connector

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The basics of an MPO Network

Most MPO networks are use LC-MPO cassettes/modules and MPO trunk cables.

The cassettes have either 12 fibres (6 LC ports) or 24 fibres (12 LC ports) and the trunk cables have either 12 or 24 fibres (larger cable counts are available).

Installation is simple. The cassettes are mounted in panels and then connected via MPO trunk cables. Connecting these trunks to the cassettes is as simple as plugging in a patch cord.

There are other products included in the MPO family which enable different types of network design but the principles of building the network are the same.

MPO Connectors

Although the first MPO (multi-fibre push on) connectors were developed over 20 years ago,it has not been since the rapid increase in bandwidth requirements and subsequent common use of parallel optics and 10 Gbps fibre channels that dramatic improvements in performance and durability of MPO technology has come about.
The market leading MPO connector is the MTP® connector which is made in the US by a company called US Conec.
Most MPO connectors in use today have 12 fibres.
These connectors can support six 10Gb Ethernet channels of one 40Gb ethernet. 24 fibre MPO connectors are available but mostly used for 100G.
Most MPO connectors in use today have 12 fibres. These connectors can support six 10Gb Ethernet channels of one 40Gb ethernet.
24 fibre MPO connectors are available but mostly used for 100G.

The MTP Connector

Used by all the leading high density fibre manufacturers the MTP® Connector is at the heart of the Complete Connect solution. The 12 fibre connector has been designed to provide enhanced “overlife” performance and is key to maintaining a robust network. Read more

We believe the market leading MPO connector in terms of performance and durability is the MTP® connector produced by USConec – which is why our range is standardised on this product and is also probably why the connector is used by many other brands including Corning, Systimax by Commscope, TYCO Amp Net Connect / ADC Krone, Panduit, Siemon and many others.

12 Fibre MTP Connector

Approximately the size of an LC duplex connector pair
rotated_and_cropped_DSC0639_vCC

24 Fibre MTP Connector

Female version shown – without guide pins

RBS – Reduced Bend Sensitive

The 2nd component of high density MPO solutions is the fibre cable construction. As opposed to the MTP connector, which has been widely adopted, there are a number of different cables available.

The main requirement of the cable is to give high optical performance when subjected to tight bends and also to be physically small and light so that high numbers of fibres can be cabled through relatively small spaces.

MTP trunk fibre cable 12 core

Building a network through a modular approach

In general, MPO systems are modular and pre-terminated. The reason for this is because at the moment MPO connectors cannot be reliably terminated on-site and so factory termination is required which in turn makes is sensible to produce component products that can be plugged together in a modular fashion.

Most MTP solutions are compatible with each other. Trunks form one manufacturer can be successfully used with cassettes from another manufacturer (as long as polarity is maintained).

This website guide details all the products in the Complete Connect family and shows how it can be confidently installed in a variety of network topologies to ensure that the required performance is achieved and polarity across channels is maintained.

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