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The most widely adopted MPO Connector
MTP® Connectors and MPO Connectors
MPO is the industry acronym for “multi-ﬁber push on.” MPO connectors have more than one ﬁbre in a single ferrule and snap into place by a mechanical mechanism. The MTP® Connector is one brand of MPO connector from US Conec®.
There are many other MPO connectors, both branded and non-branded and these all produce different performance results. Performance varies so much, as opposed to using single fibre connectors such as an LC connector where performance is relatively comparable between brands, due to the difficulties in mating two connectors with multiple fibres (such as a twelve fibre connector).
These difficulties arise due to the large contact area of the connectors. The physical contact between two MPO connectors is roughly
that of LC connectors. If the contact surfaces are not well mated then insertion loss and return loss levels increase. To produce an MPO connector that will mate consistently requires a much higher level of precision in terms of components and manufacturing processes than with single ferrule connectors.
This is why many companies fail to produce consistently high performing MPO products.
When terminated correctly, the MTP® connector is largely regarded as the connector that gives the most consistent high level of performance of any MPO type connector.
The Growth of Pre-Terminated Fibre
Traditionally, 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. This traditional method has some pros and cons compared to using pre-terminated fibre: –
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.
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.
With the invention of consistently high performing MPO connectors a new type of installation method became possible which removed most of the drawbacks from the traditional method.
As already mentioned, terminating MPO connectors is much harder than LC connectors and so factory termination was required. This therefore led to the creation of complete pre-terminated fibre systems.
This new method also coincided with the move to cloud computing which had the effect of changing the physical location of routers, switches, storage and servers to dedicated large data centre environments which in turn suited the use of pre-terminated MPO connectors.
Pre-Terminated Fibre Solutions
MTP® Connector 12 fibre
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 can be split into two categories.
Pre-Terminated fibre solutions:
Generally LC single fibre connectors are directly connectorised onto multi-core cable (4 to 24 core) using a hot cure and machine polish in a factory environment. The cables also have pre-attached glands for connection to patch panels and the connectors are protected in either a pulling tube or in a protective sock.
This method gives very low losses and consistent performance as the ferrules are all machine polished on a multi-stage process and the there is no splices involved.
These pre-terminated trunk cables can then be taken to site, pulled into position and “fibre managed” into the patch panels or breakout boxes.
Large quantities of fibre can be installed in a short timescale in a “clean” manner. Errors (incorrect connection) or damage can occur during the connection to patch panels and this takes more time than using a multi-fibre connector solution.
(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 for connection to the trunk cables (backbone fibre).
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. The MPO connector has a Key which means that it can only be plugged in one way. This ensures the polarity across the channel/link is maintained.
The Basics of a MPO Network
Most MPO networks 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 no specialist skills required as there is no termination. As long as proper cleaning of connectors is carried out and cable bend radius are within the limits of the cable, a high performance network is guaranteed.
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. These other products allow different data rates, trunk extensions and direct equipment connections.
MTP® Connector 24 fibre