MPO-MTP Fiber Optic Technology

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Multimode fiber cable standards (OM3 or OM4) are now the media of choice for most data center applications. OM3/4 fibers provide the dramatic increases in bandwidth required to match the needs of next generation network solutions deployed today in support of 40 and 100 Gigabit speeds. That is not to say that each individual fiber can support 40G or 100G over long distances; rather standards have evolved to allow multiple fibers to work together to provide an aggregate bandwidth of N X 10G where N is the number of fibers utilized. In this way 8 fibers can work together to provide 40G bi-directional bandwidth. Similarly twenty fibers can deliver 100G links. 

While grouping multimode fibers together provides higher bandwidth, it creates some practical issues. We typically think of each fiber link as two connectors – Transmit and Receive. So how would we keep track of 8 fibers or 20 fibers? Multiple fiber connectors like the Multi-fiber Push-on (MPO) can organize these fibers into physical groups that make logical and mechanical sense. 

The design of data centers requires careful planning and organization to ensure reliability and scalability. The TIA 942(A) data center standard for example, depicts the best practice for organizing a data center creating the concepts and rules used for a structured approach in data center cabling design. These concepts provide for patching fields to distribute resources within the data center. A practical fiber solution must therefore support multiple connections in order to support these structured cabling designs organizing resources in the data center.

Data centers are now being designed to be highly scalable. There are many potential applications, topologies and construction methods used today. Data center operators are looking for models that can minimize capital outlay and optimize operational costs. This has led many designers to look to modular systems that can scale, starting small but able to grow quickly and easily to support expansion. Solutions that can be changed, re-configured and reused offer the building blocks for these designs.

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