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The benefits of a module-based fiber management system

By: Donna Vinciguerra | Data Center Design Specialist


Do you remember when a cable was a cable, and a connection was just a connection? Point-to-point was the cat’s meow, and it didn’t matter how long the cable was, as long as you had one to plug in.

Times have surely changed, largely due to the ever-evolving world of technology. What used to be a simple connection has now grown into a multitude of considerations—specifically when looking at the fiber requirements.

Point-to-point is gone, or at least it should be, and structured cabling is the way to go.

Consider this…

Do I need a patch cord, a simple two-strand transmit/receive cable? Or do I need multiple strands of glass under one jacket?

Just take a look at the MTP® connector on fiber trunk cables. Who would have thought so many questions could relate to this little 12-fiber connection?

In most cases, a fiber trunk will be terminated by female connections on both ends, allowing them to plug into the back of an MTP®/LC cassette.

So simple! 

But… what if it is plugging into the back of an MTP® feed through coupler panel? Now you need to start considering components like gender of the MTP, and, god forbid, the light path!

Is it a simple 10 gig connection? Is it a 40 or 100 gig connection? Are the 40 gig ports being broke out into multiple 10 gig connections?

Is your head spinning yet?

What if that MTP® cable is now a harness with MTP® on one end and four or six duplex LCs on the other? Again, gender and light path all come into play.

If this, then that

A harness can be used to simply to break out multiple strands of glass, from a trunk through an MTP® feed through panel, and into the individual LCs ports. A harness can also be used to plug directly into a 40 gig active port, and be utilized to break out into multiple 10 gig ports.

In these two scenarios, each harness requires a different MTP® gender and a different light path. A harness can also be used to replicate the ports of a large switch into the passive environment of a patch panel. This now brings yet another light path into play.

It seems like there is so much you have to know, especially with industry standards changing every day. It’s imperative to have a trained team of professionals that can help walk you through what you need to know when undertaking complicated cabling projects. A knowledgeable partner allows you to achieve the ultimate design goal: Measure twice, cut once.

Cabling success

Designing data center cabling toplogies can be a challenge, but success is within your grasp. These are just a few considerations to keep in mind.

Josh Taylor, director of CABLExpress product management, created a great video on how to tell the difference between a male and female MPO (or MTP®) connector and where trouble can arise if you get this wrong!

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