Multi-Path™ Solution
One year later

What Problems Does the Multi-Path™ Solution Solve?

By: Rick Dallmann | Director Data Center Architecture

It’s been nearly a year since CABLExpress released and deployed its Multi-Path™ solution, a fiber optic structured cabling method that eliminates all polarity, gender and migration challenges into enterprise-class data centers and networks.

Now, with hundreds of installations under our belt, the verdict is in: the Multi-Path solution has more than delivered on its promise!

What problem?

Ok, I'll back it up. What problem does this solution solve?

The problem or issue of how to best maintain fiber path polarity and connector genders for easy migration from duplex serial transmission to parallel transmission and vice versa has been an industry issue.

The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA) has three approved polarity methods as standards - each specified in the document named ANSI/TIA-568.3-D. These three polarity methods are titled Method A, Method B and Method C.

These methods define light path (transmit to receive) and connectivity methods for duplex and parallel signals, also known as type A and type B cords connections. 

All three standard methods support duplex, multi-fiber and parallel links. However, each of these methods has several limitations, placing a huge burden on the end user.

It gets worse

With these three methods, there are different gender requirements on the MPO trunks and/or jumpers for duplex and parallel signals.

As current and future requirements for high speed optics, such as 25, 40, 50, 100, 200, and 400 Gig, gets faster, there is a significant need in the optical structured cabling plant to be able to handle both duplex and parallel signals. They must not only be able to function at the same time, but also convert or migrate to either one or the other.

Unfortunately, one solution for both duplex and parallel transceiver types simply does not exist in the current set of standards.

What's the solution?

The Multi-Path solution sought to deliver a simple, effective fiber path and polarity system that could effectively handle multiple paths, such as duplex or parallel signals, with no disruption or added cost.

The goal is to simplify the cabling migration process and reduce the need for multiple transition components. Goooooooal achieved!

The Multi-Path solution utilizes some of the best features or advantages of Methods A, B and C, all with a small set of standard products. It uses the same type of duplex (LC) and parallel (MPO) jumpers on both ends of the link, regardless of whether the signals are parallel or duplex.

The MPO-LC cassette modules are also the same on both ends of the link. There is no longer a need for A-side or B-side cassette, such as Core Side, Edge Side.

It gets better

The Multi-Path solution counteracts many disadvantages within the other three methods. It eliminates the need for two different jumper types and two different cassettes.

Say goodbye to expensive conversion modules and MPO coupler positions of:

  • Key Down to Key Down
  • Key Up to Key Up

This solution also eliminates the worry of MPO gender selection of trunks and jumpers, regardless of supporting duplex or parallel signals.

When using 100G SR4 single-mode, the Multi-Path solution provides a bulletproof method for MPO APC, without any proprietary product sets.

Interested in learning more?

Simply download this free white paper, Simplify Fiber Optic Cabling Migrations with a Multi-Path™ System.

The need for speed is answered

As the optics in the data center market increase in speed and diversity, the Multi-Path solution provides a simple and efficient migration path to the high speed links of the future. The need to migrate between duplex and parallel transmission while maintaining a well-managed structured cabling infrastructure is critical.

Combining the Multi-Path structured cabling system with port replication hardware provides a simple migration path from 10Mb to 400GE and beyond.

With more than a full year of use, it has proven its ability to support both current and next generation optics!

Sum it all up

The advantages of the Multi-Path structured cabling system are endless. Read it and leap, baby:

  • Designed with the same MPO trunks for both parallel and duplex signals
  • Eliminates the MPO trunk and jumper gender concern for both duplex and parallel signals
  • Designed to work with both multi-mode and single-mode
  • Uses one type of duplex jumper (A-to-B with LC’s)
  • Uses one type of MPO parallel jumper
  • Uses one type cassette for side-A and side-B connections
  • Seamless migration from parallel to duplex optical signals with standard products

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About the Author

Rick Dallmann, Director, Data Center Architecture for CABLExpress, has more than 20 years of experience in the design and implementation of fiber optic cabling and structured cabling solutions.

Dallmann is an experienced speaker and has given presentations on the latest industry trends and best practices for data center infrastructure cabling at conferences throughout North America, including at BICSI, AFCOM, NY Tech Summit, and more. He authored the article, The Impact of Emerging Data Rates on Layer One Fiber Cabling Infrastructures, which was published in ICT Today, the official trade journal of BICSI. He also authored the white paper, Simplify Fiber Optic Cabling Migrations with a Multi-Path™ System.

Dallmann is a member of the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the leading trade association representing the global information and communications technology industry, and serves on their Telecommunications Cabling Systems committee.