The MPO connector causes challenges in the data center because the MPO has a polarity associated with it. It's a multi-fiber connector so it also has a gender associated with it.
Every time that you plug an MPO together, whether it's a cassette module, a feed through adapter or actually into a transceiver, one side has to be male, one side has to be female.
Would you like to learn more? Download our white paper on this topic here.
- Chapter 1 - Introduction to challenges for polarity in data centers
- Chapter 2 - Understanding MPO polarity
- Chapter 3 - Knowing the standards
- Chapter 4 - Optics from 10G to 400G
- Chapter 5 - Disadvantages of Method A TIA-568
- Chapter 6 - Analyzing Method B TIA-568
- Chapter 7 - Analyzing Method C TIA-568
- Chapter 8 - Introducing the multi-path solution
- Chapter 9 - Real-world examples of how multi-path works
- Chapter 10 - The advantages of a multi-path solution
Josh: Okay. So, we've obviously talked through this. I've worked with you closely on these projects but in the past we've seen some of these proprietary systems and I don't know, what's a good example? Would you say MTRJ is a good example? In a way it was a connector, standard base connector but yet there's a proprietary aspect to it. This connector you're required to have all new materials. Right? This is going to save your life. This is going to make things easier. It seems like constantly new things are coming out. Hey, this is going to be the greatest thing but we've been static, not static but the LC has been predominant for a while now. You, yourself ... Well we've been working together 10 years, 10 years plus.
Josh: You've been pushing the MPO or the MTP connector for a long time. As time has gone by, I've seen how wise of a push that has been. Is there ... A, I just want to point that out but do you see ... Is that still a problem that these proprietary systems are being put in place? It seems like it's a waste of money a lot of times and historically it has been a waste of money for many organizations.
Rick: Well, sure but here's the good news. The good news is that as far as connectivity goes there's really no proprietary ... Well, there is no proprietary connectivity that is predominant in the data center today and I think looking towards the future will ever be. The industry has pretty much settled on LC, okay?
Rick: Back in the day when connectors got smaller and then the small [inaudible 00:01:44] factors came out there was a big competition in the marketplace to see which footprint was going to take effect.
Rick: And LC won out predominantly because of its performance characteristics and things of those sort. The other interconnect is MPO. Some people refer to it as different names, some people refer to it as MPO, that's actually the industry standard name for it. There's some brand name out there, most people are familiar with it by MTP. Relatively recent in new technology to some people, but it's actually been around for quite some time. Yeah, back in the day when you used to be able to pre order mainframe systems that came pre cabled directly from the manufacturer, they came cabled up with these systems. For years, and again, it's been 20 plus years really for this particular connector. But, it took off in a marketplace a few years back when the standards for 40 gigabit were developed around this particular connector as an active component rather than just a passive component in the market.
But again, what we talked about earlier, this is inherently what brings in challenges in the data center because the MPO has a polarity associated with it because it's a multi fiber connector. It also has a gender associated with it because every time that you plug an MPO together, whether it's a cassette module, a feed through adapter or actually into a transceiver, one side has to be male, one side has to be female. The male side has aligned pins. That is necessary because there is 12 fibers in the very small package and alignment is critical for fiber optic preforming connectivity, so to speak.
Rick: And then also, when we start talking about and we'll get into it now if you want, we'll talk about obviously the higher speeds utilize this connector to transmit multiple lanes, for lack of a better term of gigabit or data down the pipe. It does not transmit as a fiber one two, which were kind of associated with the Duplex LC model but it transmits over parallel optics, which utilizes the first four fibers for transmit and the second or the last eight fibers or the last four fibers 8-12 for receive. Okay?
Rick: So, inherently that's what half the challenge is come into effect. Alright? But yeah, if that wasn't, I guess challenging enough, we're already talking about 200 and 400 gigabit in the marketplace. That's going to use an MPO based style connector as well but possibly increasing the ferrule size up to 8 and 32 ... Or 16 and 32 fiber positions. Then obviously, with the relatively new release of short range single mode in the data center it's becoming actually very cost effective to actually run single mode in your data center but again transmitting on parallel optics using the MPO. Again, we talk about proprietary systems as far paths go and it prevents you from following some standards in the data center, if in fact you choose to go single mode with this particular connector.