Cabling Solutions for High Density Data Center
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Cabling Solutions for High Density Data Center

Posted on by FS.COM

The network speed keeps changing from 1G to 10G, 10G to 40G and even to 100G. Thus, different optical technologies and cabling infrastructures are required. The data center cabling systems turn to be more and more complex. A nice cable management is the key to good service or scalability for troubleshooting.

When designing a network system, one should better plan the cabling system in advance. Two kinds of cabling systems can be applied and they are unstructured system and structured system.

Unstructured System

Unstructured cabling system is applied when optical links are deployed point to point or device to device with no patch panels installed in the link. In this system, cabling infrastructure will always be in a mess with many two-fiber optical patch cords. And this entanglement will bring difficulties in routing new patch cords in ceiling or floor trays all the way across the data center whenever a new device is deployed. That greatly influences work efficiency. What’s more, this system causes the overheating of data centers especially around the racks where cable clutter occurs. However, some organizations today still utilize the traditional cable solutions, just deploying cables to meet immediate needs without considering future needs.


Structured System

As port counts increase and network equipment become dense in the data center, the management of these device is a big challenge. The connection of the high density data center must not apply the same method used in the low speed network. The best way is to move from traditional low-density, duplex patch cord cable solutions to high-density, structured cable solutions.

Structured cabling system is a flexible, reliable and highly efficient for moving, adding and changing the infrastructure as the network grows. This kind of system requires additional investment on pre-terminated MPO cabling such as patch panel to create the cabling infrastructure. But the benefits brought by the cost make cable deployment and troubleshooting time more efficient. Structured cabling is often applied as the infrastructure grows and as constant moves and changes need for a reliable network. So the deployment of robust cabling links between two patch panels is very common in high density data centers.

MTP/MPO Components for Structured Cabling System

By comparison, structured cabling is obviously better than unstructured cabling system considering future high density cabling deployment. When cabling high density, high-port-count MPO equipment can provide more scalability to accommodate future data rates. Typical MTP/MPO components used in structured cabling system are shown in the following table.

Item Image Description
MPO/MTP Trunk Cable MTP-trunk-cable

MPO/MTP trunk cables are typically 12 to 144 fibers and create the permanent fiber links between patch panels in a structured environment. These cables are preterminated with MPO/MTP connectors at a specified length.

MTP-LC Harness Cable MTP-harness-cable

MTP-LC harness assemblies are used for breaking out the MTP connector into multiple LC connections.

MTP Adapter Panel MTP-adapter-panel

MTP adapter panels are installed into the housings. They offer a connection point between the MTP trunks and MTP jumpers or harnesses. Thus, the trunk cables and MTP jumpers plug into the rear and front of the panel.

MTP/MPO – LC Cassette  mtp_24f_cassette_fs

MTP/MPO – LC Cassettes are installed into the connector housings. They breakout the MTP connection from the trunk cables into LC connectivity. Thus, the trunk cables plug into the rear MTP of the module, and LC patch cords plug into the front of the module.

40G Structured Cabling Solutions

Structured cabling solutions allow for high consolidation of cabling into a compact patch panel, cabling and connectivity. A good cable management solution using an MPO/MTP patch panel allows for easy management in the high density data center. Below are cabling solutions of 40G for cable management configurations.

One method uses MTP-LC harnesses to transition the MTP connector to LC leads through the use of fiber enclosure loaded with 4 fiber adapter panels (12xMTP Key-up/Key-down) . This 12-fiber MTP to LC harness assembly breaks out 4 x LC uniboot legs connecting the SFP+ ports. The lengths of LC harness legs can be customized to adapt to different situations. But this often results in messy cable management.


The other method uses MPO/MTP trunk cable and fiber enclosure loaded with 4 MTP high density cassettes (2 x MTP-12 to Duplex LC/UPC 10G OM4) to realize the interconnection. This 96-fiber 1RU rackmount fiber enclosure connects LC patch cords and MTP trunk cable. This method is specially used when the 4xLC ports are not located in close proximity on a single device or are being split between multiple devices. Because it’s more manageable to land the MTP trunk cables into fiber enclosure with individual LC ports for 4xLC patch cables.



A good cabling system design should meet both current and future network requirements. Structured cabling using an MTP cabling infrastructure is suitable for current 10 Gigabit Ethernet environments while maintaining protection for 40 Gbps environments and beyond. Since patch panels are special for higher density cabling to accommodate the transition from the MTP connectivity to the traditional LC connectivity. To further optimize cabling density, MTP assemblies are wise choice.

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