Which Type of Rack Mount Fiber Enclosures Should You Choose?

Posted on August 23, 2016
October 30, 2020

Fiber enclosure, as a general term for the hardware that are used to house, organize, manage and protect fiber optic cables in fiber optic cabling and terminations, is widely used in various fields, e.g. data centers, FTTx (Fiber to the x/Fiber to the Home) and CATV (Cable TV). For rack mount cabling applications in data center, rack mount enclosure is usually used. According to different configurations, there are various fiber enclosure types available in the market. So, which type should be used for your data center rack mount cabling?

Rack Unit of Fiber Optic Rack Mount Enclosures

The rack mount enclosures are generally made for 19 inch rack mount and come in rack units of 1U, 2U, 3U, 4U. 1U and 2U rack mount enclosures provide full front and rear access with a drawer that slides forward and backward. 1U 19inch rack mount enclosure is usually loaded with two fiber optic patch panel, cassettes or modules. 3U and 4U rack mount enclosures feature a fixed bulkhead design. The following picture shows the different rack units of fiber enclosures.

rack mount enclosure

Accessibility Consideration: Cover Removable Type or Slide-out Type?

1U 19inch rack mount enclosure is the most commonly used type in data center server racks cable management. There are general three versions of rack mount enclosures: Cover Removable Type fiber enclosure, Slide-out Type fiber enclosure and Swing-out Type fiber enclosure.

rack mount fiber enclosure type

The cover removable type is an early type of fiber enclosures, which is more affordable but harder to access. If you have sufficient budget, slide-out type or swing-out type rack mount fiber enclosures are recommended. Although they are more expensive than the cover removable type, they respectively feature a convenient slide-out support tray and a integrated swing-out tray so that you don’t have to remove the whole fiber enclosure from the rack to gain internal access.

Fixed Front Panels or Removable Front Panels?

As we know, fiber optic adapters are the key part of fiber enclosure to accept the various fiber optic connectors. Thus, to choose a proper front patch panel option is also important. For general rack mount enclosures, there are mainly two types—one type uses fixed 1U High 19″ front panel, and the other type incorporates three, or even up to five removable front panels. The latter is now becoming more popular with users, because a plug & play fiber adapter panel solution assures flexibility and ease of network deployment and MAC (moves, adds, and changes).

Splicing or Pre-terminated?

Fiber pigtail splicing and pre-terminated fiber assemblies are the two basic ways to do fiber termination. For pigtail splicing, you may need a rack mount patch panel with fiber splice holders that are used for efficient management and storage of the spliced optical fibers. But if you utilize pre-terminated assemblies, the inner configuration of the rack mount patch panel is the spools used to organize fiber cables. Obviously, the pre-terminated fiber solution will help you save more installed time and labor cost.

Loaded Accessories: FAP or MPO/MTP Cassettes

Loaded With Fiber Adapter Panels (FAPs)

Rack mount enclosures loaded with fiber adapter panels (FAPs) can be applied in both pre-terminated and field-terminated cabling environments. Depending on your applications, spools or splice trays are required to be installed. The adapter patch panels are generally available in LC, SC and MPO/MTP, etc. According to varying quantities of adapters loaded on the FAPs, they can support up to 96 fiber distributions. For the universal 8-fiber, 12-fiber and 24-fiber FAPs, rack mount fiber enclosures with different rack unit configurations can hold varying quantities of them. Generally, 1U rack mount enclosure can support up to 4 FAPs, while 4U rack mount enclosure can support up to 12 FAPs.

Loaded With MPO/MTP Cassettes

Besides FAPs, rack mount fiber enclosures can also be loaded with MPO/MTP cassettes, providing secure transition between MPO/MTP and LC or SC connectors. This breakout rack mount fiber enclosure is generally a pre-terminated rack mount patch panel used to achieve interconnection between MTP/MPO backbone to LC/SC patching, supporting up to 144 fiber distribution within 1U rack space. It is an essential devices for 40/100G Ethernet network migration.

rack mount fiber enclosure

MPO/MTP cassettes are available in LGX and HD type which can meet the demands on both universal and high-density applications. Moreover, using cassettes with TAP ports, users can easy to access and monitor the data. Similar to the FAPs option, rack mount fiber enclosures with different rack unit configurations can hold varying quantities of cassettes. In general, 1U rack mount enclosure can support up to 4 cassettes, while 4U enclosure can support up to 12 cassettes.

How to Select Rack Mount Enclosure at FS.COM

The above sections introduce several rack mount fiber enclosure types and their individual applications, but it is not easy to choose the most fitting rack mount enclosures to fit all your requirement. FS.COM offers a wide range of rack mount fiber enclosures, as well as custom service, which can help address all your specific requirements. For more details, please contact us via