Month: August 2016

Identify Various LC Fiber Patch Cables in the Market

Fiber optic patch cables namely fiber jumpers are fiber optic cables terminated with fiber optic connectors on both ends. They are designed to interconnect or cross connect fiber networks within structured cabling systems. Various types of fiber jumpers are available in the market, such as LC patch cables, SC patch cables, etc. Among them, the LC fiber patch cables are the most commonly used ones. This article will tell you how to identify various types of LC fiber patch cables in the market.

Standard LC Fiber Patch Cables

LC fiber patch cables are terminated with LC connector(s) on one or both end(s), which feature the RJ-45 latch style with low insertion loss and low back reflection. The LC patch cable can be classified into single-mode (yellow) or multimode (orange or aqua), simplex or duplex by the fiber types, and according to the fiber connectors on both ends, they can be divided into LC-LC, LC-SC, LC-ST, etc. Moreover, the polishing types of the connector are available in UPC (blue) and APC (green).

LC patch cable

LC Uniboot Fiber Patch Cables

LC uniboot fiber patch cables offer a more compact design when compared to standard LC duplex zipcord assemblies. The uniboot patch cords contain two LC connectors encased in a common housing with one boot, terminated on a single, round, two-fiber cable. So they allow duplex transmission within a single cable and maximum connectivity performance can be delivered in a minimal footprint. LC uniboot fiber patch cables condense the cable management to half the space used by regular zipcord patch cables. They can offer the best solution for high-density applications. FS.COM provides a series of LC uniboot fiber patch cables which can significantly reduce cable management spaces and improve fiber cable management effectiveness and flexibility at the same time.

LC Push-Pull TAB Fiber Patch Cables

LC push-pull tab fiber patch cable has the same components and internal structure as the standard LC fiber patch cords, except a tab attached to the connector used for pushing or pulling the whole connector. The push-pull tab looks simple but it is linked to the latch of the LC connector. When the tab is pulled, the latch will be unlocked easily and the LC connector can be pulled out from the patch panel without difficulty. It has been proved that the density of LC push-pull tab fiber patch cords can increase more than 50%.

Keyed LC Fiber Patch Cables

Secure keyed LC fiber patch cables are designed to prevent unauthorized and inadvertent changes in highly sensitive applications such as data centers and secure IT networks where multiple physical layer classifications may exist. They are utilized in mission critical circuits where networks are segregated by color for identification and protected from accidental moves, adds, or changes. The LC connectors, which have specific color codes and functional keyed features to identify and manage restricted network connections, are the essences of the keyed LC fiber patch cables. Generally, there are twelve physically discreet, color-coded keying options each carrying a different color to facilitate network administration. Each LC keyed connector will mate only with the same-color LC keyed adapter, or the keying will prevent them from carrying the signal.

Conclusion

Each type of LC fiber patch cable mentioned above has its unique features and functionality. The fact that LC fiber patch cables are more popular is mainly because the LC connectors can be field-installed on any cable construction and provide high performance, reliability and ruggedness. In FS.COM, all these LC fiber patch cables are available with competitive prices. Many other types of high-density fiber patch cables are also available, such as MTP/MPO trunk cable or harness cable. For more details, please visit http://www.fs.com.

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Pre-terminated Fiber Cabling for 40G/100G Applications

In today’s data centers, the deployment and termination of fiber optic cabling cost much time and labor, especially in 40G/100G data centers where fiber optic networks are more complex. Risks of faults caused by manual fiber termination increase. To solve this problem and meet high density requirements of data centers, pre-termianted fiber cabling assemblies are introduced.

Why Pre-Terminated Fiber Cabling Emerges

Pre-terminated fiber cabling is a much easier way to install fiber optic cable. The connectors you specify are pre-terminated, and the fiber cable you specify is cut to the proper length that you require, such as LC to LC single mode fiber patch cable, SC to LC cable, SC to ST fiber cable and so on. Deploying a data center by using field termination methods might need a few days or more. Engineers have to terminate a lot of fiber optic links and connect them to the right ports. To make sure there are no wrong links or bad fiber optic splicing joints, a lot of checking should be done.

However, pre-terminated fiber cable assemblies, using the plug-and-play designed modules and cables, can largely improve the working efficiency, increase cabling density and decrease the total data center installation cost. For example, multi-mode fiber networks for 40G/100G applications use parallel transmission with 8 or 20 fibers per link utilizing 12-fiber MTP/MPO connectors, making it harder to terminate than a single fiber connector. Instead, a pre-terminated MPO cable would be much easier. In addition, the factory terminated fiber cable assemblies eliminate the need of fiber optic splicing and provide higher performance compared with field terminated fiber optic cable.

pre-terminated cables

Pre-Terminated Fiber Cabling for 40G/100G Applications

Commonly used pre-terminated fiber cabling assemblies for 40G/100G high density cabling applications are MTP/MPO fiber cable assemblies, including MTP/MPO trunk cable, MTP/MPO harness cable and MTP/MPO cassette. Making good use of these components can largely increase cabling density and working efficiency in data centers.

MTP/MPO Trunk Cable

MTP/MPO trunk cable is a length of multi-fiber optical cable, which is usually used for backbone transmission in data center. 12-fiber MTP/MPO trunk cable and 24-fiber MTP/MPO trunk cable are commonly used for 40G and 100G applications separately. Generally, there are two versions of MTP/MPO trunk cable, single-strand MTP/MPO trunk cable and multi-strand MTP/MPO trunk cable. A multi-strand MTP/MPO trunk cable combines several single-stand MTP/MPO trunk cables together. For example, a 72-fiber MTP/MPO trunk cable has 6 strands of 12-fiber cables combining together and each strand is terminated with a 12-fiber MTP/MPO connector.

MTP/MPO Harness Cable

MTP/MPO harness cable is a fanout version of MTP/MPO optical cable. An MTP/MPO fiber optic connector is terminated on one end of the cable, and the fanout end is terminated with several other types of fiber optic connectors, which usually are LC fiber optic connectors. MTP/MPO harness cable is generally used for 40G to 10G transmission or 100G to 10G transmission. MTP/MPO harness cable also has various versions. The most commonly used types are 12-fiber MTP/MPO to 6 duplex LC harness cable for 40G duplex transmission and 24-fiber MTP/MPO to 12 duplex LC harness cable for 100G duplex transmission.

MTP/MPO Cassette

MTP/MPO cassette is a specially designed box which contains one or more small version of MTP harness cables inside it. Generally there is one MTP interface on the back rear of an MTP/MPO cassette and several LC interfaces on its front rear. It can be easily installed on the rack for easier cabling as shown in the following picture. In this way, the fiber optic connections are protected in this box and more fiber optic connections can be added to the data center without worrying about space limitation. The most commonly used are MTP/MPO LGX cassettes. However, driven by increasing need for high density, the size of MTP/MPO cassette gradually decreases. HD MTP/MPO cassette is also available in the market for higher cabling density.

Conclusion

Now you can install your own fiber optic cables without investing in training and equipment. Customize pre-terminated, pre-tested fiber optic cables from FS.COM. These assemblies can be ordered in either indoor (plenum) or outdoor variations, and in 2, 4, 6, 12 or 24 strand fiber counts, in multimode OM1, OM2, OM3 and OM4 or singlemode!

Picking the Right Fiber Connector – UPC or APC?

You may often read things like LC/APC simplex singlemode connector or SC/UPC simplex singlemode connector. When looking at this LC to LC patch cable page, we can also find descriptions like “LC UPC to LC UPC duplex 10G OM4 multimode fiber optic patch cable”. What do all those words mean? Specifically UPC and APC. In fact, UPC and APC are two polish types of fiber ferrules. This article will help you explore the world of UPC and APC to decide which one is suitable for your network.

What Is UPC and APC?

To help us better understand all this jargon, let’s look back at why the original Flat Fiber Connector evolved into the Physical Contact (PC) connector and then onto UPC and APC.

Ultra Physical Contact (UPC) is building on the convex end-face attributes of the Physical Contact (PC), but utilizing an extended polishing method creates an even finer fiber surface finish: bringing us the UPC connector. This results in a lower back reflection (ORL) than a standard PC connector, allowing more reliable signals in digital TV, telephony and data systems, where UPC today dominates the market.

The end face of Angled Physical Contact (APC) connector is precisely polished at an 8-degree angle to the fiber cladding so that most return loss is reflected into the cladding where it cannot interfere with the transmitted signal or damage the laser source. But it is extremely difficult to field terminate an APC connector at 8 degrees with any consistent level of success. Therefore, if an APC connector is damaged in the field, it should be replaced with a factory terminated APC connector.

UPC and APC

Difference Between UPC and APC
  • End Faces — As we have discussed before, UPC connectors are polished with no angle, but APC connectors is polished at an 8-degree angle.
  • Ways of Light Reflection — Their different polish end faces directly lead to their differences in ways of light reflection. Any reflected light is reflected straight back towards the light source if an UPC connector is used. But the APC connector causes reflected light to reflect at an angle into the cladding instead of straight back toward the source.
  • Return Loss — Since their light reflection patterns are varied, their levels of return loss are also different. APC connector offers lower return loss of -65 dB than UPC of -50 dB. As a matter of fact, connectors can achieve better matching performance if return loss is lower.
  • Connector Color — This is the most obvious difference that can be seen from the surface. UPC connector usually has a blue body while APC connector has a green body.
Picking the Right Physical Contact Connector

Looking at current technology, it’s clear that all of the connector end-face options mentioned above have a place in the market. Indeed, if we take a sidestep across to Plastic Optical Fiber (POF) applications, this can be terminated with a sharp craft knife and performance is still deemed good enough for use in the high-end automotive industry. When your specification also needs to consider cost and simplicity, not just optical performance, it’s hard to claim that one connector beats the others.

Therefore when it comes to fiber optic jumpers, whether you choose UPC or APC will depend on your particular need. With those applications that call for high precision optical fiber signaling, APC should be the first consideration, but less sensitive digital systems will perform equally well using UPC.

How Does 10 Gigabit Ethernet Cabling Evolve?

In the past few decades, Ethernet standard continuously evolves to meet the increasing demand for faster transmission speed, from 100BASE, 1000BASE to 10GBASE. At the same time, the data carrying technology also develops to provide great bandwidth for transporting data with low cost, such as the copper and fiber cables as well as optical transceiver modules.

Copper and Fiber

In 10 Gigabit Ethernet, copper and fiber are used to transport data. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Copper is more cost-effective and easier to install. It suits best in short lengths applications, typically 100 meters or less. But when deployed over long distance, electromagnetic signal characteristics will influence its performance. Besides, bundling copper cabling can cause interference, making it difficult to employ as a comprehensive backbone. So copper cabling is widely used in PCs and LANs communication network instead of campus or long-distance transmission.

Compared with copper, fiber cabling is usually used for long distance communication among campus, and environments that need protection from interference, such as manufacturing areas. In addition, fiber cabling is more reliable and less susceptible to attenuation, which makes it suitable for data transmission distance over 100 meters. But fiber still has drawbacks. It’s more costly than copper.

The Evolution of Cabling Technologies

Since 10 GbE technologies have changed, so have the cabling technologies. There are two main standards: IEEE802.3ae and IEEE802.3ak. Factors covered in these standards like transmission distance and equipment being used are helpful to determine the cabling strategy.

  • IEEE802.3ae
    IEEE802.3ae standard updates the existing IEEE802.3 standard for 10GbE fiber transmission. The new standard defines several new media types for LAN, metropolitan area network (MAN) and wide area network (WAN) connectivity.

    10GBASE-SR – it supports 10GbE transmission over standard multimode fiber (850 nm) for distances of 33 and 86 meters. The SR standard also supports up to 300 meters using the new 2000MHz/km multimode fiber (laser optimized). For example, the HPE J9150A 10GBASE-SR SFP+ transceiver from FS.COM can achieve the max distance of 300m over OM3 multi-mode fibers.

    10GBASE-LR – it uses optics (1310nm) and supports single-mode fiber up to 10 km.10GBASE-LX4 – it can support multimode fiber for distances up to 300 meters using Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM). The LX4 standard also supports single-mode fiber for up to 10 Km. LX4 is more expensive than both SR and LR because it requires four times the optical and electrical circuitry in addition to optical multiplexers.

    10GBASE-ER – it uses optics (1550nm) to support single-mode fiber up to 30 km.

  • IEEE802.3ak / 10GBASE-T
    10GBASE-T is the latest proposed 10GbE standard for use with unshielded twisted-pair (UTP) style cabling. This standard is to improve the performance and increase the transmission distance at a lower cost. Category 5 (Cat 5) and Category 6 (Cat 6) are the most common cabling systems being installed today. But Cat 5 can’t meet the bandwidth demands of 10GbE’s transmission. To meet the needs of 10GbE, manufacturers create Category 6A (Cat 6A), designed with existing Cat 6 cable but measured and specified to higher frequencies. In addition to Cat 6A, 10GBASE-T will operate on Category 7 (Cat 7) cables.
10GbE Transceivers

Except the cabling, transceivers also need to be considered for the network connectivity. Transceivers provide the interface between the equipment sending and receiving data. 10GbE has four defined transceiver types, including XENPAK, X2, XFP and SFP+ (Small Form-factor Pluggable Plus). These transceivers are pluggable and are compliant with 802.3ae standard.

Among them, SFP+ is the smallest 10G form factor. And it can interoperate with XENPAK, X2, XFP interface on the same link. Fiberstore provides a number of interfaces attempted to satisfy different objectives including support for MMF and SMF compatibility, such as SFP-10G-SR, SFP-10G-LR, SFP-10G-ER, SFP-10G-ZR, etc. For example, SFP-10G-SR transceiver module can support 300 meters data transmission distance over 850 nm multimode fiber. And SFP-10G-LR module (eg. J9151A) supports the link length up to 10 kilometers over 1310 nm single mode fiber.

As the 10G cabling technologies improved and 10G costs decreased, the 10G connectivity market has already mature. FS.COM provides detailed 10G connection solutions, including optical transceivers, patch cables, cable management products for transmission over both long and short distances. Each optics here is fully tested to ensure its 100% compatibility.

Selecting Fiber Patch Cable for 40G QSFP+ Transceivers

With the increasing popularity of 40G Ethernet, 40Gb QSFP+ is considered to be an economical solution for 40G transmission in data center. And to make them run normally and effectively, fiber patch cables must be used to connect those QSFP+ transceivers plugged in Ethernet switches, as shown in the following picture. As the structure of a 40G transmission is more complex, the selection of fiber patch cords for 40G QSFP+ optics becomes more difficult. This article focuses on how to select proper fiber optic jumpers for 40G QSFP+ transceivers.

Before jumping to a conclusion, numerous things need to be taken into consideration when selecting a fiber patch cable for a 40G QSFP+ transceiver in practical cabling. In this article, three factors are introduced: the cable type of fiber patch cords, the connector type of fiber patch cords, and ports of switches that need to be connected.

Cable Type

The first factor to consider is the cable type. Optical signals with the same wavelength perform differently when they run through different types of cables. For example, can a 40GBASE QSFP+ transceiver working on wavelength of 850nm be used with OM1 fiber patch cords? Usually, signals with wavelength of 850nm are transmitted over short distance. Thus selecting a multimode patch cable will be more economical. OM1 fiber patch cables are ususally suggested for 100Mb/s and 1000Mb/s networks, and cannot support 40G transmission, because the transmission distance reduces as the data rate raises. OM3 fiber patch cables and OM4 fiber patch cables, these two types of optimized multimode fiber optic cables, are recommended for your 40G transmissions over short distance. And for long distance transmission, you can choose single-mode fiber patch cables.

Connector Type

The second factor to consider is what types of connectors are attached on both ends of fiber patch cords. Connector types are usually decided by the interfaces of 40G optical transceivers. Usually, 40G QSFP+ transceivers for short distance are armed with MPO interfaces, and for long distance transmission usually employ LC interfaces. For example, Avago AFBR-79E3PZ compatible 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ transceiver has MTP/MPO interface, and can support up to 400m over OM4 MMF. However, there are also exceptions. 40G QSFP+ transceivers like 40GBASE-PLR4 QSFP+ transceiver and 40GBASE-PLRL4 QSFP+ transceiver, they are with MPO interfaces but they can support transmission over long distance. One characteristic of MPO connector is high density which can perfectly satisfy the requirements of 40G transmission. But this kind of connection makes the polarity complex. So when selecting this kind of fiber patch cord, it is very necessary to take the polarity into consideration. The picture below shows 40G QSFP+ transceivers with MPO interfaces and LC interfaces.

QSFP4

Switch Ports

The third factor is ports of switches that need to be connected. During practical cabling, two situations are common. One is 40G QSFP+ to 40G QSFP+ cabling and the other is 40G QSFP+ to 10G SFP+ cabling. For 40G QSFP+ to 40G QSFP+ cabling: 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ transceiver can be used with OM3 fiber patch cable with MPO interfaces to support up to 100m, and with OM4 fiber patch cable with MPO interfaces to support up to 150m; 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ transceiver can be used with single-mode fiber patch cables with LC connectors to support up to 10km. For 40G QSFP+ to 10G SFP+ cabling, fan out patch cable with MPO connectors on one end and four LC duplex connectors on the other end is suggested.

Conclusion

Although there are so many factors that need to be considered when selecting the fiber patch cable for 40G QSFP+ transceivers, the first step is to figure out whether single-mode or multimode fiber it is. As the leading fiber optical manufacturer in China, FS.COM offers a large selection of fiber optic patch cords, such as SC LC fiber patch cable, SC SC patch cord, SC ST fiber patch cable, etc. Besides, FS.COM recently launched a series of solutions for 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ transceivers connection, including direct connection and interconnection to better help more customers upgrade to 40G networks.