Optimize Network Capacity with Ribbon Optical Cable

Posted on by FS.COM

Since the transmission protocols progress to higher and higher data rates, local area network (LAN) campus, building backbones and data centers are expected to employ cables with greater fiber counts, aiming to meet the accelerating system bandwidth needs. In this case, ribbon optical cable was introduced to increase the fiber density in a given cable and to reduce costs. Moreover, ribbon optical cable enables easier connectorization and smoother future expansion. Let’s see how to apply ribbon optical cables into your data center to maximize your network capacity.

Ribbon Optical Cable Unraveled

Ribbon optical cable offers an optimum alternative for campus, building and data center deployments where higher fiber counts (more than 24 fibers) are required. The fiber counts of it are available with 2-, 4- and 8-ribbon, while 12-ribbon is the most popular in newly designed networks. 24-ribbon is becoming popular in the U.S., when it is terminated or spliced it is treated as 2 x 12 by splitting the 24.


Ribbon optical cable shares the same robust performance as standard loose tube cable, however, obtains the maximum fiber density in regard to cable diameter. As for the cable design, it consists of 12 to 216 fibers inside a central tube. When used in outside plant applications, a non-flame-retardant jacket is generally applied. Whereas flame-retardant outer jackets always used for indoor applications.

ribbon optical cable

How to Deploy Ribbon Optical Cable in the Data Center?

Among the various fiber counts available with ribbon optical cable, the 12-fiber ribbons are the most commonly and widely used ones. 12-fiber ribbon optical cable can be easily terminated with both simplex and duplex connectors like LC and SC connectors, or with the MTP/MPO connectors. MTP/MPO connector is a high-density 12-fiber push/pull optical connector, which is used to minimize errors, reduce congestion in patch panels and speed network cabling process. The MTP/MPO connector is commonly pre-terminated, either in pigtail form that spliced onto a 12-fiber ribbon, or as an MTP/MPO connector backbone cabling which is terminated on each end.


Many data center managers are inclined to use pre-terminated cables to ensure the highest quality connector insertion loss and return loss performance and to simplify cable installation. Consequently, using MTP/MPO connectorized ribbon optical cable is proved to be a reliable and feasible option to achieve maximum data center capacity. Here we illustrate three scenarios to apply ribbon optical cables into your data center.

Scenario One: Use ribbon optical cables for interconnect application with a MTP/MPO harness assembly.

We know that harness assemblies have MTP/MPO connectors on one end of the cable, and simplex and duplex connectors at the other end. Thus it functions to break out the MTP/MPO connectorized 12-fiber ribbon optical cable into simplex and duplex style connectors. The following picture shows the MTP/MPO harness assembly with the ribbon optical cable.


Scenario Two: Use ribbon optical cables for interconnection and cross-connect applications with an MTP/MPO trunk cable and MTP/MPO module.

This module has simplex or duplex port adapters on the front, and one or two MTP/MPO connector adapters at the back. It functions to break out the MTP/MPO style ribbon optical cable into simplex and duplex style connectors, then simplex and duplex patch cables can be used to deploy to system equipment ports, patch panels or client outlets. And fiber polarity is maintained with an integrated wiring scheme built into the module.


Scenario Three: Adopting ribbon optical cables in pathways and spaces.

Since fiber density in pathway and space is critical to efficient cooling system and removal of cable, maximize the utilization of pathways and spaces is vital. Especially for campus and data centers where space is always restricted and precious. With ribbon optical cable, one can save up to 45% space and offer three times the fiber tray capacity with minimized cable tray weight.



With the overall combination of cable design, fiber density and relative costs, ribbon optical cable seems to be a logical and feasible solution for high-density data centers. Meanwhile, ribbon optical cable is best suited for deploying in campus, building backbones and data center backbones, providing the highest fiber density in ducts, raceways and patch panels. Additionally, it is capable of satisfying the need for future expansion.

Tags: , , ,
FS.COM FHD Fiber Enclosure
January 2017
« Dec