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Proper Testing for MTP/ MPO Multi-fiber Assemblies

As network speeds steadily increase from what was 100 mb/s a few years ago to the latest fiber networks starting to deploy 40-100 gigabits per second, the need to verify proper testing has been done on cable assemblies is becoming very critical. As network speeds go up the margin for error greatly diminished. Testing standards have been updated to ensure the newer MTP/ MPO multi-fiber type of assemblies will perform as expected, but what are these latest tests? Years ago when fiber cable assemblies was passing data at 10 to 100 megabits per second most assemblies were tested with a loss test set and visually checked for scratches, dust and structural durability. As newer network speeds have been deployed utilizing gigabit speeds and beyond, sensitivity to dust and scratches became much more of an issue so it is important that assemblies are now tested with test equipment that can automatically grade and pass or fail a connector end face to the latest IEC and or TIA standard. With the introduction of the newer MTP / MPO high density connectors, additional tests need to be performed to ensure maximum performance and reliability. Unlike most previous connector designs, the MTP / MPO connector is designed to have the fiber protrude slightly from the connector body. End face geometry testing must be done to ensure all fibers protruding are at the correct amount and at equal height. In addition, this same test will ensure each fiber is polished with the same face curvature and that the curvature is properly centered on each fiber end. The only way to do this is with the use of an interferometer designed specifically for these types of connectors. When choosing fiber cable assemblies, the bottom line is to know what you are getting. Typically the bargain priced off shore cables have a somewhat higher failure rate than a product where all the steps are taken to ensure a quality product. You have to determine how much Attached is a link with some of the latest parameters to be aware of when selecting MTP/MPO cable assemblies. Click here for Fiber Optic Associations MTP /MPO testing guidelines: