Breakout Cables vs. Breakout Patch Panels

Many people are transitioning to 40G or 100G networks to meet the demands of modern consumers. Yet upgrading your Gbps doesn’t have to mean a complete waste of your 10G equipment. If you are one of many enterprises upgrading your network from 10 gigabits per second to something that can accommodate faster transmission speeds, you need a cost-effective way to connect new equipment to what already exists in your data center. There are two attractive solutions for connecting 40/100G equipment with your existing components. Save the most money by selecting the option that’s right for you. 

Breakout Cables

A breakout cable consists of multiple individual fibers enveloped by one jacket. When installing fiber optic connectors, breakout cables come in handy. All a user must do to prepare the ends of the breakout cable to receive connectors is to remove the outermost jacket. This will expose the individual fiber optic cables wrapped in their own jackets. Since 10G networks use duplex fiber and 40/100G infrastructures use parallel fibers, one needs a breakout cable to get a connection between both networks. Breakout cables enable users to achieve total data rates up to 40Gbps. 

One end of the breakout cable has an MPO-MTP connector to interface with quad small form-factor pluggable (QSFP) switches. The other end has breakout legs with LC connectors (small form factor connectors) to connect with small form factor pluggable plus (SFP+) interface switches. Based on your Ethernet network, you will need breakout cables with different structures. Different cables have varying numbers of individual cables and fiber strands. A 40G breakout cable has four 10G duplex cables for a total of eight strands. A 100G cable has 10 duplex cables for a total of 20 fiber strands.

Breakout Patch Panels

A breakout patch panel, or MTP patch panel, is based on the same principle as breakout cables. However, patch panels offer a cost-effective and scalable alternative. With a patch panel, users can seamlessly and easily combine equipment with different gigabits per second. Patch panels consist of a range of fiber assemblies in a rack-mound panel. These assemblies are removable for easy adjustments.

The design of a patch panel differs from 40G to 100G networks. A 40G patch panel has 12 connectors elite to 48 duplex LC connectors, while a 100G panel carries 24 connectors elite to 80 duplex LC connectors. Patch panels are ideal for the modern business, as they enable the integration of equipment with different speeds onto one simple interface. Regardless of your connectivity needs, the breakout patch panel will deliver.

Which Do You Need? 

Choosing between breakout cables and breakout patch panels depends on your system requirements, goals for the future, and installation desires. When installing a breakout cable, you will need optical modules for connectivity. For a patch panel, you need fiber panels and cassettes. Patch panel installation is simple and uses a plug-and-play model, while breakout cables can be more complex.

Breakout cables are a fast and easy way to migrate from a 10G to a 40G or 100G network. Due to the potential for cable congestion, breakout cables can be costly and lead to downtime in the event of upgrades or maintenance. Breakout patch panels, on the other hand, provide effortless scalability to upgrade one’s network. Patch panels eliminate costly and labor-intensive future upgrades. It adapts and grows with your business and evolves to fit your changing needs. For most people, the breakout patch panel is the wiser and more rewarding investment in the long run. With a patch panel in your data center, you’ll never have to worry about the costs of upgrading your network’s speed again

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