MTP Links: Base-8 vs. Base-12 vs. Base-24

For data center managers, deploying a fiber system that can easily be upgraded to future high-density network demands is the first thing that should be considered, because network reconfiguration would spend lots of time and money. So it is essential to deploy a fiber network which is easier to upgrade to the higher data rates from the start. For high density MTP links, Base-8 vs. Base-12 vs. Base-24: which one can provide a easier migration path for future network data rates?

Base-8 MTP Link

Base-8 MTP link is based on Type B male/pinned MTP trunk in the backbone. Base-8 MTP is SR4 ready, meaning that the backbone connectivity has the same fiber count as the SR4 transceiver. Base-8 MTP links allow customers to patch directly to SR4 transceivers without having to convert connectors with different fiber counts or waste excess fibers in the backbone. As SR4 transceivers are the preferred choices for 40G, 100G data rates and beyond, the Base-8 system is arguably the most scalable and future-proof backbone choice currently available. Customers deploying 10G data rates today can still deploy the Base-8 system knowing that upgrades to 40G or 100G will be much simpler and cost effective in the future. The following picture is 1×3 MTP conversion harness cables used in 40G/100G network with 100% fiber utilization.

1x3 MTP conversion harness cable with 100% fiber utilization

Base-12 MTP Link

Base-12 MTP link is based on Type A female/unpinned MTP trunk in the backbone. Base-12 MTP is partially SR4 ready, because although SR4 is an 8 fiber interface, the Base-12 MTP connector is still compatible with it. Unlike the Base-8 MTP system, Base-12 does not utilize all of the fibers in the backbone when patched directly with SR4 transceivers, however multiple Base-12 MTP connectors can be combined and then converted so that full fiber utilization can still be achieved. Take our 2×3 MTP conversion harness cables for example, these MTP conversion cables have two 12-fiber MTP connectors on one end and three 8-fiber MTP connectors on the other end, which utilize all 12 fibers in two trunks for use with three port channels.

2x3 MTP conversion harness cables with 100% fiber utilization

Base-24 MTP Link

Base-24 MTP link is generally deployed for 100G parallel links running over SR10 transceivers. Normally these links are between two high data-rate switches as opposed to switch to server. Base-24 can also be used for lower data rate backbone links such as 10G and 40G but this is normally only in cases where space and install time are the key drivers.

MTP Links: Base-8 vs. Base-12 vs. Base-24
  • Initial Investment

Base-8 does require a higher up-front investment than Base-12 or Base-24 backbones due to the higher number of MTP connectors that are installed from day 1. However, research shows that the rapid increase in data rates will bring a return on investment within a few years. Furthermore, Base-8 provides the most efficient link constructions for SR4 meaning that the investment to convert Base-12 or Base-24 to SR4 will be largely if not completely avoided later.

  • Fiber Utilization

Although Base-12 backbones are still the most common choice for most data center operators today, it should be noted that there are still no standardized transceivers using all 12 fibers in a Base-12 connector. Furthermore, the most likely transceiver interface SR4 in the future uses only 8 fibers. With this in mind, customers need to make the important decision whether to deploy Base-12 today and risk wasting 33% of backbone fibers tomorrow, or go straight for Base-8 knowing that it will be the best investment for the future.

  • No. of Cables

Compared to Base-8 or Base-12, Base-24 reduces the number of cables required in the link, and sometimes this can be a compelling driver towards using this particular interface in the backbone. However, it should be noted that deploying Base-24 as a backbone choice will require MTP transition modules or MTP conversion harness to make it suitable for 10G and 40G data rates.


From what have described above, we can see that Base-8 MTP link, Base-12 MTP link and Base-24 MTP link have their own cons and prons. Base-8 MTP trunks allow users to build 10G links today but can easily be upgraded to 40G links tomorrow using 8 fiber MTP connectivity. Base-12 and Base-24 MTP trunks allow users to build 10G links today, which can easily be upgraded to 40G/100G links tomorrow using MTP conversion modules, MTP conversion harness or jumpers, but would result in 33% fiber wastage. MTP Links: Base-8 vs. Base-12 vs. Base-24: which is your choice?

Related Post: MTP-8 Solution: Future-Proof Connectivity in Data Center

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