What Are MTP MPO Cables And How To Use Them?

What Are MTP MPO Cables And How To Use Them?
MPO connectors

What is an MTP MPO cable, and how does it work?


MTP MPO cables are high-density fiber optic cables used primarily in data centers and telecommunications industries. MTP stands for “Multi-fiber Termination Push-on,” and MPO stands for “Multi-fiber Push On.” Both terms refer to the type of connector used, which can accommodate multiple fiber optic strands in a single connector, allowing for high-speed data transfer over long distances. The cables work by transmitting and receiving light signals through the fiber optic strands. Each strand can transmit data at speeds up to 100 Gbps, making these cables ideal for high-bandwidth applications.

Understanding MTP and MPO Connectors

When it comes to MTP and MPO connectors, the terms can often be used interchangeably. They are both high-density multi-fiber connectors. However, MTP is a registered trademark of US Conec Ltd.. It is an enhanced version of the standard MPO connector, offering advanced features like removable housing for re-polishing and better performance.

MPO connectors are available in a female version (without pins), or a maleversion (with pins) as shown in the following picture.The pins ensure theexact alignment of the fronts of the connectors, and also they ensure the endfaces of the fibers are not offset.
MPO connectors are available in a female version (without pins) or a male version (with plugs), as shown in the following picture. The fasteners ensure the exact alignment of the fronts of the connectors, and they also ensure that the end faces of the fibers are not offset.

The Structure and Design of MTP MPO Cables

MTP MPO cables contain a ribbon of fibers, each encased within a protective jacket and a connector at each end. The connector is formed from a molded plastic ferrule that holds the fiber ends in a precise alignment when inserted into a mating connector. The ferrule design allows for multiple fiber connections (between 8 and 72 fibers) within a single high-density connector.

Advantages of Using MTP MPO Cables

The primary advantage of MTP MPO cables lies in their high-density design. They enable high-speed data transfer over long distances without taking up much space. They are also faster, more reliable, and more efficient than traditional copper cables, which makes them ideal for high-bandwidth applications.

Applications of MTP MPO Cables

MTP MPO cables are used extensively in data centers, telecommunications, and corporate networking infrastructure due to their capacity for high-speed data transfer. They are also increasingly being adopted in residential broadband networks for the same reason.

How to Install and Terminate MTP MPO Cables

Installing and terminating MTP MPO cables requires technical expertise and the right tools. The process begins with the careful installation of the cable, ensuring that it does not bend or kink. The line is then terminated using a unique tool that connects the fiber to the MTP MPO connectors. Proper installation ensures the most efficient data transfer and extends the life of the cable.

Differences Between MTP and MPO Cables


Both MTP and MPO cables are high-density fiber connectors, but they differ in certain aspects, including construction, performance, compatibility, and price.

Construction Differences

MTP cables are considered an upgraded version of MPO cables. MTP connectors feature a floating ferrule that better maintains physical contact under load, providing improved performance over MPO connectors. MTP connectors also have removable housing for re-polishing, offering a more reliable and durable solution.

Performance Differences

In terms of performance, MTP cables usually offer better mechanical and optical performance than MPO cables. This includes lower insertion loss and higher return loss, making MTP cables a better choice for higher-speed networks.

Compatibility Differences

As for compatibility, MTP connectors are fully compatible with MPO connectors, meaning that you can use MTP and MPO cables interchangeably without any significant impact on performance or reliability.

Price Differences

Price is another factor to consider. Generally, MTP cables are more expensive than MPO cables due to their advanced design and enhanced performance. However, the extra cost can be justified by the improved network performance and longevity that MTP cables offer.

Choosing Between MTP and MPO Cables For Your Specific Needs

When choosing between MTP and MPO cables, consider your specific needs. If you’re looking for a cost-effective solution and don’t require the highest performance, MPO cables might be the right choice. However, if you want the best performance and are willing to invest a little more, MTP cables would be the better option.

Usage of MTP/MPO Cable in Data Centers


MTP/MPO cables serve a crucial role in data center cabling systems, offering high-density and high-speed connectivity solutions. These cables can combine multiple fiber strands into a single thread, thereby significantly increasing the amount of data that can be transferred over a single line. This feature makes MTP/MPO cables particularly valuable in data center environments, where efficient data transmission is critical.

Benefits of MTP/MPO Cables in Data Centers

Deploying MTP/MPO cables in a data center environment offers several benefits. Firstly, they provide high-density connections, which are essential in data centers where space is often at a premium. This high-density cabling helps to maximize space utilization and simplify cable management. Secondly, MTP/MPO cables offer excellent performance, with lower insertion loss and higher return loss than conventional cables. This results in a more reliable network and better data transmission. Lastly, MTP/MPO cables support quick and easy installation, reducing downtime during upgrades or maintenance.

Deploying MTP/MPO Trunk Cables in Data Center Environments

MTP/MPO trunk cables provide a convenient and efficient solution for connecting multiple devices in data centers. These cables consolidate multiple fiber strands into a single line, enabling high-speed, high-volume data transmission. The use of MTP/MPO trunk cables in data centers simplifies cabling infrastructure, reduces physical space requirements, and enhances network performance.

Connecting Multiple Fiber Strands Using MTP/MPO Cables

One of the significant advantages of MTP/MPO cables is their ability to connect multiple fiber strands. This feature is particularly beneficial in data center environments, where large volumes of data are transmitted concurrently. By consolidating various fiber connections into one cable, MTP/MPO cables streamline network configuration and enhance data transmission efficiency.

Using Breakout Cables with MTP/MPO Connectors in Data Centers

Breakout cables with MTP/MPO connectors, also known as harness cables, provide a solution for connecting a single MTP/MPO connector to multiple devices. This is particularly useful in data center environments where a single high-speed device may need to communicate with various lower-speed devices. These breakout cables help to maintain high data transmission rates while offering flexibility in network design.

MPO connectors
MPO connectors

Advantages of Using MTP/MPO

MTP (Multi-fiber Termination Push-on) and MPO (Multi-fiber Push On) cables represent a significant advancement in fiber optic technology. They offer several compelling advantages:

  1. High-Density Connectivity: MTP/MPO cables feature multiple fiber strands within a single connector, allowing for high-density connections. This is particularly beneficial in data centers where space is at a premium.
  2. Efficient Installation and Maintenance: The multi-fiber design of MTP/MPO cables enables rapid deployment of high-volume connections, significantly reducing installation time. Additionally, their design allows for easier maintenance compared to traditional individual fiber cables.
  3. Network Design Flexibility and Scalability: MTP/MPO cables can support various network architectures, making them a versatile choice for different network designs. Moreover, they provide excellent scalability to accommodate future bandwidth growth.
  4. Superior Signal Performance: These cables offer better signal performance with lower insertion loss. This means less signal degradation, ensuring that data transmissions remain solid and consistent over longer distances.
  5. Cost Savings: By simplifying cable management, MTP/MPO cables can lead to substantial cost savings. Fewer cables mean less physical infrastructure to manage, reducing both initial installation costs and ongoing maintenance expenses.

In summary, MTP/MPO cables provide a sophisticated solution for modern high-speed networks, offering superior performance, flexibility, and cost-efficiency.

How do you select and adequately maintain MTP MPO cables?


Selecting and maintaining MTP/MPO cables requires careful consideration of various factors, including the needs of your specific application, the cable’s design and features, and best practices for maintenance.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Cables

MTP/MPO cables offer high-density connectivity that is well-suited for current 40G/100G cabling needs. When choosing these cables, consider the type of connector (Male or Female) required for your application. Also, pay attention to the individual MPO element (trunk, adapter, patch cord) classified by type (A, B, or C), which contributes to maintaining the system’s overall performance.

Tips for Proper Maintenance and Cleaning of MTP/MPO Connectors

MTP/MPO connectors are sensitive to dirt and contamination, requiring thorough inspection and cleaning before testing. Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure that dirt and dust do not compromise the system’s performance.

Common Issues with MTP/MPO and Troubleshooting Tips

One common issue with MTP/MPO cables is maintaining polarity. The alignment pins on the MTP/MPO connectors are essential for maintaining correct polarity. Therefore, using jumpers properly is critical to ensuring the system’s proper operation.

Recommended Best Practices for Handling and Storing MTP/MPO Cable

Proper handling and storage of MTP/MPO cables can help extend their lifespan and maintain their performance. This includes using MTP® adaptors to enable two trunk cables (or a trunk and a ruggedized fan-out) to be plugged together.

Upgrading Existing Cabling Systems to MTP/MPO Technology

Many network designers are turning to MTP/MPO trunk cables to achieve the highest connectivity density for easy migration from 10G to 40/100G. The MTP optical connector is fully compliant with the MPO standard, making it fully backward compatible and capable of intermating with any MPO-related products.

In conclusion, selecting the right MTP/MPO cables and maintaining them properly can significantly enhance your network performance and efficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: What are MTP/MPO cables, and how do you use them?

A: MTP/MPO cables are high-density fiber optic cables that are used to connect multiple optical fibers. They use MTP connectors, which are designed explicitly for high-fiber count applications. MTP/MPO cables are commonly used in data centers and other environments where large amounts of fiber connections need to be made.

Q: What is the difference between MTP and MPO?

A: MTP and MPO are often used interchangeably, but there is a slight difference between the two. MPO is a generic term for multi-fiber connectors, while MTP is a specific brand name for a type of MPO connector. MTP connectors are manufactured by US Conec and are known for their high quality and reliability.

Q: How many fibers can an MTP/MPO cable support?

A: MTP/MPO cables are available in different configurations, but the most common one is the 12-fiber version. This means that a single MTP/MPO cable can support up to 12 optical fibers. However, there are also MTP/MPO cables available with 24 threads for higher-density applications.

Q: What is the difference between single-mode and multimode MTP/MPO cables?

A: Single-mode and multimode refer to the type of optical fibers used in the cable. Single-mode fibers are designed for long-distance transmission and have a smaller core size, while multimode fibers are suitable for shorter distances and have a larger core size. When choosing an MTP/MPO cable, it’s essential to select the appropriate mode based on the intended application.

Q: Can MTP/MPO cables be used with LC connectors?

A: Yes, MTP/MPO cables can be used with LC connectors. LC connectors are small form-factor connectors that are commonly used in fiber optic networks. By using a breakout cable or adapter, you can connect an MTP/MPO cable to LC connectors and vice versa.

Q: What are the advantages of using MTP/MPO cables?

A: MTP/MPO cables offer several advantages. They provide high-density connectivity, allowing for a large number of fiber connections in a limited space. They also save time and effort during installation, as a single MTP/MPO cable can replace multiple individual fiber cables. Additionally, MTP/MPO cables have low insertion loss and high return loss, ensuring reliable and high-performance connections.

Q: Can MTP/MPO cables be used with ribbon fiber?

A: Yes, MTP/MPO cables can be used with ribbon fiber. Ribbon fiber is a type of optical fiber where multiple individual fibers are bonded together in a flat ribbon-like structure. MTP/MPO cables can be quickly terminated with ribbon fiber connectors, allowing for quick and efficient installation.

Q: What is a female MTP connector?

A: In MTP/MPO cables, the MTP connectors come in two types: male and female. The female MTP connector has holes to accept the male connector pins. When connecting two MTP/MPO cables, one cable will have male connectors on both ends, while the other cable will have a female connector on one end and a male connector on the other end.

Q: Are MTP/MPO cables compatible with other fiber optic connectors?

A: MTP/MPO cables are compatible with a variety of fiber optic connectors, including LC, SC, and ST connectors. However, adapters or breakout cables may be necessary to convert between different connector types.

Q: Where are MTP/MPO cables commonly used?

A: MTP/MPO cables are commonly used in data centers and other high-density fiber optic applications. They are also used in telecom and enterprise networks, as well as in industrial and military environments where reliable and high-performance fiber connections are required.


[1] “Understanding MTP/MPO Cabling,” Fluke Networks. Link

[2] “MTP/MPO Fiber Cables: What They Are and When to Use Them,” Cable Matters. Link

[3] “MTP/MPO Cabling vs. LC/SC Cabling: Which Is Right for You?,” FS Community. Link

[4] “Guide to MTP/MPO Cabling Systems,” Siemon. Link

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