MTP/MPO Cables—An Ideal Solution for High-Density Cabling

For various reasons, the data quantity transmitted worldwide is growing exponentially and the need for ever-greater bandwidths continues unabated. Though the current data volumes demanded in backbone cabling can still be handled with 10 GbE, the forecast trends will require the introduction of the next technologies, 40 GbE and 100 GbE (Figure 1). Therefore, data centers must respond early to provide sufficient capacities and plan for upcoming requirements. To meet this demand, 40G QSFP+ transceivers, MTP/MPO cables and other related products are springing up like mushrooms in the market. They are important roles in the ultra-high density cabling in data centers. This post will focus on MTP/MPO cables in the data center.

trend over time of Ethernet technologies
Why MTP/MPO Cables Are Used?

For the reasons mentioned above, the number of network connections in data centers is on the rise rapidly. And the use of traditional fiber cables may make the data center crowed and difficult to be managed. To solve this problem, data centers have to achieve ultra-high density in cabling to accommodate all this cabling in the first place. The MTP/MPO cables, which bring together 12 or 24 fibers in a single interface (Figure 2), have been proven to be a practical solution. Incorporating to meet the 40GBASE-SR4 and 100GBASE-SR10 standard, The MTP/MPO multi-fiber connector of MTP/MPO cables is about the same size as a SC connector but can accommodate 12 or 24 fibers. Thus, MTP/MPO cables provide up to 12 or 24 times the density and offer savings in circuit card and rack space.

MPOMTP multi-fiber connectors
Details of MTP/MPO Cables

MTP/MPO cables are composed of MTP/MPO connectors and fiber cables, other connectors such as LC may also be found in some kinds of MTP/MPO cables. And the fiber cables used are generally OM3 and OM4, which are laser optimized multi-mode optical fibers. Unlike traditional connectors, the MTP/MPO connector should be carefully used to ensure proper connections are made. Thus, it is important to have an overall understanding of MTP/MPO connectors.

As is shown in the following figure, each MTP/MPO connector has a key on one side of the connector body, and the key sitting on top referred to as the key up position. In this orientation, each of the fiber holes in the connector is numbered in sequence from left to right. People often refer to these connector holes as positions, or P1, P2, etc. In addition, there is a white dot on the connector body to designate the P1 side of the connector when it is plug in.

MPO connector

There are two types of MTP/MPO adapters based on the placement of the key: key up to key down and key up to key up. When you want to connect two MTP/MPO connectors, it is important to choose a right adapter with keying designed to hold the two facing ends of the MTPs incorrect alignment. The following figure shows the right connections of two MTP/MPO connectors within the adapter.

MPOMTP connectors held within the adaptor
Common Types of MTP/MPO Cables

MTP/MPO trunk cable and MTP/MPO harness cable are two common kinds of MTP/MPO cables. MTP/MPO trunk cables serve as a permanent link connecting the MTP/MPO modules to each other. And they can offer flexibility in changing the connector style in the patch panels. MTP/MPO harness cables provide a transition from multi-fiber cables to individual fibers or duplex connectors. These cables are offered for various applications for all networking and device needs like 100G modules including CFP, CFP2 and CFP4 series.


There is no way around the migration to 40 and 100 GbE. As the figure shows above, 40 and 100 GbE will be broadly introduced in the near future. Therefore, Data center managers will have to lay the groundwork today and adapt their infrastructure to meet future requirements. MTP/MPO cables are inevitable the ideal solution to meet these needs. Fiberstore is now striving to be a leading supplier of MTP/MPO connection components. We manufacture and distribute a wide range of MTP/MPO connection components including the MTP/MPO connectors, adapters, cables, cassettes, adapter panels, loopback modules, etc.