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How Many Things Do You Know about MTP/MPO Fiber Cable?

1 MTP Fiber Cable 主图 1
(Last Updated On: April 24, 2023)

As the data center needs to handle more and more bandwidth and network connections, traditional dual fiber jumpers such as LC cables can no longer meet the demand. To solve this problem, an MTP/MPO cable containing more optical fibers in a multi-fiber MTP/MPO connector was launched, which proved to be a practical solution for 40G/100G/400G high-density cabling in the data center. However, when MTP MPO cable is involved, it is not so easy, and basic knowledge of main functions and usage is required.

This Article will introduce the knowledge about MTP Patch Cords in detail.

  • Brief Introduction of MTP/MPO Fiber Cable

  • MTP/MPO Fiber Connector

  • MTP/MPO Cable Number of Fiber Strands

  • MTP/MPO Fiber Cable Color Code

  • MTP/MPO Fiber Mode

  • MTP/MPO Fiber Jacket Rating

  • MPO Fiber Jacket Color

  • MTP/MPO Fiber-Polarity – Type A, Type B, Type C

  • MTP/MPO Fiber Trunk Cables

  • MTP/MPO Fiber Break-out Cables

  • MTP/MPO Fiber Conversion Cables

  • MTP/MPO Loose Tube and Ribbon Fiber Cable

Brief Introduction of MTP/MPO Fiber Cable

MPO (Multi-Fiber Push-on) is the first generation of clip-clamping multi-core optical fiber connectors. MTP is a registered trademark of US Conec Ltd., an advanced MPO version with better mechanical and optical performance. They are very similar, completely compatible, and can mate with each other. There are three MTP/MPO fiber cables: MTP/MPO fiber trunk cable, MTP/MPO fiber break-out cable, and MTP/MPO fiber conversion cable.

MTP/MPO fiber cable consists of MTP/MPO fiber connector and optical fiber. MTP/MPO connectors have a female type (no pin) or a male type (with pin). MTP/MPO connector greatly improves cable density, saves circuit card and rack space, and is suitable for current 40G/100G cabling and future network speed upgrades. Let’s take a closer look.

MTP/MPO Fiber Connector

There are different types of optical fiber connectors, such as LC, SC, MT-RJ, etc. MTP/MPO connector has emerged in recent years and is widely used. However, as more and more data channels are needed to meet the requirements of 400G Ethernet, the demand and usage of MTP/MPO will continue to grow.

The following figure shows the MTP/MPO cable connector:

2 MTP Fiber Connector 1

As can be seen from the figure, some points that need to be figured out for the MTP/MPO connector, like Male or Female Connector; Keying Position– Key Up or Key Down;

More details can be checked in the article The Way to Get MTP/MPO Connector.

Male or Female Connector

In the electrical and electronic fields, it is common to refer to connectors by gender. This facilitates faster navigation and helps to understand the MTP MPO cable connector. To ensure a good and secure connection, one side must have a guide pin, and the other side must not have a guide pin.

The male connector has a guide pin, and the female connector has no guide pin. Examples of male and female MPO cable connectors are shown in the following figure:

3 MTP Fiber Connector Male Female 1

To reiterate, the female connector is always connected to the male connector.

For data center connections using 100G SR4 and 400G SR8 to connect MPO cables, since QSFP28 and QSFP-DD modules have built-in male connectors/sockets with guide pins, the MPO cables must be female. Examples are as follows:

4 Female Connector for QSFP28 and QSFP DD Modules 1

Keying position – Key Up or Key Down

Next is the keying position- a mechanical feature of the connector that ensures the correct orientation of the connector. MPO and MTP connectors usually have two keying modes. The connector key can be in the up or down.

The following figure shows an example:

5 MTP Connector Key Ip Key Down 1

The key position has two important functions to ensure:

1), Insert the MPO cable into the correct direction of the socket;

2), Be able to refer to the exact fiber/strand that needs to be checked or spliced.

Specific fibers can be specified according to the key position. Since each harness has a connection in the MPO connector, it can be numbered. Numbering starts from the left to the right of the key.

6 MTP Connector Key Position 1

MTP/MPO Cable Number of Fiber Cores

 MTP/MPO fiber cables with different cores are divided into 8/12/16/24/32 cores, usually used for 40G/100G. The latest 16-core optical cable is specially designed for the short distance 400G cabling of the ultra large scale data center.

Here are the 8/12/24C information for reference:

The 8-core MTP/MPO optical cable system can transmit the same data rate as the 12-core optical cable at a lower cost and insertion loss, making it more cost-effective.

The 12-core MTP/MPO cable is the earliest developed and most commonly used solution for 10G-40G and 40G-100G connections. If they are used for 40G QSFP+ or 100G QSFP28 transceivers, the four fibers will be idle, resulting in low fiber utilization.

24 core MTP/MPO cable is usually used to establish a 100GBASE-SR10 link between CFP and CFP transceiver.

The 16-core MTP/MPO cable uses the same external footprint as the traditional 12-core MT (mechanically transferable) bushing, aggregates multiple 8-core parallel transceivers, and directly couples to emerging 16-core parallel optical fiber links, such as 400G QSFP-DD and OSFP.

7 MTP Cable Number of Fiber Strands 1

Again, 12C MPO is the most common connector because almost all 100G SR4 connections use a wide range of 100G Ethernet connections and use 8 of the 12 available lines, of which 4 lines send (Tx), and 4 lines receive (Rx) data signals.

However, with the development and introduction of 200G SR8 and 400G SR8, 16 core cables are required to establish and maintain the connection of all 16 channels.

MTP/MPO Fiber Cable Color Code

Another way to know the number of optical fibers is the color code of a single optical fiber sheath, which complies with the EIA/TIA-598 standard. This is particularly useful for splicing when the fiber must be connected, repaired, or removed.

8 MTP Fiber Strand Color Code 1

MTP/MPO Fiber Mode

Depending on the fiber mode, MTP/MPO cable types include multi-mode OM3/OM4/OM5 and single-mode OS2 cables. Multi-mode OM3/OM4/OM5 MTP/MPO cables are suitable for short-distance transmission, with a maximum transmission distance of 100 meters or 150 meters. Single mode OS2 MTP/MPO cable is suitable for long-distance transmissions, such as MAN and PON. Since the modal dispersion is small, the bandwidth of OS2 is higher than that of OM3/OM4/OM5.

9 MTP Fiber Mode

MTP/MPO Fiber Jacket Rating

According to different fire protection grade requirements, the sheaths of MTP/MPO cable types are divided into LSZH (low smoke zero halogens), OFNP (optical fiber nonconductive resistance combustion type), CMP (communication multi-purpose cable flame retardant type), etc.

  • LSZH MTP/MPO cables do not contain halogenated materials (toxic and corrosive during combustion), which can better protect personnel and equipment during a fire, and are suitable for enclosed places.
  • OFNP MTP/MPO cables do not contain conductive components and are designed to have the highest fire rating, and can be installed in ducts, plenums, and other spaces used for building airflow.
  • CMP MTP/MPO cable can limit the speed of flame propagation and smoke exhaust during a fire. It applies to ventilated spaces where the air circulation of heating and air-conditioning systems is more convenient.

MTP/MPO Fiber Jacket Color

MTP/MPO fiber cables can have multiple jacket colors – yellow, blue, purple, green, etc. because it is an easy way to understand and differentiate cable modes and functions. For example, the yellow sheath indicates that the cable has single-mode optical fiber (SMF for short), while the Aqua sheath indicates that the cable has multi-mode optical fiber (MMF for short). The sheath color table shows the most commonly used equipment cable categories and corresponding colors.

10 MTP Fiber Jacket Color 1

* Each SMF and MMF has its advantages and disadvantages. It is mainly the support distance. MMF cable: Short-distance connections within 5 to 300 meters and cheaper transceiver and receiver components can be used.

SMF cable: Used in all ranges, from 1 meter to thousands of kilometers, but require more accurate and expensive lasers and diodes.

MTP/MPO Fiber Polarity – Type A, Type B, and Type C

The MTP/MPO cable type (by polarity) refers to the difference between the optical transmitter and receiver at both ends of the optical link. Due to the unique design of the MTP/MPO connector, the polarity problem must be solved in the high-density MTP/MPO cabling system.

Type A – Straight

11 Type A 1

Type B – Reversed

12 Type B 1

Type C – Cross Pair

13 Type C 1

Type A and type B are the most common types of working links. Select the type according to the requirements or projects. Read the paper How to Understand the MTP/MPO Polarity of Fiber Cable Right for more information about fiber MTP/MPO cable polarity and connectivity methods.

MTP/MPO Fiber Trunk Cables

Both ends of the MTP/MPO trunk cable are equipped with MTP/MPOC connectors (male/female), providing 8-144 optical fibers for users to choose from. Typically, these multi-fiber MTP/MPO backbone cables are ideal for creating structured cabling systems, including backbone and horizontal interconnections, such as 40G-40G and 100G-100G direct connections.

As a permanent link, the MTP/MPO trunk cable is designed to connect multiple optical fiber terminal push-in modules or multiple optical fiber push-in modules. It has 12, 24, 48, and 72 fibers. For the ends, it is usually found that the cable is terminated with 12-fiber or 24-fiber multi-fiber termination push-in or multi-fiber push-in connectors. Regarding the polarity of jumpers, TIA standards define three different types (A, B, and C). The following figure shows three different connection methods for 12-core and 24-core MTP/MPO trunk cables.

 12Fiber Multi-fiber Termination Push-on Trunk Cable

14 12Fiber Multi fiber Termination Push on Trunk Cable

24Fiber Multi-fiber Termination Push-on Trunk Cable

15 24Fiber Multi fiber Termination Push on Trunk Cable 1

MTP/MPO Fiber Break-out Cables

MTP/MPO fan-out/break-out cable is an ideal connection for connecting distribution frames and data distribution cabling. They can use either 12 core MTP connector or 24 core MTP connector. Multiple options are available, including MPO/MTP to LC, SC, ST, and FC fiber cords.

MTP/MPO fan-out/break-out cables are ideal for splitting and merging data streams. The most common conversion is MPO to 4 LC. In addition, for 40G to 4x10G and 100G to 4x25G conversions, the 1 to 4 conversion is excellent because both can use the same MPO branch cable. However, not all 40G and 100G transceivers can perform this conversion because it requires a built-in MPO connector and is only available in SR4 (short-range 4-channel) and PSM4 (parallel single-mode 4-channel) transceiver versions. In short, they have the following characteristics:

The operating wavelength of SR4 is 850nm, and the sheaths of OM4 and OM5 cables are required to be light green, purple or turquoise.

12-Fiber Multi-fiber Termination Push-on Beak-out Cable

16 12Fiber Multi fiber Termination Push on Break out Cable 1

Fiber Multi-fiber Termination Push-on Beak-out Cable

17 Fiber Multi fiber Termination Push on Break out Cable 1

MTP/MPO Fiber Conversion Cables


The fan-out design of the MTP/MPO conversion cable is the same as that of the MTP/MPO branch cable, but the number and type of optical fibers are different. Both ends of them are terminated with MTP/MPO connectors. Specifically, 24 cores to 2 cores are commonly used × 12-core, 24 core to 3 core × 8-core, 2 × 12 to 3 × 8-core MTP/MPO conversion cable. They are particularly suitable for 10G-40G, 40G-40G, 40G-100G, and 40G120G connections, which can eliminate optical fiber waste and greatly improve the flexibility of MTP/MPO cabling systems.

The following are the most commonly used MTP conversion cables:

18 MTP Fiber Conversion Cables 1

MTP/MPO Loose Tube and Ribbon Fiber Cable

MTP/MPO patch cords and other multi-core optical cables can be in the form of loose tubes and ribbon fibers:

19 MTP Loose Tube and Ribbon Fiber Cable 1

Loose tube cables are standard MPO cables. Thick cable with a large amount of cladding material. This applies to industrial applications and areas where cables may be affected externally. In contrast, ribbon fiber optic cables are thinner and use less cladding. This allows for higher fiber density on the same cable route. The disadvantage is that the ribbon is very fragile. It must be securely mounted and protected from external influences.


MTP/MPO cable types have multiple characteristics, which can more easily screen network connection solutions that meet specific needs. MTP/MPO cables are popular in high-density cabling in data centers because they can accommodate multiple optical fibers in a single interface, greatly increasing network capacity, saving a lot of space, and providing convenience for cable management.

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