MPO/MTP Technology Overview

Along with the development of fiber technologies over the past a couple of years, tools for easier fiber connection have been invented—fiber optic connectors (or so-called “better mousetrap”). Given there are various fiber optic connectors (eg. ST, SC, LC, MPO/MTP) available for network designers to set up fiber connectivity in bandwidth-demanding applications, this article introduces MPO/MTP in details.

MPO/MTP technology with multi-fiber connectors ensures ideal conditions for establishing high-performance and high-speed data networks to handle bandwidth requirements. The term MTP is a registered trademark of US Conec used to describe their connector. The US Conec MTP product is fully compliant with the MPO standards. As such, the MTP connector is a MPO connector. The following passages will mention MPO only instead of MPO/MTP for simplicity. To let readers gain a better understanding of MPO technology, MPO components introduction goes first followed by the applications of MPO technology.

MPO Components

MPO (multi-position optical) connector contains up to 24 fibers in a single connection. It’s available in a male version (with pins) or a female version (without pins). The pins ensure that the fronts of the connectors are exactly aligned on contact and that the endfaces of the fibers are not offset. MPO connector components mainly contain two parts: adapter and cable.

MPO Adapters

There are two types of MPO adapters based on the placement of the key: key-up to key-down, and key-up to key-up. In the former type, the key is up on one side and down on the other. The two connectors are connected turned 180° in relation to each other. In the latter type, both keys are up. The two connectors are connected in the same position in relation to each other. Just like what’s shown in the figure below.

MPO Cables

MPO fiber cables are available in two primary types: MPO trunk cables and MPO harness cables.

MPO trunk cables are available in 12-144 counts. They serve as a backbone connecting the MPO modules to each other, intended for high-density applications.

MPO harness cables, also called MPO breakout cables or MPO fanout cables, are available in 8-144 counts. As terminated with MTP/MPO connectors on one end and standard LC/FC/SC/ST/MTRJ connectors (generally MTP to LC) on the other end, MPO harness cables provide a transition from multi-fiber cables to individual fibers or duplex connectors.

MPO Applications: 10 GbE to 40 GbE/100 GbE Migration

The remaining parts describe how MPO technology is utilized to permit successful migration from 10 GbE to 40/100 GbE.

It’s no doubt that converting or expanding existing infrastructure to accommodate higher bandwidth applications is more ideal and practical in data centers. In 10 GbE to 40 GbE/100 GbE migration, the most key point that should be kept in mind is the capacity expansion in which MPO modules are used to enable faster transmission. Many 40G QSFP transceiver modules utilize MPO technology for 40G links, among which the Cisco QSFP is the most widely-used module. Take Cisco for example, QSFP-40G-SR4 realizes 40G links over 850nm multi-mode fiber (MMF) with MPO-12 as its connector type.

In 40G to 100G migration, there requires the use of 24-fiber MPO cables. The existing 12-fiber connection can either be expanded with the addition of a second 12-fiber connection or can be replaced with the installation of a 24 fiber connection.


With these MPO components and technology applications, it’s easier for network designers to select the right MPO types to meet the bandwidth requirements. As a professional fiber optical product manufacturer and supplier, FS supplies various MPO modules and cables, including QSFP-40G-SR4 (one of Cisco QSFP products) mentioned above. You can visit FS for more information about MPO modules.