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MTP VS MPO Cable, What’s the Difference?



MTP and MPO cables are widely used in high-density cabling environments. The main difference between them is their different connectors. This article will show you the differences between MTP / MPO cables from some important aspects.

With the demand for high-performance computing, data centers are facing the pressure of higher transmit rates and larger capacity. Now data centers generally use multi-fiber connectors in their cabling systems. Multimode fiber connectors include MTP and MPO. The MTP cable, as a substitute for MPO cable, has a better performance in 40/100G or even 200/400G networks, and it has already become the inevitable trend of the data center cabling systems. What are MTP and MPO connectors? What are the differences between MTP vs MTP? This post will show you.


What is MPO Cable?


The MPO stands for Multi-Fiber Push On, it is terminated with MPO connectors on either end of the cable. The MPO patch cable is designed to provide a multi-fiber connection in one connector, allowing higher bandwidth and higher density cabling system applications.  MPO fiber cable is compliant with the international stand of the IEC 61754-7, and the U.S. TIA-604-5 standard. Nowadays, the available MPO fiber counts are 8, 12, 16, 24, and the most common MPO cable type is equipped with MPO12 connectors. In addition to this, 32, 48, 60, 72 fiber counts can be deployed in large-scale optical switches for specialty super high-density multi-fiber arrays.


What is MTP Cable?


The MTP meaning stands for Multi-Fiber Pull Off, there are MTP connectors on either end of the cable. MTP is a registered trademark of US Conec for an enhanced version of the MPO connector. So it is fully compatible with all generic MPO connectors, and the MTP interface can be put in MPO-based infrastructures directly. Compared with the MPO connector, the main difference is that the MTP fiber connector improves mechanical and optical performance. There are two types of MTP fiber cable, MTP trunk cable, and MTP breakout cable.


Figure 1: MTP Trunk Cable


Comparison of MTP and MPO Cable


This part will compare the mechanical designs and optical performance of these two cables. And introduce the difference between MTP and MPO.


Mechanical Design Comparison - MTP vs MPO


Pin Clamp


The MTP connector uses a metal pin clamp that ensures firm fastening on the pin and minimizes any accidental breakage when mating the connector, while an MPO connector is provided with inferior plastic pin clamps, this may result in easily breaking of the pin with constant cable mating. 


Meanwhile, the oval spring in the MTP fiber connector can maximize the gap between the fiber ribbon and the spring. It can ensure that the fiber ribbon is not damaged during the insertion action. The MTP connector includes some electronic components, that contain a recessed pin clamp and an elliptical spring, which will reduce the risk of damage to the MTP cable.


MTP VS MPO Pin Clamp

Figure 2: MTP VS MPO Pin Clamp

Floating Ferrule


There is an important characteristic - floating ferrule can influence the cable mechanical performance, MTP connectors use floating ferrule to float inside to keep physical contact over a mated pair under an applied load. But the generic MPO fiber cable doesn't equip with the floating ferrule. The floating ferrule function is especially important for applications where cables are inserted directly into active Tx/Rx devices, and also makes MTP cable one of the main reasons why it is ideal for emerging parallel optical Tx/Rx applications.


Guide Pins


MTP connectors use tight tolerance stainless steel elliptical guide pin tips to reduce guide hole wear. Distinct from single fiber connectors, adapters for multi-fiber connectors are only used for coarse alignment. Therefore, when pairing two MT ferrules, the guide pin is very important for accurate alignment. When inserting an MTP connector, the oval pin won't damage the ferrule, and it makes the debris that may fall into the guide pin hole or the ferrule end face come less. Universal MPO connectors have chamfered guide pins that produce more debris when used.


MTP Elliptical Shaped Guide Pin VS. MPO Chamfered Shaped Guide Pin

Figure 3: MTP Elliptical Shaped Guide Pin VS. MPO Chamfered Shaped Guide Pin


Removable Housing for MTP Cable


Another very important difference between the MTP and MPO connectors is their housing removability. The MTP connector is designed to have a function of removable housing, and the MPO connector doesn't. The removable housing feature means users can re-work and re-polish the MT ferrule and access performance testing easily, and smoothly change the gender after assembly or even in the field. The MTP product contains a kind of MTP trunk cable called MTP PRO, it is an enhanced MTP fiber cable that allows fast and effective cable gender and polarity reconfiguration in the field without losing product integrity and performance.


Optical Performance Comparison - MTP vs MPO




The MPO connector has been universally acknowledged as an international standard in the network framework over the years. Compared with MPO, the MTP connector minimizes optical loss, dropped packets, and other problems as an enhanced version. The MTP connector can guarantee accurate alignment of male and female sides so that the insert loss and return loss of the MTP cable will be decreased while transmitting the data in the high-density cabling systems. As the technology matures, the Insertion-loss rate continues to improve.




Compared with previous MPO cables, the latest MTP cable format can be inserted without damage, and it is unlikely that there will be unexpected bumps that may lead to signal instability. Internal connector assembly to MTP format is redesigned to ensure that the normal force between the paired cores is perfectly centered and that all polished fiber tips in the cores are in physical contact. In addition, the inlet on the precision alignment guide pin is also optimized to be oval, which reduces the wear and tear and debris of multiple plug-in connectors. These features make additional improvements in component accuracy, improve stability and durability, and make MTP cable more reliable.




After reading this post, I believe that you already know the difference between MPO and MTP, the MTP connector is an enhanced type of MPO connector, while MPO is an internationally recognized standard interface for connector manufacturers. With the development of the data center needing a higher speed and higher density cabling system, the MTP fiber connector can extend to new applications such as the 400G Ethernet, and it is widely deployed in mega-cloud, big data, and hyper-scale computing. QSFPTEK offers many high-quality and high-density optical fibers, check with sale@qsfptek to upgrade your cabling system!



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