MPO/MTP Fiber Optic Patch Cords-Types and Applications

With the increasing bandwidth and network connectivity in data centers, traditional duplex fiber optic patch cords, such as LC patch cords, can no longer meet the needs. To solve this problem, MPO/MTP Fiber has emerged as a practical solution for high-density cabling in data centers, accommodating more fiber in multi-fiber MPO/MTP connectors. Understanding the differences between the various MPO/MTP types in a high-density cabling system can greatly improve the speed and configuration of your network. In this guide, we’ll help you understand the basic types and differences between the various MPO/MTP fiber optic cables so you can determine which type of MPO/MTP fiber optic cable is best suited for your network needs.

MPO/MTP Fiber Cable Overview

What is MTP/MPO Cable?

MPO (Multi-Pole Optical Push-On) is the first generation of clip-on multi-pole fiber optic connectors.MTP is an advanced version of MPO with better mechanical and optical properties. They are similar in appearance, fully compatible and interchangeable.

MTP/MPO cables consist of MTP/MPO connectors and fiber optics. MTP/MPO connectors are available in female (no pins) and male (pins).MTP/MPO connectors increase fiber optic density, save circuit cards and rack space, and are ideal for today’s data center cabling and future network speed upgrades.

MTP/MPO Cable Types

MTP/MPO cable types are classified based on function, polarity, fiber count, fiber mode, and jacket rating.

Classification by MPO/MTP Function

The mains types include MPO/MTP patch cable, MPO/MTP trunk cable, and MPO/MTP breakout cable, they are ideal for high-density cabling networks and provide better network capacity and flexibility.

1. MTP/MPO Trunk Cable

MTP/MPO trunk cable is terminated with an MTP/MPO connector (female/male) on both ends, which is available in 8-144 fiber counts for users’ choices. Typically, MTP/MPO trunk cable is ideal for creating a structured cabling system, including backbone and horizontal interconnections such as 40G-40G and 100G-100G direct connections.

MTPMPO Trunk Cable2. MTP/MPO Breakout Cable

MTP/MPO splitter cables (also known as harness cable or fan-out cables) are terminated with a female/male MTP/MPO connector on one end and a 4/6/8/12 duplex LC/FC/SC/ST connector on the other, such as 8-core MTP/MPO to 4 LC bundle cables and 12-core MTP/MPO to 6 LC bundle cables. Typically, MTP/MPO splitter cables are ideal for short 10G-40G and 25G-100G direct connections or for connecting backbone components to rack systems in high-density backbone cabling.


3. MTP/MPO Conversion Cable

MTP/MPO conversion cable has the same fanout design as MTP/MPO breakout cable but is different in fiber counts and types. MTP/MPO conversion cable is terminated with MTP/MPO connectors on both ends.  MTP/MPO conversion cable is available in 24-fiber to 2×12-fiber, 24-fiber to 3×8-fiber, and 2×12-fiber to 3×8-fiber types, and is ideal for 10G-40G, 40G-40G, 40G-100G, and 40G-120G connections, which eliminate fiber wasting and largely increase the flexibility of the MTP/MPO cabling system.

MTP Conversion Cable

Classification By MPO/MTP Polarity

Polarity refers to the matching of optical transmitters and receivers at both ends of the fiber optic link. In traditional cabling systems, connectors such as LC/SC are easy to match, so polarity issues do not exist. However, due to the special design of MPO/MTP connectors, polarity issues must be addressed in high-density MPO/MTP cabling systems. To ensure proper polarity, the TIA 568 standard defines three connection methods called Method A, Method B, and Method C. These MPO/MTP cables are typically connected to different MPO/MTP boxes and fiber patch cords to ensure proper optical path polarity.


Classification By Fiber Count

MTP®/MPO cable types with different cores are classified into 8F/12F/24F/48F/72F/96F/144F cores, depending on the specific needs of the application. This flexibility in configurations enables users to tailor their choices according to the scale and performance requirements of their networks or data centres. As technology advances, the configurations of MTP/MPO cables continually evolve to meet the increasing demands of data transmission.

FIber count

Classification By Fiber Mode

Based on fiber mode, MTP/MPO cable includes single-mode (SM) and multi-mode (MM). SM MTP/MPO cable is suitable for long-distance transmissions, such as in metropolitan area networks (MANs) and passive optical networks PONs (PONs), with less modal dispersion, and it is available in OS2 type. While MM MTP/MPO cable is suitable for short-distance transmission, allowing 40 Git/s maximum transmission distance of 100m or 150m, and it is available in OM3/OM4 types.

Fiber Mode

Classification By MPO/MTP Cable Jacket

According to different fire rating requirements, the jackets of MTP/MPO cable types are divided into low smoke zero halogen (LSZH), optical fiber non-conductive plenum (OFNP), communications multipurpose cable plenum (CMP), etc. LSZH MTP/MPO cable is free of halogenated materials (toxic and corrosive during combustion), provides better protection for personnel and equipment in a fire, and is suitable for closed places. OFNP MTP/MPO cable contains no electrically conductive elements and is designed with the highest fire rating, which can be installed in ducts, plenums, and other spaces for building airflow. CMP MTP/MPO cable can restrict flame propagation and smoke exhaust rate during a fire, which is suitable for plenum spaces, where air circulation for heating and air conditioning systems are facilitated.


The MTP/MPO cable types, distinguished by five features, make it easier to filter out the network connection solution that suits specific needs. MTP/MPO cables are well-received for high-density cabling in data centers, as they are capable of accommodating multiple fibers within a single interface, which largely increases network capacity, saves a lot of space, and offers ease of cable management.

Shop MPO/MTP fiber cable from Abalone Tech

The different types of MPO/MTP cables in fiber cabling suitable for different devices and scenarios. We hope this guide can help you choose the right cables when you buy new MPO cables and have the flexibility when your networking needs expand.