MTP (R) or MPO (R), What's in a Name?


The term MPO stands for Multi-fiber Push On and is a specific interface type. The MPO interface was developed to enable multi-fiber connectivity for higher density, higher bandwidth based applications requiring parallel or channel based optics. 12 and 24 fiber versions are currently used to direct connect into 40GbE and 100GbE transceivers and also used in high density fiber distribution areas. High fiber versions are also available (48, 72 fiber) but their use and deployment is currently limited.

The MPO interface is primarily defined by the IEC standard 61754-7 and TIA-604-5 9 (US). These standards respectively cover the mating capabilities of devices and passive components when using a multi-fiber connector of this type.


The MTP® connector is specifically a brand of MPO interface connector that is owned by the leading US based optical R & D company US Conec. Like MPO it is based on the MT (mechanical transfer) ferrule technology which was developed by Nippon Telephone and Telegraph (NTT) during the 1980s.

The MTP® (Mechanical Transfer Push On) connector is widely recognized as the highest performing MPO connector in the market due to a number of unique and patented mechanical features that will significantly stand out from those of a standard MPO connector. US Conec comments that the MTP® connector is "a high performance MPO connector with multiple engineered product enhancements to improve optical and mechanical performance when compared to generic MPO connectors."

As an example, some of these key primary enhancements are described below;

  • A floating ferrule that aids in accurate alignment and improvements performance of mated ferrules under stressed load conditions.
  • Elliptical guide pins that allows for better alignment by improving mating guidance and reducing hole wear.
  • Removable housing allowing for smoother transition of gender types in the field and easier access to performance testing and re-work of the MT ferrule.
  • The MTP® connector has a metal pin clamp that centers and guides the push spring. This feature eliminates lost guide pins, centers the spring force and eliminates damage to fiber cables from the spring.
  • The MTP® connector spring design maximizes ribbon clearance for twelve fiber and multi-fiber ribbon applications to prevent fiber damage.
  • The MTP® connector is offered with four standard variations of strain relief boots to meet a wide array of applications. Available to meet a variety of cable constructions, round, loose micro core oval jacked, bare ribbon and short boot options, all of which are ideal for use in space limited applications.

The MTP® connector is currently available in 4, 8, 12, 24, and 72 fiber densities for multimode fiber (50μm and 62.5μm core) and 4, 8, 12, and 24 fiber densities for single-mode fiber, as well as the MTP® Elite® (low-loss) single-mode connector in both 8 and 12 fiber densities.

It is also important to note that the MTP® connector complies with the MPO standard as outlined in IEC standard 61754-7 and TI-604-5 and is there a fully compliant MPO connector and can interconnect directly with other MPO based infrastructures.

Use of Generic MPO Connectors vs MTP® Connector

Independent verification and tests have continuously re-enforced the MTP® connector as offering superior over-life performance when compared to standard MPO connectors.

This higher performance has resolved in wide adoption, not just by fiber cabling manufacturers, but also by switch, server and storage manufacturers.

Connecting to equipment with MTP® connectors is best done using optical fiber cables with MTP® connectors, although other MPO cables are likely to work but may not offer the same performance.

It is possible to connect cables from different cabling manufacturers that use the MTP® connector in their range. However, a detailed understanding of how the polarity is managed within each manufacturer's product range is required.

What to remember

It's very simple to understand really in that if you are discussing, commenting or specifying the use multi-fiber connectors.

  • MPO is an interface type. There are many connector manufacturers to choose from to get this connector.
  • The MTP® connector is one type of MPO connector. It is a brand owned by US Conec and used by most active equipment manufacturers and cabling companies.
  • There is an internationally recognized standard for MPO connectors.
  • MTP® is fully compliant with the requirements of MPO standards.
  • If you are looking to connect to you active equipment (such as CISCO) then a cable with MTP® connectors will give you the best over-life performance. Other MPO connectors should also work, but may not perform to the same level.