Data centers and ever-expanding server clusters have created a huge demand for more bandwidth and more space efficiency. Multifiber Push-On (MPO) connectors have answered the call and provide up to 24 or more fibers in a single connector pushing up to and beyond 100Gbps data transmission. The best part is that the connector takes roughly the same space as a single simplex SC connector. MPOs are paving the way for increased data transmission speeds and rack density.
MTP® is a registered trademark of US Conec, marketed as a “high performance MPO connector with multiple engineered product enhancements to improve optical and mechanical performance when compared to generic MPO connectors.” MTP and MPO are often used interchangeably and MTP is considered a generalized trademark. Both MTP and MPO are available with standard or elite / low loss options. fiber-mart.com terminates our cables with both MPO and MTP connectors, so please be sure to specify with our sales staff if you need genuine US Conec MTP connectors.
MPO and MTP in Data Centers and Beyond
Many switches, servers and other network hardware come with fiber optic ports built in. More and more hardware is being shipped with QSFP/QSFP+/SR4/CFP/CXP ports and MPO fiber cables are becoming a requirement in these fields. However, data centers don’t have a monopoly on the technology!
Anybody working with a large count of fiber that likes to save space is a good candidate for MPO technology. Large bundles of hundreds of fibers, trunk cables, are spliced into pigtails. The old method would be to use a distribution fan-out cable or duplex cables to patch the trunk cable into your infrastructure. With MPO technology, you can connect your single fiber cables once, then route the rest of the way with MPO fanouts and trunk cables, minimizing the number of connectors and cables you’re working with.
Multimode Fiber Variants
While singlemode is optimized for long range data transfer, multimodes are designed with high-bandwidth short range optimization in mind (Single-mode and Multimode Explained).
OM1 is a 62.5/125µm fiber core, with the jacket usually cladded in orange. This is typically found in older applications where high bandwidth isn’t a priority.
OM2 is the first variant of 50/125µm, usually also orange, but widely unused. OM2 offers modest improvement over OM1, however OM3 is leaps and bounds ahead with not much more cost.
OM3 is a laser optimized variant of 50/125µm multimode, and is the first fiber mode that supports 10Gb/40Gb/100Gb Ethernet.
OM4 is a recent addition to the lineup which offers a longer range than OM3. It should be noted that OM3 and OM4 are cross-compatible, and while OM4 is only needed for distances that exceed OM3 capabilities, it can still be used for shorter connections.
MPO Gender Interface
MPO Genders can be counter-intuitive to newcomers to the technology. MPO cables are a plug, so they must be male, and transceivers have a port so they must be female, right? Wrong on both counts!
MPOs are classified by the guide pins on the end of the connector, and require 1 male and 1 female to mate properly. MPO connectors use a “barrel sleeve” adapter that simply holds one male and one female MPO “plug” together. The male guide pins fit into the female holes to ensure precise fiber alignment. Attempting to mate two female connectors will result in a seemingly secure connection, but with extremely high loss, and attempting to mate two male connectors will most likely damage one or both connectors due to the guide pins clashing.
Transceivers and cassettes come with the sleeve adapter built in, and the industry standard is a male connection on the inside. Therefore, the standard for cables is female to female. This changes, however, when you need to extend a cable or connect two cables. You will then need a male to female cable plus adapter. If you’re designing a multi-ferrule MPO trunk backbone cable, you might consider making this male to male, then patching to your hardware with female to female cables. We offer all combinations of genders, so contact us with your needs and we will be able to customize these for you.