What’s the difference between MTP and MPO connectors for 100G?

25 03 2015

Cabling up a 100G link for a customer test we discovered we needed to buy a couple of 100G cables.  The interfaces involved were multimode, and use parallel optical paths – i.e. 10 parallel fibres each carrying 10Gbps within a single cable.

It turns out the world of such cables is a bit confusing in its terminology.  Some people call these cables MTP, and others call them MPO.   After a bit of digging, it turns out that they’re basically the same, but MTP is a brand name for a connector that complies with the MPO standard.  The brand is owned by a company called USConec.    Confusion over…

There’s quite a nice photo close-up of this connector type available on Completeconnect’s website – here.   You can see the parallel fibres in the end of the interface.  The cable has 24 fibres in, but only 20 are used – 10 in each direction giving full duplex connectivity at 100Gbps.

The male-ness and female-ness of these types of connector is quite difficult to determine.  If you see a pair of pins protruding from the connector at either end of the two rows of fibres, then you are looking at a male connector.  See this blog entry for a diagram about halfway down.

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