MPO, the acronym for Multi-fiber push-on, is the technology invented by NTT based on the MT ferrule. The MT is short for Mechanical Transfer, designed to hold up to 12 fibers in a ferrule 7mm wide. The MPO is the fiber connector built on the MT ferrule, typically available with 8, 12, 16, 24, 32, 48, 60, or even 72 fibers using multiple-precision ferrules; thus, it is ideally suitable for ribbon fiber connections. In contrast, the previously used ferrules are designed for one or two fibers. Also, The NTT used precision-machined guide pins to maintain the close alignment necessary for connecting 12 fibers at once. Besides, the MPO connector has a spring-loaded plastic body to keep the connectors together.
It has been standardized within the IEC 61754-7 and TIA 604-5.
MPO connectors are classified as a male (with pins) and a female (with guide holes and without pins) version, as shown in the figures below.
Figure 1: MPO Connector Structure.
Figure 2: Female and Male MPO connector
How to terminate the MPO connector with MPO cables?
To establish an MPO connection between two MPO cables, use a male MPO connector on either side, a female MPO connector on the other, and an MTP adapter in between.
Figure 3: terminate the MPO connector with MPO cables
Usage and Applications
Since its introduction, the MPO Connectors have been used in duplex 10 Gig fiber applications throughout the data centers, providing effective preterminated plug-and-play backbone cables between switches, taking up less pathway space, and easing cable management while offering faster deployment. Usually, the MPO connectors are terminated with 12-fiber or 24-fiber trunk cables forming the permanent backbone link and are then transitioned to duplex fiber connectors at patch panels via either MPO-to-LC cassettes or MPO-to-LC hybrid patch cords.
The MPO connector became the default interface for higher-speed data center applications using parallel optics, along with the increasing demand for more excellent data rates. The 40 Gig and 100 Gig applications over multimode fiber use 8 fibers with 4 transmitting at either 10 Gbps or 25 Gbps and 4 receiving at either 10 Gbps or 25 Gbps.
Compared with MPO’s rugged Telcordia testing and validation requirements, the lower-cost MXC optical connector has gradually won the competitive advantage due to a much more controlled, benign environment.
Figure 4: 12 and 24 fibers MPO connector
It has an advanced version, i.e., the MTP. The MTP stands for Multi-Fiber Pull Off, a trademark by US Conec, fully compliant with all generic MPO connectors with more stringent specifications and better performance.
Due to its capability in higher density cabling, much smaller footprint, and improving performance, the MPO connectors will still thrive in many market segments.