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A Comprehensive Guide to MTP® Connector

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Posted on July 21, 2020
October 30, 2020
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MTP® connector is a component widely applied in high-density network applications such as most data centers, broadcast communications, and industrial control applications, and MTP® cabling has been welcomed by a large number of network installers for 40G/100G/400G high speed network systems since it came to the scene. How much do you know about this high-performance and high-density featured cabling solution? This post covers a comprehensive introduction about MTP® connector and the related information about it.

What Is MTP® Connector?

MTP® is a registered trademark of US Conec, which is the acronym for Multi-fiber Termination Push-on. When it comes to MTP® connectors in daily operations, MPO connector is often seen as an interchangeable term. Though MTP® brand connectors are fully compliant with MPO standards and are fully compatible with MPO brand connectors, nevertheless, MTP® connectors are not totally the same as MPO connectors. Different from MPO which is a standardized interface type, MTP® can be regarded as one high-performance version of MPO connector. MTP® connectors are able to provide quick connection for up to 72 optical fibers, among which 8 fibers, 12 fibers and 24 fibers are the most common types. These connectors can join in different cables to become MTP® trunk cables such as 24-fiber MTP® to MTP® trunk cable or MTP®-LC harness cables, or they can be used to terminate links on cassettes in fiber patch panels through adapters. The components of an MTP® cable connector are illustrated below.

Figure 1: Deconstruction of MTP® fiber connector

Seen with the naked eye, there is very little difference between MTP® connectors and MPO connectors. Both the MPO and MTP® connectors have variants of 12/24/48/72-fiber connectors and have a key on one side of the connector body as well as male and female plug type. However, compared with standard MPO connectors, MTP® connectors offer novel patented features and significant performance improvements. In MTP® vs MPO Cable: What Are the Differences?, there is a concrete comparison between MPO vs MTP® in the respect of connector design.

Figure 2: Female MPO connector vs Female MTP® connector


Features of MTP® Connectors

Though MPO connectors and MTP® connectors use the same form factor and multiplex push-pull coupling type (SNAP), to improve optical and mechanical performance, MTP® connectors developed by US Conec feature some unique design characteristics, which contribute to the simple and fast installation, flexibility and stability of MTP® connectors.

Simple and Fast Installation

An MTP® connector comprises of multiple fibers in one ferrule. Compared with traditional fiber systems, MTP system installation time can be reduced by up to 75%. MTP® connector is designed with removable housing, which not only enables re-working and re-polishing the MT ferrule but also achieves quick transition of gender from male to female and vice versa. No matter it's after assembly or in the field, the MTP® connectors with removable housing offers easy and effective solutions to users.

Figure 3: Removable housing of MTP® connector

Flexibility

The MTP® connector is offered with four standard variations of strain relief boot giving more flexibility over the cable used in a wide array of applications, among which the short boot design is able to reduce the footprint by 45%, which is ideal for the applications where space is limited. There are also flexible strain relief boots enabling cables stretching in varying positions, from 0 to 90°, which greatly improve cable management in tight-space configurations.

Stability

Within the MTP® connector, there is a metal pin clamp, helping eliminates lost pins and center spring force. The spring design maximizes ribbon clearance for multi-fiber ribbon applications to prevent fiber damage. MTP® connectors use ferrules molded from thermoplastic, which is more resilient to varying temperatures. Such a ferrule material maintains a constant diameter for the guide holes, which creates more reliable physical connections.

Overall, MTP® connectors perform the superior features in the simple and fast installation, flexibility and stability. Though we cannot deny that MPO is more inexpensive than MTP in the perspective of cost, MTP is still the better choice for high performance network consideration.

MTP® Elite Connectors—Lower Loss and Higher Performance

As MTP® fiber connectors continue to evolve with the emerging needs of stable connection and high network performance in high-density network applications that rely on them, there emerged MTP® Elite connectors, which are considered as the superior version of standard MTP® connectors. Compared with the standard MTP® connectors and traditional MPO connectors, MTP® Elite connectors are manufactured under an even more stringent and higher quality standard. The insertion loss of MTP® Elite connectors are lower than the traditional ones. The specific comparative analysis of MTP® vs MTP® Elite connector is shown in the following chart.

MTP® MTP® Elite
Single Mode Multi-mode Single Mode Multi-mode
Insertion Loss 0.20 dB Typical (All Fibers) 0.25 dB Typical (All Fibers) 0.10 dB Typical (All Fibers) 0.10 dB Typical (All Fibers)
0.60 dB Maximum (Single Fiber) 0.75 dB Maximum (Single Fiber) 0.35 dB Maximum (Single Fiber) 0.35 dB Maximum (Single Fiber)
Optical Return Loss > 20dB > 60 dB (8° Angle Polish) > 20dB > 60 dB (8° Angle Polish)

FAQs on MTP® Connectors

This section provides answers to frequently asked questions relating to MTP® connector components and maintenance.

What is the MT ferrule?

MT is the abbreviation for mechanically transferable. MT ferrule is a multi-fiber, plastic ferrule with a square end-face of 6.4x2.5mm and fiber pitch 0.25mm widely used in MPO/MTP® connectors. Different from ferrule used in other fiber connectors, MT ferrule within an MPO/MTP® connector is made from a monolithic, high precision glass-filled polymer rather than a ceramic material. It is able to connect multiple fiber with high-precision and high-density technology to achieve the low loss in each fiber.

Figure 4: MT ferrule within an MTP® connector

What is MTP® polarity and how to maintain it?

Polarity is a key issue in high-density MTP® cabling systems, which is used to describe how a transmitter at one end of a cable correctly matches a receiver at the other end. Only when the connector is connected with the right polarity will the transmission process get normal. In an MTP®system, the gender (male/female), the orientation (KeyUp/KeyUp, or KeyUp/KeyDown) and endface alignment (straight or angled) will all impact the MTP® polarity. There are three methods for configuring system polarity approved by TIA-568 standard—Type A, Type B and Type C, which can be used for different MTP® trunk cables. To know more information about fiber polarity in detail, you can check out this post: Understanding Polarity in MTP/MPO System

How to clean MTP® connectors?

It is a must to do fiber cleaning in the fiber connector manufacturing process or during the usage of fiber connectors. Things are the same with MTP® connectors. The cleaning process for MTP® connectors always goes through three stages: inspect, clean and reinspect. Use the correct microscope to inspect and make sure there is no dust in either of two mating connectors because once one of them is polluted, the dirt can migrate to another one. Clean the endface of the MTP® connectors with the use of the MTP® cleaning tools designed for MTP connectors until the contaminants are removed. For more concrete information about the MTP® connector cleaning solutions and the cleaning steps, refer to A Full Introduction of MTP/MPO Connector Cleaning Solutions.

Conclusion

MTP® connector and MTP® cabling system provide a simple and reliable optical fiber cabling solution. With the deployment of 5G super-density network construction and development of cloud and IoT technology, the need for efficient data transfer continues to grow in today’s communication age. MTP® connector and its supporting components are bound to thrive in many network applications as effective and future-proof solutions.