Introduction to MPO Connector

Introduced several years ago, MPO connectors are now widely used around the world. They are designed to reduce the amount of time required for fusion splicing individual connectors. Combining lots of fibers in one connector, the MPO connector not only greatly reduces the time of connecting fibers, but also saves a lot of space. This post will introduce the detailed information about MPO connector.

MPO Connector Appearance

Each MPO connector has a key on one side of the connector body. When the key sits on the top, this is referred to as the key up position. When the key sits on the bottom, this is called key down. In this orientation, each of the fiber holes in the connector is numbered in sequence from left to right. We refer to these connector holes as positions, or P1, P2, etc. Moreover, each connector is additionally marked with a white dot on the connector body to designate the position 1 side of the connector when it is plugged in.

MPO connector

MPO Connector Types

MPO connector is originally designed for ribbon fiber and available in 12, 24, 48 and 72 fiber variants. Generally, there are two popular MPO connector types: 12-fiber MPO connector and 24-fiber MPO connector.

12-Fiber MPO Connector

A 12-fiber MPO connector can deliver 6x10G transmit fibers and 6x10G receive fibers. The transceivers and the equipment were only capable of supporting 40G data rates, so here we have a dilemma. We have a 12-fiber MPO connector that can deliver 60G but is actually only delivering 40G. This means that 33% of the connectors fibers were not being used. Actually 8 fibers were being used at the transceiver and 4 were just spares. The 12-fiber MPO connector was not the best backbone choice in the long term as no one could really foresee how the industry would evolve.

12-fiber MPO connector

Accommodating 12 fibers, the 12-fiber MPO connector provides up to 12 times the density, thereby offering savings in rack space. It is the first connector having enough repeatable performance to be accepted in data centers. If you build a backbone with a 12-fiber MPO connector, basically you can put any connection on the end to be future proofed (LC, SC, etc.). Thus most of data centers are built with 12-fiber MPO cabling in the backbone and MPO-LC harnesses connecting to equipment like switches and servers. Many equipment today still has an LC transceiver interface, therefore the harness is required to convert from MPO in the backbone to LC at the port.

24-Fiber MPO Connector

The companies that promoted the 12-fiber MPO connector suddenly realized that it no longer matched the requirements of the data center. Every equipment coming into the data center was either 40G (8 fibers) or 100G (24 fibers). 12 is not divisible by 8, but 24 is. If you combine 2×12 fiber MPO connectors in the backbone, you can connect 3×8 fiber MPO connectors with zero fiber wasteage at the switch. The 24-fiber MPO connector has similar performance to the 12 if not exactly the same.

24-fiber MPO connector

The 24-fiber MPO connector has two rows of 12 fibers. And this additional row of fibers requires an increase in the spring force to push all of those fibers together, actually double what you need for 12. With the same size as a 12-fiber MPO connector, the 24-fiber MPO connector has double the amount of fibers and reduces the amount of cable required at the back end because a 24 fiber cable is only marginally bigger than a 12 fiber cable. Moreover, why combine 2×12 fiber MPO connectors to make 3×8 when you can just have 1×24 fiber MPO connector converting to 3×8? The 24-fiber MPO connector can also satisfy the demand for 100G data rates over a single connector. 20 fibers are required for 100G (10x transmit and 10x receive).


MPO connector delivers the optical, mechanical and environmental performance that service providers need to expedite the addition of fiber capacity and to support higher data-rate services. It plays an important role in the high-density cabling solutions. Buy quality MPO connector, MPO cables and MPO cassettes from FS.COM to deploy your network. For more details, please visit or contact us over

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