Terminology Tuesday: MPO & MTP – What’s the Difference?


Speed and efficiency are of ever increasing importance, and hence came into play a myriad of pre-terminated fiber solutions. I realized recently, that I was confused by a fact – I thought that MPO connections and MTP connections were identical, just different abbreviated call-outs by various manufacturers for the same product. Happens often enough, but I wasn’t sure if it was actually correct in this case. I did some homework and am ready to clarify:

An MPO connector is a multi-fiber connector that is defined in two distinct standards, the IEC-61754-7 and the TIA-604-5-D. The term “MTP” is merely a registered trademark of US Conec to describe their product which is compliant with the MPO standard. According to the FAQ section of the US Conec website, differences come in to play as the MTP connector has added features including the ability to change gender or to re-polish in the field. MTPs also have a floating ferrule to improve performance under load and elliptical guide pins to provide for tight tolerance alignment.

My personal confusion became clear as my research continued. I discovered that US Conec’s marketing efforts are directed at making the term MTP ubiquitous for describing an MPO connector (I was right on board with their efforts). They encourage other manufacturers of MPO’s that include their enhanced features to utilize their trademarked terminology. Payback for US Conec: as “MTP” connectors begin to replace “MPO” on specs, US Conec and its licensees effectively become the sole source for sub-components in MPO solutions.

Do you feel the use of this dual terminology creates confusion? Are there other terms like this I should clarify in future posts?

3 Responses to Terminology Tuesday: MPO & MTP – What’s the Difference?

  1. jason said on
    March 28, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Most of my customers find this highly confusing, and I help them through this regularly. Another confusing topic is the way various suppliers handle polarity – yikes.

    • Stefanie Rembiszewski said on
      March 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      I’m glad you found this post useful, and thanks for the additional topic to write about. I will be sure to look for some information on polarity for a future post.

  2. Kevin Paschal said on
    March 28, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    This is a good topic for discussion. Personally, I think the dual terminology does create confusion.

    In some cases, specifications are written to call out a specific manufacturer. That is fine, if it was the intent of the author of the specification.

    Using the term MTP in a specification, in effect, references a specific manufacturer’s component within a solution without an overt manufacturer call out. At the very least, it refer’s to US Conec or any of their licensees. Consultants and Designers may not realize that they are doing this when they use the term “MTP”. I believe this is the source of the confusion.

    In the modern marketplace, we are finding that many specifications may continue to call out a specific manufacturer, but have a clause to allow for the use of “equivalent” products. It is often unclear as to the author’s intent if the term MTP is used to describe the MPO connector in a specification.

    For additional information, see the CommScope White Paper, “Clarification of Terminology -MPO and MTP®” at: http://docs.commscope.com/Public/Clarification_of_Terminology_MPO_and_MTP_WP.pdf

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