Fiber LC vs MPO/MTP Connectors

LC Connectors

  • 1G/10G: LC connectors are commonly used for 1G and 10G networks, paired with SFP and SFP+ transceivers.
  • 25G/40G: They can also facilitate 25G connections with the appropriate transceivers. For 40G connections, LC connectors can be used, but it’s more commonly seen to utilize MPO/MTP connectors for 40G.
  • 100G: For 100G, LC connectors are usually not the preferred choice, as MPO/MTP connectors offer a more streamlined solution for the high fiber count necessary to support 100G transmission.

MPO/MTP Connectors

  • 40G: These are typically used for 40G networks where 8 fibers MPO/MTP connectors (4 for transmit and 4 for receive) are used with QSFP+ transceivers.
  • 100G: They are also standard in 100G networks using QSFP28 transceivers, where 12 or 24 fibers MPO/MTP connectors are used to achieve parallel transmission to get the 100G bandwidth.
  • 200G/400G: Moving into higher speeds of 200G and 400G, MPO/MTP connectors remain the standard choice due to their ability to facilitate the high fiber count and parallel transmission pathways necessary to achieve these speeds.

Future Developments

With the constant technological development, new transceivers and fiber optic technologies are continually emerging, potentially pushing the bandwidth capabilities of both LC and MPO/MTP connectors even further. 

However, as of now, MPO/MTP connectors are more geared towards high-bandwidth, high-density environments due to their support for parallel transmission, a key technology for achieving high bandwidths over optical fiber.

I recommend always checking the latest standards and specifications to get the most current data, as the technology landscape changes frequently. Keep in mind the quality of the cables (like the type of fiber – single mode or multimode) also plays a crucial role in determining the maximum achievable bandwidth.

Fiber Count

MTP®/MPO cables, essential in establishing high-speed data connections, come with various core counts – each designed for specific use cases:

  • 8-core cables are more cost-effective than 12-core cables, offering similar data rates with lower costs and insertion losses.
  • 12-core cables were the first to be developed and are common in 10G-40G and 40G-100G connections. However, they can have lower fiber utilization due to idle fibers when used with certain transceivers.
  • 24-core cables generally facilitate 100GBASE-SR10 links in CFP-to-CFP transceiver connections.
  • The newer 16-core cables, designed for 400G cabling in hyperscale data centers, maintain the same external footprint as traditional 12-core cables but can aggregate multiple 8-core parallel transceivers and support emerging 16-fiber parallel fiber links, including 400G QSFP-DD and OSFP.

Fiber Mode

These cables also differ based on fiber modes, with different capabilities and uses:

  • Multimode cables (OM3/OM4/OM5):
    • Suitable for short distance transmissions.
    • Maximum transmission distances (with the respective modules) are:
      • OM3: Up to 300m
      • OM4: Up to 400m
      • OM5: Up to 440m
    • Primarily used in building and campus settings.
  • Single-mode cables (OS2):
    • Suitable for long-distance transmissions, with applications in Metropolitan Area Networks (MANs) and Passive Optical Networks (PONs).
    • Offers higher bandwidth compared to multimode cables due to lesser modal dispersion.
    • Can achieve a maximum transmission distance of up to 10km when paired with the appropriate module, like a 40G QSFP-PLR4-40G module for a single-mode MTP-12 trunk.
    • Finds use in carrier networks, MANs, and PONs.

In summary, the choice between different MTP®/MPO cables depends on the specific data rate, transmission distance, and fiber mode requirements of a network setup, with different core counts and fiber modes offering unique advantages.