MTP Cabling: 12-Fiber or 24-Fiber?

With the rapid development of network technology, migration to ever higher speed data transmission networks becomes the trend. As 10G Ethernet is commonly used in larger enterprises, migration from 10G to 40G to 100G is underway to meet the demands for higher bandwidth. Has your network cabling been optimized for this inevitable growth? It is essential to create a simple, cost-effective migration to support the needs of 40G/100G Ethernet network. MTP cabling is a good solution for both 40G and 100G network migration. This article will focus on the difference between 12-fiber and 24-fiber MTP cabling from three aspects—migration, cost and density.


Trunks, harnesses, patch cords, modules and adapter plates are the necessary components used in the network. The following diagrams show the 12- and 24-fiber system configurations from 1G to 100G networks.

Figure 1. shows 12-Fiber MTP cabling for 40G. In this type of cabling system, one 12-fiber MTP trunk cable, two 12-fiber MTP-LC modules and two LC duplex patch cords are needed.

12-fiber MTP cabling for 10G

Figure 1.—1/10G Channel 12-Fiber Legacy Configuration

Figure 2. shows two options for 12-Fiber MTP cabling for 40G. In this type of cabling system, a second MTP trunk cable and another set of array harnesses will be needed to achieve 100% fiber utilization.

12-fiber MTP cabling for 40G

Figure 2.—40G Channel 12-Fiber Legacy Configurations

Figure 3. shows 12-fiber MTP cabling for 100G. In this type of cabling system, for 100G, some additional components will be required for any 12-fiber legacy configuration, like MTP adapter plate and MTP harness cable.

12-fiber MTP cabling for 100G

Figure 3.—100G Channel 12-Fiber Legacy Configuration

With the use of 24-fiber MTP trunk cable, a single cable can support a 1G-100G channel and will simplify network upgrades immensely. 1G and 10G networks will link the MTP trunk cables to active equipment with MTP-LC modules and LC duplex patch cords. When equipment is upgraded, modules and patch cords are exchanged for the appropriate new MTP components, with no need to install new trunks. In addition, limiting changes reduce the inherent risks to network security and integrity whenever MAC work is completed. The following three figures separately show 24-fiber MTP cabling for 10G, 24-fiber MTP cabling for 40G and 24-fiber MTP cabling for 100G.

24-fiber MTP cabling for 10G

1/10G Channel 24-Fiber Configuration

24-fiber MTP cabling for 40G

40G Channel 24-Fiber Configurations

24-fiber MTP cabling for 100G

100G Channel 24-Fiber Configuration


12-fiber configuration may allow you to continue to use existing MTP trunk cables when upgrading your equipment (if you already have 12-fiber MTP/MPO trunk cables), but it will be likely to require additional MTP trunk cables, more connectivity components, and other network modifications. In the long run, it is much more expensive to retain these MTP trunk cables than to upgrade to 24-fiber up front.


High speed data transmission needs high density cabling in data center. Many data center managers prefer network components which can realize both high density connectivity and smaller occupation space in the enclosure which can leave more rack space for active equipment and reduce the total amount of floor space required. 24-fiber cabling has the obvious advantage. If the active equipment is configured for 24-fiber channel/lane assignments, enclosures can have twice as many connections with the same number of ports compared to 12-fiber (or the same number of connections using only half the ports).

The flip side of density is congestion. The more connectivity you are able to run in the same footprint, the more crowded it can become at the rack or cabinet. Here again, 24-fiber MTP trunk cable offers a huge benefit. Anywhere there is fiber, from within the enclosures to cable runs that connect different areas of the network, you will have just half the number of cables versus 12-fiber. Runs carry a lighter load, fibers are easier to manage, and improved airflow saves cooling costs.


Fewer connectivity components to be replaced or added simplifies migration and saves costs for both components and installation. Higher-density connectivity leaves more rack space for active equipment. And fewer MTP trunk cables reduce cable congestion throughout the data center. In a word, the 24-fiber MTP cabling will future-proof your network, lower your cost and maximize your return on investment.

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