The Essential Guide to Network Cabling: From Cat5e to Cat

When the time comes to wire up your business network, the jungle of jargon can be overwhelming. Category cables come in a multitude of types and with various specs that can impact your network’s performance, longevity, and even ease of installation. Let’s break down the essential components: category types, connector types, shielding options, and wire gauges to help you pick the perfect cable for your project.

Category Types: Understanding the Numbers

We've got Cat5e through Cat8, each with its own set of capabilities. Here's a quick recap tailored to include the new specs you're interested in:

  • Cat5e: Supports up to 1 Gbps at 100 MHz. Ideal for small-scale installations where cost-saving is a priority and high data transfer rates are not critical.
  • Cat6: Offers speeds up to 10 Gbps at 250 MHz. A versatile choice for businesses with moderate data needs.
  • Cat6a: Doubles the bandwidth of Cat6 to 500 MHz, supporting 10 Gbps. Suitable for high-density networks with heavy data traffic.
  • Cat7: Provides bandwidth up to 600 MHz with speeds up to 10 Gbps over 100 meters, featuring extensive shielding.
  • Cat8: The powerhouse with bandwidths up to 2000 MHz and speeds ranging from 25 to 40 Gbps. It’s the future-proof option for cutting-edge data centers.

Connector Types: To Boot or Not to Boot?

Connectors may seem like a minor detail, but they can affect the ease of installation and cable qamanagement.

  • Non-Booted: These have a simple plug-and-play design without additional covering. They're easier to unplug and plug in, which is convenient for patch panels where cables are frequently managed.
  • Booted: These connectors feature a protective boot that prevents the cable's clip from snagging or breaking when you run it through tight spaces. They’re great for areas where cables might be disturbed or moved around often.

Shielding Options: Keeping Interference at Bay

Shielding is all about protecting your data's integrity, particularly in environments with lots of electromagnetic interference (EMI).

  • UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair): Common and cost-effective, UTP cables are used in most office environments where EMI is not a significant concern.
  • FTP (Foiled Twisted Pair): These have a foil shield that covers the wires, providing better protection against EMI. They are suitable for environments with moderate interference, such as near light fixtures or power cables.
  • SSTP (Screened Shielded Twisted Pair): Offering the best protection with both foil and braided shielding, SSTP cables are ideal for industrial settings with high EMI.

Wire Gauge Options: Size Does Matter

The thickness of the wire, known as the gauge, affects the cable's flexibility, distance capabilities, and current capacity.

  • Standard 24, 26 AWG: These are the most common gauges, with 24 AWG being slightly thicker and thus better for longer cable runs.
  • Slim 28, 30, 32 AWG: These thinner cables are more flexible and easier to manage, perfect for dense network racks and patch panels. They work well for shorter distances and are a good choice for high-density environments where space is at a premium.

Striking the Right Balance

Choosing the right cable for your project is about finding the sweet spot between performance and practicality. For instance, while Cat6a offers excellent speed and bandwidth, you may also want to consider a booted design if you expect to move cables around to prevent damage. If you’re in an area with significant interference, FTP or SSTP may be necessary to maintain signal integrity.

In environments where every inch of space counts, like data centers, slim wires can be a godsend. Conversely, if you're wiring up a large, single-story office, standard 24 AWG cables may be more cost-effective and just as efficient for your needs.

The Bottom Line

Your choice in category cables will lay the foundation for your network’s future. By understanding the nuances of each specification—from category types to the shielding and gauge—you can tailor your network infrastructure to your current requirements while keeping an eye on future expansions. With these insights, you’ll be well-equipped to select a cable that not only fits your budget but also meets, or even exceeds, your performance expectations.

Elevate Your Projects with FCM's Structured Cabling: The Ultimate in Flexibility and Efficiency

If you're navigating the intricate world of structured cabling, you already know how essential it is to have the right components at your fingertips. There's no room for compromises, delays, or "almost-right" solutions. That's why at FCM, we're raising the bar to offer you the very best in cabling options. 

Our Expanded Inventory: From 1m to 30m Fiber Jumpers and Beyond!

Let’s start with the exciting news—our stocked inventory now includes fiber jumpers in lengths ranging from 1m to a whopping 30m, in 1m increments! That’s right, we're taking customization to a new level. Whether you need a 7m, 18m, or even a 29m cable, you’ll find it in our inventory. It’s like a candy store for all your cabling needs!

Custom-Built Solutions: More Than Just Standard Lengths

But wait, there’s more! While our 1m to 30m range covers most needs, we recognize that some projects have their own set of unique challenges. Need a non-standard length or specialized fiber specifications? We've got you covered! At FCM, customization isn't a luxury; it's a standard offering. With us, you're not just buying a product; you're investing in a tailored solution designed to meet your specific project needs.

80% Same-Day Fill Rate: Efficiency Redefined

Delays are a pain, and we totally get it. That’s why we’ve optimized our supply chain to offer an impressive 80% same-day fill rate for in-stock orders. With this level of efficiency, your projects will experience less downtime, enabling you to complete tasks quicker and secure more deals. Just think of us as your project’s best friend!

What Makes FCM Your Best Choice? A Deeper Dive

Sure, our inventory is great, but what else sets us apart? Let's dive into our five pillars of excellence:

1. Fast Order Fulfillment: No More Waiting Games

Thanks to our expanded inventory and customization options, we’re dispatching orders faster than you can say "structured cabling." It’s almost like having a magic wand for your projects.

2. Flexibility and Customization: The Sky's The Limit

Whether you need an unusual length or specialized fiber specs, we can tailor-make solutions for you. Your project’s challenges are our challenges too.

3. Cost Savings: The Best for Less

Our competitively priced solutions and fast fulfillment mean you’re not just saving time, but your budget will thank you too.

4. Reliable Quality: Because Good Isn't Good Enough

Each product undergoes rigorous quality assurance processes. Because, when it comes to your projects, only the best will do.

5. Uninterrupted Project Flow: Keeping the Momentum Going

With our extensive inventory and quick turnarounds, say goodbye to project lags and hello to smooth, uninterrupted workflows.

Seamless Quoting? Yes, Please!

Before we wrap this up, let’s touch on how you can get a quote from us. You can send a quick email to, or for the tech-savvy among you, use our PerfectBild platform for an instant quote. Simply visit and get started.

In Summary

If you're looking for the ultimate in flexibility, quality, and efficiency for your structured cabling needs, FCM is the partner you've been searching for. Our combination of stocked and custom-built options means you’ll never have to settle for anything less than perfect.

So, go ahead and make FCM your go-to choice for all things structured cabling. We're excited to be part of your project's success!

Unlocking Network Potential: The Case for Compatible Direct Attached Cables from FCM

In the fast-paced world of information technology, the network is the unsung hero, the silent engine that powers businesses big and small. Whether you're an IT Reseller, a Datacenter operator, or a professional Installer, you'll know how vital robust and reliable network infrastructure is. But let's face it: building such an infrastructure often comes with a hefty price tag, especially when opting for Original Equipment Manufacturer cables. That's why we're here to talk about a game-changing alternative—our line of compatible Direct Attached Cables (DACs).

The Cost Dilemma

One of the most significant pain points in scaling or upgrading network infrastructure is cost. High-quality Original Manufacturer cables certainly do the job, but at what price? Financial considerations can become a bottleneck, particularly for growing businesses that need to maximize every dollar spent. This is where our DACs come into play.

Cost-Efficiency: Quality Meets Affordability

Our compatible DACs offer a unique blend of quality and affordability. They are meticulously designed to meet and often exceed the industry specifications set by OEMs. What this means for you is simple: you get the same high-grade performance you would expect from an Original cable, but at a fraction of the cost. Now, you can allocate your budget to other crucial aspects of your IT setup, be it storage, security, or software.

Performance That Doesn't Compromise

Being cost-effective shouldn't mean cutting corners on performance. Our DACs are rigorously tested for various metrics, including data transfer rates, latency, and packet loss. They offer a reliable, high-speed solution that ensures your network runs smoothly, thus minimizing downtime and enhancing productivity. The result? A network that's not just affordable but also efficient and reliable.

Universal Compatibility: The One-Size-Fits-All Solution

Proprietary technology can often lock you into a specific ecosystem, making future upgrades and integrations a headache. Our DACs are designed with universal compatibility in mind, giving you the freedom to operate in a multi-vendor environment. Whether you're setting up a brand-new network or looking to integrate our cables into your existing infrastructure, the process is seamless.

Easy Installation: Time is Money

In business, time is of the essence. That's why our DACs feature a plug-and-play design that facilitates easy installation. With industry-standard connectors, you don't need any additional transceivers or other equipment. Just plug them in, and you're good to go, making it possible to scale or upgrade your network infrastructure without losing valuable time.

Exceptional Customer Support and Lifetime Warranty

Our commitment to quality extends beyond just products. Our customer support team is on standby to assist with any questions or issues you may have, from the point of inquiry to after-sales service. Furthermore, we offer lifetime warranty to give you peace of mind, ensuring that your investment is protected.

The Bottom Line

In summary, our line of compatible Direct Attached Cables offers a host of advantages over traditional Original Equipment Manufacturer products:

  • Cost-Efficiency: High-grade performance at a fraction of the cost.
  • Stellar Performance: Rigorous testing to ensure optimal data transfer rates, low latency, and minimal packet loss.
  • Universal Compatibility: Designed to fit into any network setup, providing flexibility for future growth.
  • Easy Installation: Plug-and-play design that saves you time and effort.
  • Exceptional Customer Support: A dedicated team to help you navigate any challenges, coupled with lifetime warranty options.

If you're an IT Reseller, Datacenter, or Installer, our DACs offer a winning formula of performance, cost-efficiency, and flexibility. Isn't it time you made the switch?

Twinax vs. AOC: Which Solution is Best for Your Data Center?

As technology continues to evolve at an unprecedented rate, the demand for efficient, scalable, and high-performance data centers is growing. Technology professionals—whether they're in IT, data management, or systems architecture—are often faced with the critical decision of choosing between different types of cables to ensure optimum performance. Among the options frequently considered are Twinax cables and Active Optical Cables (AOC). This article aims to educate technology professionals on the characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages of these two types of cables to inform a more grounded decision.

What are Twinax Cables?

Twinax cables, also known as Direct Attach Cables (DAC), are a form of copper cabling that is generally used for short-distance data transfers. They are particularly popular for connections within a single rack or between nearby racks.

Advantages of Twinax Cables

  1. Cost-Efficiency: Twinax cables are generally more affordable than their AOC counterparts, making them an excellent choice for budget-conscious projects.
  2. Low Latency: The nature of Twinax cables allows for extremely low-latency data transmission, a crucial feature for time-sensitive applications.
  3. Simplicity: Twinax cables offer a 'plug-and-play' experience, eliminating the need for separate transceivers and reducing installation complexity.

Disadvantages of Twinax Cables

  1. Limited Reach: Twinax cables are primarily designed for short distances, generally up to 7 meters, making them less suitable for larger data center layouts.
  2. Rigidity: The copper-based construction of Twinax can be less flexible than fiber optics, which could be a disadvantage in more crowded or intricate settings.

What are Active Optical Cables (AOC)?

AOC combines the benefits of fiber optic cabling with embedded electronics, offering a solution that can be used for much greater distances than Twinax cables.

Advantages of AOC

  1. Long-Distance Capabilities: AOC can handle data transfers over significantly longer distances, often surpassing 100 meters.
  2. Higher Bandwidth: These cables are built to accommodate large volumes of data, making them a robust choice for data centers with high data throughput needs.
  3. Physical Flexibility: Unlike Twinax, AOCs are highly flexible, providing easier routing and installation in dense or complex data center environments.
  4. EMI Immunity: Active Optical Cables are less susceptible to electromagnetic interference, which ensures a more reliable data transfer.

Disadvantages of AOC

  1. Higher Costs: Generally, AOC comes at a premium compared to Twinax, especially for longer lengths.
  2. Power Requirements: AOCs have active components that require more power compared to passive Twinax cables, which could be a consideration for energy-conscious environments.

Decision Points for Technology Professionals

When it comes to making an educated decision between Twinax and AOC, there are several key factors to consider:

  1. Operational Distance: Evaluate the distances over which your cables will need to operate. For shorter, intra-rack connections, Twinax is usually sufficient and more cost-effective. For inter-rack or data center-wide connections, AOC is the better option.
  2. Data Throughput: Assess the volume of data that will be transferred. For high-bandwidth needs, AOC may offer better performance.
  3. Budget Constraints: While Twinax cables may be cheaper initially, consider the potential need for future scalability and whether the higher initial investment in AOC may pay off in the long term.
  4. Physical Layout: The physical dimensions and layout of the data center can impact your choice of cable. In denser environments, the flexibility and thinness of AOC may provide an advantage.

In Summary

Both Twinax and AOC have unique advantages and disadvantages that make them suitable for different data center scenarios. Your role as a technology professional is to assess the specific needs of your project and make an informed decision accordingly. By understanding the technical underpinnings and operational considerations of each cable type, you can ensure that your data center is not only operationally efficient but also future-proof.

If you have more questions about which cabling solution is right for your needs, feel free to reach out. We specialize in providing structured cabling solutions that cater to a variety of professional requirements.

Exploring the Power of Armored Fiber Cables: A Closer Look at Its Advantages


In the intricate web of modern communication systems, where the speed and security of data transmission are paramount, innovations continueto reshape the landscape. One such innovation is the armored fiber cable, a technological marvel that fuses the power of optical communication with a robust physical layer of protection. This article delves into the world of armored fiber cables, exploring their definition, design, and the myriad advantages that have propelled them into the forefront of data transmission solutions.

Defining Armored Fiber Cable

Armored fiber cables, often referred to as armored fiber optic cables, are as pecialized category of optical cables designed to fortify thefragile glass fibers that transmit data. These cables feature an extra layer of shielding, typically made of metal or polymer, which safeguards the delicate optical fibers against various physical and environmental stresses.

Advantages of Armored Fiber Cable

  1. Rugged Protection for Delicate Fibers:

At the core of the armored fiber cable's appeal is its ability to offer enhanced protection to the sensitive optical fibers within. The robust armor, often made of steel or aluminum, acts as a shield against potential damage caused by crushing, bending, or impacts.This attribute is especially crucial in environments where cables are subjected to rough handling or installed in challenging conditions.

  1. Flexibility Meets Resilience:

Despite their reinforced construction, armored fiber cables exhibit an impressive degree of flexibility. Advanced engineering ensures that the armor does not impede the cable's ability to bend and maneuver,making them suitable for installations that require intricate routing or adaptation to confined spaces.

  1. Unyielding Security:

In an era of heightened data security concerns, armored fiber cables offer an added layer of protection against unauthorized access and tampering. The armor acts as a deterrent, making it considerably more difficult for potential intruders to compromise data integrity by intercepting or damaging the cables.

  1. Surviving the Elements:

Armored fiber cables are engineered to withstand a range of environmental challenges. Their armor provides resistance to moisture, chemicals,UV radiation, and temperature fluctuations. As a result, these cables find utility in diverse settings, from outdoor installations to industrial environments, where traditional cables might falter.

  1. Longevity and Reduced Maintenance:

The durability of armored fiber cables translates into a longer lifespan,contributing to reduced maintenance costs over time. This longevity ensures consistent and reliable data transmission, thus enhancing operational efficiency and minimizing disruptions.

  1. Adaptability for Diverse Applications:

Armored fiber cables come in various configurations to meet specific application requirements. Whether it's single-mode or multi-mode fibers, various connector options, or armor materials, these cables can be customized to suit a wide array of networking needs.


In the symphony of modern connectivity, where the harmonious exchange of information fuels progress, armored fiber cables stand as a testament to ingenuity and resilience. By melding cutting-edge optical communication with steadfast physical protection, these cables have earned their place as an indispensable asset in the realm of data transmission.

As technological advancements continue to unfold, the demand for fast,secure, and reliable data transfer will only intensify. Armored fiber cables, with their ability to safeguard delicate optical fibers,provide flexibility without compromise, ensure unyielding security,weather environmental challenges, and offer extended longevity, are primed to play an instrumental role in shaping the future of communication networks. In a world where strength and reliability are paramount, armored fiber cables are the unsung heroes beneath the surface, empowering our interconnected digital society.

Do you have an Armored cable project?
Log into our PerfectBild Configurator portal to quote yourself Armored Fiber cables in seconds!

Armored fiber cables Resilient data transmission Enhanced network durability Fiber optic cable protection Armored cable benefits Robust connectivity solutions

A Brief Overview of High-Density Fiber Solutions: Advancing the Future of Connectivity


In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, seamless connectivity and data transmission are paramount to success. High-density fiber solutions have emerged as a groundbreaking innovation that not only addresses the growing demand for faster and more reliable data transfer but also optimizes space and energy efficiency. This article explores the fundamentals and benefits of high-density fiber solutions, which have become a driving force behind the revolution in modern communication infrastructures.

Understanding High-Density Fiber Solutions

High-density fiber solutions refer to cutting-edge cabling and connectivity systems designed to accommodate a large number of fibers in a compact and efficient manner. They offer an increased density of fiber connections within a limited physical space, making them ideal fordata centers, telecommunications facilities, enterprise networks, andother high-bandwidth environments.

Key Components of High-Density Fiber Solutions

High-Density Fiber Patch Panels: These panels are at the core of high-density fiber solutions. They are engineered to house asignificant number of fiber optic connectors, ensuring efficient organization and management of fiber cables. High-density fiber patch panels come in various configurations, including rack-mount andwall-mount options, offering flexibility and adaptability to different installation needs.

MTP/MPOConnectors: MTP (Multifiber Termination Push-on) or MPO(Multifiber Push-on) connectors are the backbone of high-densityfiber solutions. They enable the simultaneous connection of multiple-fibers, streamlining installations and reducing the overall cabling footprint. MTP/MPO connectors are available in various types, such as12-fiber, 24-fiber, and 48-fiber variants.

Trunk Cables and Harnesses: Trunk cables consist of multiple fibers bundled together, which can be quickly connected to high-density patch panels using MTP/MPO connectors. Trunk harnesses prepare-terminated trunk cables with MTP/MPO connectors on one end andindividual connectors, such as LC or SC, on the other end, allowing direct connection to active equipment.

Benefits of High-Density Fiber Solutions

Space Efficiency: Traditional fiber cabling systems can be space-consuming, limiting the capacity of data centers and telecommunication rooms. High-density fiber solutions overcome thischallenge by significantly reducing the space required for cabling infrastructure. The compact design and increased port density enable more connections within the same physical footprint.

Scalability:High-density fiber solutions provide unparalleled scalability,allowing organizations to seamlessly expand their networks as the demand for higher bandwidth increases. The modular design of these solutions simplifies upgrades and future-proofing strategies, saving both time and resources.

Faster Deployment: With per-terminated trunk cables and harnesses,high-density fiber solutions accelerate the installation process.This results in reduced downtime during network upgrades and quick provisioning of new services.

Improved Cable Management: Neat and efficient cable management is critical in high-density environments. These solutions offer enhanced cable organization and labeling options, ensuring easier maintenance and troubleshooting.

Enhanced Performance: High-density fiber solutions are designed to meet the requirements of high-speed data transmission and support the latest networking standards, such as 40G, 100G, and beyond. This improved performance ensures data integrity and minimizes latency,critical for modern applications and cloud-based services.


As the demand for data-intensive applications continues to rise, high-density fiber solutions have emerged as a transformative force in the field ofconnectivity. These innovative cabling and connectivity systems offer numerous benefits, including space efficiency, scalability, faster deployment, improved cable management, and enhanced performance.Embracing high-density fiber solutions equips organizations with therobust infrastructure needed to thrive in the ever-evolving digitall and scape and positions them at the forefront of connectivity advancements.

Unleash the Power of Bend-Insensitive Fiber with FCM

At FCM, we believe in the power of cutting-edge technology to transform the way we connect and communicate.  Today, we are thrilled to introduce you to a solution that will level up your network infrastructure: Bend-Insensitive Fiber Optic Cables!

Bend-insensitive fiber, also known as BI fiber, is a type of fiber optic cable specifically designed to minimize signal loss and degradation when subjected to tight bends or twists. It is engineered to maintain superior signal integrity even in challenging installation conditions where traditional fiber optic cables may suffer from significant signal attenuation.

In today's digital era, where speed,reliability, and uninterrupted connectivity are paramount, it's crucial to choose the right fiber optic cables that can keep up with the demands of your business. Bend-insensitive fiber optic cables offer a host of advantages that make them the ideal choice for modern communication networks.

Here are some key benefits of using Bend-Insensitive Fiber Optic Cables:

1.Unmatched Flexibility:Say goodbye to the limitations of traditional fiber optic cables that are prone to signal loss and degradation when bent. This means you can route cables through narrow spaces, crowded conduits, and complex network architectures with ease, without worrying about performance issues.

2.Easier Installation and Maintenance:Simplify your installation process and minimize downtime with our Bend-Insensitive Fiber Optic Cables. Their robust design reduces the risk of accidental breakage during cable routing, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free installation experience, saving you valuable time and effort.

3.Optimal Space Utilization:With Bend-Insensitive Fiber Optic Cables, you can make the most of your available space. Their compact and lightweight design allows for efficient cable management and increased cable density, maximizing the capacity and performance of your network infrastructure.

4.Uncompromising Signal Integrity:Enjoy seamless and reliable data transmission, these cables maintain superior signal integrity even when subjected to tight bends or physical stress. You can rest assured that your critical data,high-definition video streams, and real-time communication will flow smoothly without any degradation in quality or performance.

5.Future-Proof Your Network:As technology advances and network requirements evolve, our cables will adapt seamlessly, ensuring long-term reliability and durability.This means you can stay ahead of the curve without the need for costly cable replacements or infrastructure upgrades.

We are committed to providing you with quality solutions that empower your business. With our Bend-Insensitive Fiber Optic Cables, you can unlock the full potential of your network infrastructure, delivering high-speed, uninterrupted connectivity that fuels your success.

Contact-us today to learn more about how our Bend-Insensitive Fiber Optic Cables can revolutionize your network infrastructure. Together, let's embrace the future of connectivity!

Supercharge Your Project with Build-to-Order Fiber Cable Assemblies

Are you gearing up for your next project? Custom-made fiber cable assemblies can make a world of difference, and here's why:

Imagine having cables that are designed specifically for your project's needs. Custom-made fiber cable assemblies are like bespoke suits,tailored to fit perfectly. They deliver top-notch performance,compatibility, and durability because they are made just for you. Our expert team will work with you to understand your needs in the quote to order process, guaranteeing your cables deliver optimal performance, compatibility, and durability - Typical build times area surprisingly short 5-7 days.

What's more, these assemblies are incredibly flexible and scalable. As your project evolves, our fiber cable assemblies can adapt and expand accordingly, saving you time, resources, and unnecessary disruptions down the line. No need to worry about outgrowing your cables or spending extra money on replacements.

The equality and reliability of custom-made fiber cable assemblies are unmatched. We take extra care in selecting the best materials and conducting rigorous testing to ensure seamless data transmission and minimal downtime.

Streamlined installation and maintenance further enhance the advantages of custom-made fiber cable assemblies. pre-terminated and pretested cables simplify the installation process, while easy access for maintenance ensures quick troubleshooting and repairs. Say goodbye to cookie-cutter solutions and welcome the advantages of custom-made fiber cable assemblies for your project. Contact us today to discover how these tailor-made solutions can supercharge your project's performance and efficiency. Do you have a custom request?

Attack the Slack at the Rack

Saeed Ali

When designing and building a data center, engineers and designers are constantly up against constraints at every level: space, thermal, and budgetary. Perfectly designing a cable strategy is not only the right thing to do, it saves space by eliminating ugly slack at the end of your racks, it saves money (by incurring costs for the exactly what’s needed), and it increases the thermal efficiency of the data center operation by improving airflow within racks.

Let’s face it, nobody likes to see a rat’s nest of cables. It’s not only embarrassing to look at, it’s downright ugly. It makes making upgrades a pain, and it bogs down an otherwise efficient data center operation. On the flip side, a beautifully managed cable strategy can not only look clean, it helps the overall operation run efficiently and sets the tone for organization at every level. With every run designed to end exactly where it needs to, it can make cable installation and management an absolute joy and alleviates the workload on the installers.

Additionally, we all know how important good airflow and thermal efficiency any data center operation is. Clean racks keep air flowing and are substantially easier to cool. They reduce operating costs and minimizing electricity and HVAC system maintenance. And it adds up: a simple decision to implement a cable management strategy at the rack level can impact an entire operation at the macro scale, year over year.

After 20 years in the business of manufacturing high-quality cable assemblies for our customers, we understand that time is just as important as money when a critical network installation is being held up by the cables. Overcoming budgetary and time constraints associated with making adds, moves or changes to their data centers can be absolutely mission critical. That’s why we have worked hard to develop an easier, more cost-effective way to offer custom cable assemblies, at the same price as our regular in-stock cables. Our online Configurator tool ( allows our customers to build the cables they need in minutes. Exact specifications, instant pricing, lead times, and no mistakes made during procurement.

FCM Fiber Configurator

For a fiber quote send your specs to  .

After 20 years in the business of manufacturing high-quality cable assemblies for our customers, we understand that time is just as important as money when a critical network installation is being held up by the cables

MTP/MPO Fiber Optic Polarity Explained

With the increasing bandwidth and network connection needs of data centers, MTP/MPO fiber cables have become the main solution for 40G/100G/400G high-density environments. Individual cables come in 8 through 72 fiber strands (12 fibers being the most common) and have a variety of pinout options to suit different application requirements. In this article we will go over those MTP/MPO Fiber Pinout options.

Anatomy of an MTP/MPO Connector

The MTP/MPO connectors can contain from 8 through 72 fiber strands, 12 strands being the most common. The connectors come in a Male (with pins) or Female version (no pins), this helps keep the end face aligned at the fiber connections – The end-face alignment/polish usually come in Straight (for MM) or Angled (for SMF). The connectors also have a Keys (or grooves) at the top or bottom which keeps them in place after being connected. Lastly there is a White mark on the side of the connectors which indicates where the Fiber position 1 is. All of these connector features help users maintain the proper Polarity required across different applications, ensuring the transmit and receiving ends are interconnected properly. Because there are so many combinations of these features for one MPO cable it is important to understand when and how they are used.

Fiber optic connections
Anatomy of an MTP/MPO Connector

The Three 12Fiber Polarity/Pinout Methods

There are three polarity standards defined by TIA 568 (Telecommunications Industry Association), these are Method A, Method B, and Method C. These methods are defined in more detail below.

Fiber Polarity explanation
The Three 12Fiber Polarity Methods

Method A MTP/MPO

Type A aka Method A is known as a straight through cable, it has a key up on one connector end and a key down on the other connector end of the cable. This design allows the fibers to have the same position at each end of the cable, for example Fiber1 from one end will connect to Fiber1 on the other end.

Method B MTP/MPO

Type B aka Method B is known as a reverse cable, it has key up orientation on both connector ends. This design allows each fiber to mate with the opposite end, for example Fiber1 from one end will connect to Fiber12 on the other end. See Type B 12Fiber diagram below for more details.

Method C MTP/MPO

Type C aka Method C is known as a pairs flipped cable, it has a key up on one end and a key down on the other end of the cable. This design allows each adjacent fiber on one end to be flipped on the other end, for example Fiber1 from one end will connect to Fiber2 on the other end. See Type C 12Fiber diagram below for more details.

Polarity Connectivity Examples

The TIA standard also explains that all MTP/MPO polarity methods should use a Duplex patch cable to complete the fiber circuit. There are two types of Duplex fiber patch cable options A to A connection and A to B connection.

Optimal connectivity
Fiber Jumper Polarity A to A  and  A to B

Fiber Jumper Polarity A to A and A to B

Since the goal is for the transmit (Tx) signal to connect to the receiving (Rx) equipment, the tables below shows the most common component combinations to achieve this.

Fiber optic polarity benefits
Applications With Cassettes and MTP-MPO
10Gig Duplex and 40/100 Gig Parallel Applications

Commonly Used 12 strand Applications

Method A cables are used in Duplex applications along with a standard A-B LC/SC patch cord on one end and A-A LC/SC patch cord on the other end to set the proper Tx/Rx positions required.Type A cables are also used on one end of 40/100 Gig applications to connect the patch panel ports to their corresponding transceiver ports. This setup will need a Type B MPO patch cord on the other end of the channel.Method B cables are used on both ends of 40/100 Gig applications to connect patch panel ports to their corresponding ports. This would mean the same type of patch cords would be needed for both Duplex and Parallel applications, this is why Method B is most often recommended.Method C is used when you need to break the MTP/MPO cable out to Duplex LC/SC connectors and need to connect those up to mate to Tx or Rx you will have to use a Pairwise reversal. The alternate way to accomplish this is by handling the reversal on the MTP/MPO breakout modules on either end, this method is preferred since you will be able to convert the same cable for parallel optics if needed.


Due to the increased migration to 40G/100G/400G in Data Centers, MTP/MPO cables are the ideal high density cabling solution, but pose complex polarity questions. These polarity issues can be managed by selecting the correct type of combination of MTP/MPO cable, Connectors, Cassettes, and Fiber Patch cables. As shown in the tables above, regardless of the method selected, there will need to be a pair-wise flip somewhere in the link.
When dealing with MTP/MPO cables it is important to keep the following top of mind: Know how many products you will need to connect and how much loss your network can tolerate, and design with as few components as possible.

Our online Fiber Configurator tool allows you to build the custom spec you need for any system. To start configuring visit

MTP/MPO cables are the ideal high density cabling solution, but pose complex polarity questions.