Cleaning Recommendation for MPO/MTP Connectors

Posted on by FS.COM

MPO/MTP connectors are common throughout the high-density network today, giving us the power to add, drop, move and change the network. Thus, inspection and cleaning are very important for them since that issues with connector cleanliness and contamination are the greatest cause of network failure. However, you may find that you cannot get the expected result even though you have already cleaned the MPO/MTP connector before connection. Why? Keep reading this post, you may find out what the trouble is and how to solve it.

Understanding MPO/MTP Connector

MPO/MTP connector is the most common multi-fiber connector type used in today’s high-density networks, e.g. 40/100 Gigabit Ethernet. It usually contains one or two rows of fibers (12-fiber MPO/MTP or 24-fiber MPO/MTP) in a single connector. Compared to the single-fiber connectors, a MPO or MTP connector has a larger contact area (Figure 1), and alignment of the fibers is achieved by the connection of male connector (pinned connector) which has outer pins and female connector (unpinned connector) which has alignment holes (Figure 2).

MTP vs. LC
Figure 1. MPO/MTP Connector VS. Single-Fiber Connector (LC Connector)

male vs. female
Figure 2. Male & Female MPO/MTP Connectors

When cleaning a MPO/MTP connector, all fibers on the connector must be clean for it to function properly. Because contamination of one fiber can cause signal degradation on other fibers. Additionally, due to the presence of the alignment pins, the cleaning of the extreme sides of the MPO/MTP connector end-face is often overlooked by users (Figure 3). This is also why we cannot get the expected result in spite of repetitive cleaning. For these reasons, we should choose the right cleaning method and tools for proper cleaning.

areas not cleaned by toolFigure 3. Cleaning Dead Zone of MPO/MTP Male Connector

Cleaning Method—Dry or Wet?

Inspection should be done first before cleaning as it can decide if you need to clean. Once cleaning is required, dry cleaning which is an efficient method to remove dusts and finger grease is usually the preferred method to use due to the possibilities of residue when using alcohol based products.

However, dry cleaning method is not always sufficient to completely remove all contaminants. Thus, if the second inspection reveals that the MPO/MTP connector is still contaminated after the first dry cleaning, wet+dry cleaning method (Figure 4) is recommended to use for second cleaning. If the connector is still contaminated after second cleaning using wet+dry method, you could try to redo it once more. But in this case, permanent damage of the connector must be excluded. Once permanent damage is detected, the connector has to be replaced.

wet+dry cleaning methodFigure 4. Wet+Dry Cleaning

Tips: Always reinspect connector after cleaning!

Cleaning Tool—Cassette Cleaner or One-Click Cleaner?

Cassette cleaner and one-click MPO/MTP cleaner are both available for MPO/MTP connector dry cleaning.

Cassette cleaner (Figure 5) is designed for effective cleaning of almost all fiber optic connectors with an accessible ferrule including LC, MU, SC, FC, ST, MPO/MTP, MTRJ and so on. If you only need to clean the accessible connector with a wide range of connector styles, it is an ideal choice for you. Moreover, by replacing the tape, it is more cost-effective for long-term use. But always remember that don’t reverse cleaning direction to avoid bringing back the wiped contaminants while using cassette cleaner.

cassette cleanerFigure 5. Use Cassette Cleaner to Clean MTP Connector

The one-click MPO/MTP cleaner (Figure 6) is an easy-to-use cleaning tool for MPO/MTP accessible connector and adapter cleaning. If connector and adapter are both required to clean in your system, it is a good choice for you. Just with a simple “one-click”, the cleaning is done. A one-click MPO/MTP cleaner can be used up to 600 cleans.

one-click cleanerFigure 6. Use One-click MPO/MTP Cleaner to Clean MTP Connector

In addition to the cleaner, other cleaning accessories such as lint-free wipe, optical grade dust remover, lint-free swab, etc. are necessary to achieve dry or wet+dry cleaning.

clean wipe swab dust remover

 

Conclusion

Fiber optic cleaning is a key part in whole fiber optic systems. MPO/MTP connector is more susceptible to contamination due to its larger contact area and multiple fiber design. Thus, choosing a right cleaning method and cleaning tool is very important for MPO/MTP cleaning. This post recommended cleaning methods and tools for MPO/MTP cleaning. All the products mentioned above can be ordered in our on-line shop www.fs.com. Please visit the website or contact us for more information.

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