Typical data centers average 2.5 outages per year, with an average outage duration of 134 minutes. That works out to 2.8 million hours of downtime globally. This vulnerability reinforces the importance of reliability, diversity, redundancy, and uptime. Guaranteeing reliability becomes more expensive as data centers grow. Guaranteeing reliability becomes more expensive as data centers grow. Making data centers smaller, closer, and more energy efficient can help improve reliability. However, achieving these goals requires squeezing faster fiber into a smaller footprint. The logical place to start is with the fiber connectors themselves. The migration from SC- to LC-style configurations, as the industry already has done, has enabled devices to shrink. Mulitfiber connectors can increase capacity without increasing size but are hard to handle. Facing these enormous technological, financial, and ecological pressures, what’s next?
Three new types of connector options are gaining traction across the industry. These new configurations are (a) the CS duplex connector system for the next-generation QSFP-DD transceivers, (b) 16-fiber-array MT-based connectors, and (c) lens-array ferrules for parallel optic and silicon photonics applications. All three aggregate more fiber into a smaller footprint.
All three connector styles also bring their own drawbacks as well as benefits. All connectors are inherently dirty because of the moving parts like springs, connectors, and latches, all of which generate wear debris; more connectors mean more debris. Specifiers will want inspection and cleaning products that will do the job right the first time. There will be no time, no people, and certainly no budget for do-overs.