Masses of cables can restrict air flow and get in the way of technicians working in the data center, making it more likely they'll knock one out of a port, Phillips said.
MXC is designed to prevent that type of accident, as well as breaks due to dust, the biggest threat to fiber in data centers, Intel's Kruzul said. The connectors Intel has developed for MXC can withstand up to 45 pounds of pull force before getting accidentally dislodged, compared with 10 or 11 pounds for current fiber connectors, Kruzul said. In addition, a "beam expander" feature built into the connector spreads out the highly focused beam of light so a piece of dust won't block the entire beam, he said.
The connector also is designed for low cost and greater reliability with just seven parts, compared with 27 parts for existing fiber connectors, he said.
Intel wants to publish the MXC specification so third-party cabling vendors can make products for it, driving volume up and costs down, Kruzul said. But the company has to work through some issues, such as intellectual property, before going ahead, he said. It may also seek to have MXC standardized in cable organizations and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), but those processes tend to take a long time, Kruzul said.