Joint efforts ensure compatible products from multiple sources
The complexity of high-end electronics creates many opportunities for hardware and/or software problems, while pricing and time to market pressures create problems for those tasked with setting up the supply chain. For the connector world, the merger of these trends often means that second sources need to be ready to step in with complex parts that can be shipped without delay.
Molex and TE Connectivity have teamed up for a dual source alliance (DSA) agreement where each company will produce a new generation of high-speed input/output (I/O) and backplane connectors, and cable assemblies for data communications applications. Those products are designed for environments such as cloud computing equipment, switches, servers, and high performance storage.
The DSA is intended to build on the duo’s earlier sourcing agreements for products such as: zSFP+ interconnects, zQSFP+ interconnects, CDFP interconnects, microQSFP interconnects, and Nano-Pitch I/O interconnects. The partners will collaborate on the launch and promotion of select new connector and cable assembly products that enable the growing number of high-speed applications. These connectors will provide speeds up to 56 Gbps and beyond.
“Things that were problems at 10 Gbps are different than the issue with products that run at 25 Gbps today, and those problems will be different in next-generation 50 Gbps connectors. How product lines are ramped up will also change,” said Nathan Tracy, Technologist, system architecture team and manager of industry standards at TE Connectivity Data Communications.
He noted that customers were clear that they wanted second sources for high speed connectors. Molex and TE will each work to develop the design features that customers want, and they will share information and cross test products to ensure that the components meet user’s performance requirements.
“This agreement lets us accelerate things,” said Scott Sommers, group product manager for I/O products and standards at Molex. “We have the ability to collaborate during the design phase when it wise to do so. Working together lets us accelerate testing, and both companies can tool up at the same time.”
Though the companies will work together in some areas, they will compete in the marketplace. Both spokesmen noted that while many parameters will be identical, the end products and their pricing will be finalized independently.
Data centers are a primary target for the products. Equipment in these centers is rapidly evolving to deliver higher density, higher speeds and richer virtualization models. High-performance, high-speed connectors and cable assemblies must support the system data requirements of new data storage, servers, switches, routers and other applications.
Connectivity products need to offer high-speed electrical performance, which in turn requires sophisticated connector and cable assembly designs with advanced features for high-speed signaling, EMI containment and thermal efficiencies.
The Molex and TE alliance aims to produce connectors and cable assemblies that meet current and future requirements. The agreement is intended to offer increased product availability to customers and reduce the risk of new technology adoption by providing customers with a choice of independent suppliers with interoperable products.