The term “Mating Cycles” refers to the number of a times a physical connector can “mate” or connect to it’s counterpart. Many connectors are designed to connect just a few times and for fibre optic connectors they are designed to be used up to 500 mating cycles.
Fibre Optics connectors are typically designed to have a lifetime 500-1000 Mating Cycles – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optical_fiber_connector and http://www.jae.com/productsfiberopticconnectors.htm.
That’s a lot less than I expected. And it applies to almost all connectors, SC, LH, ST, and even the ‘becoming popular’ MPO.
This makes me rethink the way I look at lab environments. Given that cables can wear out quickly, and GBIC’s, it might worth making it a yearly event to replace or rotate cables and GBICs from the lab areas.
Note: this also links with the Maximum Number of Insertions for GBICs article I wrote a while back.