Avago Technologies has unveiled its first family of active optical cables.
The company has also developed an optical module for use in the active optical cables (AOCs). The new Atlas 75x optical engine reduces the power consumption and the cost, enabling the AOC to better compete with traditional direct-attach copper cables.
The AOC family comprises a 10Gbps single channel SFP+ and two QSFP+ cables: a 4x10Gbps QSFP+ and a QSFP+ to four SFP+s. There are also three 12-channel CXP products: 10-channel and 12-channel cables, each channel at 10Gbps; and a 12-channel version, each channel at 12.5Gbps. The 12-channel CXP product is typically used for proprietary applications where greater bandwidth is required.
The SFP+ and QSFP+ products have a reach of 20m whereas competing AOC products span up to 100m, but Avago says this isn’t an issue. “Some 99 percent of applications are 20m or less,” said Sharon Hall, product line manager for embedded optics at Avago Technologies.
The SFP+ and QSFP+ products use the new Atlas 75x optical engine, which reduces the power consumption by using a CMOS-based VCSEL driver instead of a silicon germanium one. The result is an SFP+ AOC with a power consumption of 270mW compared to 200mW for a passive direct-attach copper cable. However, the SFP+ AOC has a better bit error rate (1×10-15 vs. 1×10-12 ), a reach of up to 20m compared to the copper cable’s 7m and is only one quarter of the weight.
The CXP cables use Avago’s existing Atlas 77x (MicroPod) optical engine and have a reach of up to 100m.
Avago says samples of the AOCs are available now.
By Roy Rubenstein