Avago enters the active optical cable market

Created November 20, 2012
Technologies and Products

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
 
See Also: 

Press release:  New Avago Active Optical Cable Family Surpasses Copper, Lowers 10G Link Costs, Boosts HPC/Server Design Integration 

Roy Rubenstein

This article was written
by Roy Rubenstein

is the editor of gazettabyte.com and has been researching and writing about the telecom and semiconductor industries for over 20 years.