New active optical cables for high-speed applications

Created July 25, 2019
Technologies and Products

L-com, an Infinite Electronics brand and a manufacturer of wired and wireless connectivity products, has introduced a new series of active optical cables (AOCs). These are designed to address high-speed datacentre and enterprise networking applications.

L-com’s new AOCs are hot swappable, pluggable cable assemblies that support high-speed Ethernet, InfiniBand and Fibre Channel connectivity (10 Gbits/s to100 Gbits/s). The manufacturer observes that AOCs are opto-electronic devices used in place of standard fibre optic transceivers due to ease of deployment and lower cost compared to using individual transceivers with separable fibre optic cable assemblies.

Although they use the same electrical interface as Direct-Attach Cables (DACs), AOCs utilise fibre optic cable instead of copper wiring so they are able to support distances up to 100 metres. Furthermore, DACs are limited by crosstalk since they utilise copper cabling, and generally cannot support distances over 10 metres.

“L-com’s new active optical cable line offers the widest variety of data rates supported, off-the-shelf lengths and same-day shipping since all of these new cables are in-stock,” commented Paul Hospodar, Product Manager.  “This is a key differentiator from our competitors, who either do not offer all the data rates we offer, or do not have product in-stock ready to ship the same day. Also, we do not require large MOQs; single cables can be ordered, which is another great benefit for our customers,”

The new AOCs are available off-the-shelf in lengths ranging from 1 metre to 100 metres (model dependent). Integrated transceiver types include SFP+, SFP28, QSFP+ and QSFP28, a range designed to support fast server-to-server, server-to-switch and server-to-router connectivity in enterprise networks and datacentres.

In other AOC news, a report available from Verified Market Research estimates that the global AOC market was valued at US$0.67 billion in 2017 and is projected to reach US$4.91 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 26.42% from 2018 to 2025.

Verified states that the factors that are driving the AOC  market include increased datacentre deployments  and  the increasing demand for bandwidth and reliability. Factors such as high initial cost of implementation, as well as the susceptibility of AOCs to physical damage, are restraining the overall market growth.
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This article was written
by John Williamson

John Williamson is a freelance telecommunications, IT and military communications journalist. He has also written for national and international media, and been a telecoms advisor to the World Bank.