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19 November 2012

Avago launches family of 10GbE SFP+, 40GbE QSFP+ and 150G CXP AOCs

Avago Technologies has announced its new active optical cable (AOC) family, high-density SFP+ QSFP+ and CXP solutions for high-performance computing (HPC) and data-center applications. The firm says that the active optical cable assemblies use proprietary technology yielding a lower cost per 10G link than active copper cables. Combined with performance increases, lower weight and easier cable management, they enable high-data-throughput interconnects up to 100m.

Avago’s portfolio includes 10GbE SFP+, 40GbE QSFP+ and 150G CXP AOCs, collectively providing an alternative to copper cable while offering the benefits of optical fiber. The firm says that AOCs use a cabling technology that accepts the same electrical inputs as a traditional copper cable, but use optical fiber ‘between the connectors’ with electrical-to-optical conversion on the cable ends that improves speed and the link distance of the cables without sacrificing compatibility with standard electrical interfaces.

“Applying our proven design technology and volume manufacturing expertise is expanding access to a broader variety of previously copper-only market segments,” says Sharon Hall, product line manager for Avago fiber-optic products.

Driven by the ever-increasing need for more bandwidth and applications in cloud computing environments, AOCs are the newest solutions for communications within data centers, server farms, network switches, telecom switching centers and other high-performance embedded applications requiring high-speed data transfers. System applications include data aggregation, backplane communications, proprietary protocol data transfers, and other high-density/high-bandwidth applications.

The AOC market is forecasted to grow to just under $100m by 2015, according to market research firm LightCounting. “The main market continues to be in HPC or supercomputers with the InfiniBand protocol,” says Brad Smith, senior VP & industry analyst for data center interconnects at Lightcounting. “Over the last couple of years AOC adoption in data centers using the Ethernet protocol to connect switch layers together and also in telecom applications, interconnecting long-haul DWDM and routers in central offices, has grown.”

The SFP+ and QSFP+ AOC products are the first to be released using Avago’s new Atlas 75X embedded optical engine. This optical technology makes it possible to realize significantly higher performance and reach at a lower cost compared to copper cables, the firm says. The CXP AOC offerings use the proven Atlas 77X optical engines (also known as MicroPOD modules), which deliver all the performance, link distance and features such as DMI available in discrete transceiver solutions at a cost savings, it adds.

AOCs have advantages over direct attach copper (DAC) as used in previous generation applications, which cannot provide the features required by current performance-enhanced applications. The bit error rates (BER) for Avago’s AOCs are 10-15, compared with 10-12 for DAC, it is reckoned. Statistically, this translates to less than one bit error per day for the Avago AOC compared to a bit error every 1-2 minutes for a copper cable. Also, electro-magnetic interference (EMI) immunity is better than DAC, as the high-frequency EMI signal is confined within the pluggable modules while only the optical signal is transmitted along the cable. The reach of these AOCs is up to 20m for the SFP+ and QSFP+ versions, compared with DAC’s reach of slightly over 5m maximum at 10G. Additionally, compared with DAC, AOC has about a quarter of the weight and a smaller cable diameter, and offers a minimum cable bending radius of only 30mm (much better than DAC).

Product features are as follows:  

  • SFP+ AOCs with Atlas 75X Embedded Optical Engines have a cable length of up to 20m, typical power of 275mW per end (less than half that of SFP+ MSA transceivers), and suit 10 Gigabit Ethernet, 8 Gigabit Fibre Channel, and Fibre Channel Over Ethernet protocols.
  • QSFP+ AOCs with Atlas 75X Embedded Optical Engines have a cable length of up to 20m, typical power consumption of 1.1W per QSFP+ end, and suit 40 Gigabit Ethernet, Infiniband 40G-IB-QDR, 20G-IB-DDR, and 10G-IB-SDR (as well as a breakout version supporting high-density 10G Ethernet applications).
  • CXP AOCs with Atlas 77X MicroPOD Embedded Optical Engines (with 10.3125Gbps and 12.5Gbps versions up to 12 lanes) have a cable length of up to 100m, a full transceiver feature set (including DMI), and suit 100 Gigabit Ethernet, Infiniband QDRx12, PCIe Gen3, and proprietary protocols.

Samples of the Avago AOC cables are available now.

Tags: Avago AOC


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