Category Archives: Active Optical Cable

What Makes 40G Active Optical Cable So Popular?

40G active optical cable (AOC) is a high performance, low power consumption, long reach interconnect solution supporting 40G Ethernet, fiber channel and PCIE. It is widely used in many fields as well as promoting the traditional data center to step into optical interconnection. Compared to 40G copper direct attach cables and 40GBASE QSFP+ optics, what makes 40G AOC so popular?

What Is 40G AOC?

40G AOC, is a type of active optical cable for 40GbE applications that is terminated with 40GBASE QSFP+ transceiver on one end while on the other end, it can be terminated with QSFP+ connector, SFP+ connector, or LC/SC/FC/ST connector. Active optical cable uses electrical-to-optical conversion on the cable ends to improve speed and distance performance of the cable without sacrificing compatibility with standard electrical interfaces. QSFP+ AOC integrates four data lanes in each direction with 40Gbps aggregate bandwidth. Each lane can operate at 10Gbps with lengths ranging from one to 100m. It is compliant with the QSFP MSA and IEEE P802.3ba. The following picture shows the structure of an active optical cable and three different kinds of QSFP+ AOC.


Advantages of 40G AOC

40G AOCs have great advantages over 40G copper DACs and 40GBASE QSFP+ optics. 40G AOCs cost lower than SR4 modules and do not need to use with extra fiber patch cables. In particular, 40G breakout AOCs, such as 40GBASE QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ or 40GBASE QSFP+ to 8xLC AOCs are cost-effective solutions to achieve 40G migration. Additionally, using AOCs, there are no cleanliness issues in optical connector and there is no need to do termination plug and test when troubleshooting, which can help user save more time and money. 40G AOCs achieve longer reach, have lower weight and tighter bend radius, which enables simpler cable management and the thinner cables allows better airflow for cooling. Besides, AOCs have better consistency and repeatability cabling performance. With the integration and sealed design, AOCs can avoid the influence of environment and vibration. Additionally, for troubleshooting, AOCs are more easier to manage. Because users do not need to do a seires of termination plug and test on-site as they do when using SR4 modules and patch cables.

Applications of 40G AOC

40G AOC is commonly used for short-range multi-lane data communication and interconnect applications, for it provides light weight, high performance, low power consumption, low interconnection loss, EMI immunity and flexibility. QSFP AOC supports InfiniBand QDR/DDR/SDR, Ethernet (10 and 40Gbps), Fibre Channel (8 and 10 Gbps), SAS and other protocol applications. AOCs are highly recommended to use in data center interconnection.

The market of active optical cables keeps growing and has a broad prospect. Fiberstore AOCs achieve high data rates over long reaches which provide solutions for high-performance computing and storage applications. We offer all kinds of QSFP+ cable and 40G QSFP products with high performance and quality guaranteed.

Active Optical Cable for High-speed Transmission

There is no question that we live in a high-speed world. Active optical cable (AOC), especially parallel multi-lane cables using QSFP+ modules, is one of the most important devices used by high-speed interconnects, such as InfiniBand, and accurate cable testing is necessary to ensure reliable data transmissions and interoperability. What do active optical cables specifically bring to the table and why are they the way to go? Here is some detailed information about active optical cables.

What Is Active Optical Cable?

What is active optical cable? Let’s start with the basic definition that you would stumble upon if you happen to plug the term into a search engine: A specialized optical cable that uses electrical-to-optical conversion on the cable ends to improve speed and distance performance of the cable without sacrificing compatibility with standard electrical interfaces. A picture of Cisco QSFP-4X10G-AOC1M QSFP+ to 4SFP+ AOC is shown below.


Advantages of Active Optical Cables

There are a number of reasons users are jumping to active optical cables. Primarily, these cables offer both higher bandwidth and a longer reach with a better footprint than current copper cables. Active optical cables provide lighter weight, smaller size, EMI immunity, lower interconnection loss, and reduced power requirements. Five meters of copper cabling weighs in at roughly a kilo. Ten meters of AOC weighs less than 150g. That weight difference means significantly less chance of damage to switch ports, less maintenance and better server utilization. Lighter and thinner cables are also easier to manage, require less space, and are easier to maintain.

Secondly, a key difference between copper, whether passive or active, and active optical is in bit error rates over distance. Beyond five meters, passive copper begins to suffer excessive bit error rates. Active copper improves range to around 15 meters, for roughly the same cost as active optical cable. Active optical cable for its part can operate reliably up to 100 meters, while the latest AOC products are extending their reach to 1km.

Thirdly, in comparison with transceiver products, active optical cables have the advantage of much greater simplicity, and potentially of reliability, as they are factory terminated, and there is no risk of mis-matching polarities, dirt entering the assemblies, or different manufacturers’ tolerance mismatching.

Applications of Active Optical Cables

Industry-leading active optical cables can achieve 40Gbps data rates over long reaches up to 10km, using a fraction of the power while providing streamlined installation. Low-power AOC integrated cable solutions provide less expensive, reliable transport for aggregated data rates up to 40Gbps. The active optical cables offer customers the flexibility of traditional optical modules by interfacing to systems via a standard QSFP MSA connector. QSFP+ to MPO optical cables allow an easy connection to separately installed single-mode fiber through the attached MPO connectors. Both product versions are electrically compliant with the QSFP+ interface InfiniBand, SDR (single data rate), DDR (double data rate), QDR (quad data rate), Ethernet (10 and 40Gbps), Fibre Channel (8 and 10Gbps), SAS (6Gbps) and other protocol applications. QSFP+ AOC can be used as a direct replacement for traditional copper cables with the added benefits of a lighter weight and smaller diameter solution for cable lengths from 1m to 100m. It can also be used to replace a pair of transceivers proving equivalent performance at a lower price.

Fiberstore is a professional manufacturer and supplier, which offers a large amount of cables and transceivers for your 40GbE applications. Fiberstore provides a large variety of active optical cables branded by major brands, like Cisco, HP, Juniper, Brocade and Finisar. For example, Juniper JNP-QSFP-DAC-10MA QSFP+ to QSFP+ AOC, and Finisar FCBG110SD1C03 SFP+ to SFP+ AOC, they both are suitable for very short distances and guaranteed with a limited lifetime warranty.