Active optical cables, or AOC as they are commonly called, are a cabling technology used for interconnect in the data centre.

AOC accept the same electrical inputs as a traditional copper cable, but instead are comprised of either single mode or multi-mode fibre with transceivers integrated at each end plus a control chip (the active element) to convert electrical signals into optical signals that can be carried over the optical fibre.

 

What are the advantages of AOC over DAC?

AOC are popular because they have overcome the limitations associated with Direct Attach Cables (DAC) and passive cabling:

  • AOC weigh less than DAC; copper cables are bulky, heavy and therefore more difficult to manage
  • AOC have better performance than DAC; electromagnetic interference (EMI) ultimately limits the performance of copper cables
  • AOC consume less power than DAC
  • AOC have less interconnection loss, compared to DAC

 

The main types of AOC that TXO Optics provide are as follows:

  • 10G SFP+ to SFP+ AOC
  • 40G QSFP+ to 4 x SFP+ AOC
  • 40G QSFP+ to QSFP+ AOC
  • 40G QSFP+ to 8 x LC AOC

 

In the case of a typical 40 Gb/s QSFP+ AOC the following protocols are supported:

  • Multi-rate (1Gb/s to 10 Gb/s)
  • 4 channel full duplex AOC transceiver
  • InfiniBand (registered trademark of InfiniBand)
  • Ethernet 10G, 40G

 

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