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3M joins active optical cable sector

05 Mar 2013

Economical cable assembly designed for SFP+ applications of up to 100 meters.

Developers of high-performance computing systems, data centers and other ultra-high-throughput networks now have a new interconnect option for SFP+ applications, an enhanced version of the small form factor pluggable transceiver that supports data rates up to 10 Gbit/s.

Austin, Texas-based 3M has launched its low-power, high-speed active optical cable (AOC) assembly for SFP+ applications. The direct-attach, bi-directional AOC assembly supports speeds of more than 10 Gbit/s per channel over OM 2+ bend-insensitive fiber. It is designed to connect high-performance switches, servers and storage.

Jeff Bullion, marketing manager, of 3M’s Electronic Solutions Division, commented, “Our AOC architecture provides a low-cost solution by eliminating components, lowering the risk of optical contamination and reducing the power required to implement an active SFP+ solution. We are offering network designers and installers a cost-effective, lower-power, reliable single solution for distances up to 100 meters.”

Low power and flexible

The AOC assembly consumes less power than conventional SFP+ interconnect solutions – such as active copper cable assemblies or active optical pluggable transceivers. The light-engine technology in the 3M AOC assembly allows the cable assembly to operate typically at 240mW per end, helping to save energy costs and minimize heat dissipation. The cable assembly incorporates 850nm VCSEL technology, which has a proven track record of high reliability, the company claims.

Bullion adds, “The 3M architecture for SFP+ applications eliminates the traditional TOSA/ROSA found in pluggable transceivers and allows for direct attachment of the fiber to the light engine. It provides a lower cost solution by eliminating components, lowering the risk of optical contamination and reducing the power required to implement an active SFP+ solution.”

The AOC assembly is lighter and more routable than conventional passive and active copper solutions, allowing greater airflow and occupying less space. The optical interface is integrated into the cable assembly, lowering power use and virtually eliminating the risk of optical contamination associated with pluggable transceiver modules.

It is compliant with the SFF-8431 Rev4.1 SFP+ specification and supports the 10GB Ethernet and 4GFC and 8GFC Fibre Channel specifications. The assembly also meets FCC Class B, CE Emissions and Immunity requirements and are RoHS 2011/65/EU compliant.

About the Author

Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org.

HÜBNER PhotonicsCHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.Iridian Spectral TechnologiesBerkeley Nucleonics CorporationLASEROPTIK GmbHFirst Light ImagingMad City Labs, Inc.
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