An Inside (and Outside) Look at Fiber Active Optical Cables

September 5, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

We’ve talked about Active Optical Cables (AOC) and their ability to use the same electrical inputs as traditional cables, but with optical fibers between the connectors. They deliver faster speeds and distance performance compared to copper cables while maintaining compatibility with standard electrical interfaces. We’ve delved into their use in the realm of USB and the benefits they bring. Now, we’re going to take a closer look at fiber AOCs and all they have to offer.

 

AOCs are opto-electronic devices used in place of standard fiber optic transceivers due to ease of deployment and lower cost compared to using individual transceivers with separable fiber optic cable assemblies.  The basic concept of a fiber AOC is to embed active optical transceivers into the assembly, as opposed to using separate pluggable fiber optical transceivers and standard, connectorized fiber cables.

 

Mainly invented to replace copper cabling in data centers and high performance computing applications, AOCs and their list of benefits can make older technologies seem obsolete. They have longer reach, higher bandwidth handling capabilities and provide secure, reliable transmissions. AOCs also limit EMI/RFI and provide low bit-error rates. Plus, AOC assemblies are smaller and lighter than copper cables, making the datacenter physically easier to manage.

 

AOCs are ideal for short-range, multi-lane data communication and interconnect applications. These assemblies support a range of protocols including Ethernet, InfiniBand and Fibre Channel. They can be used rack-to-rack, on optical backplanes, for storage, hubs, routers, servers, switches and more.

 

With all of these benefits, AOC assemblies might seem too good to be true, but they’re real and we’ve got an extensive line available with same-day shipping, check them out here.

 

DisplayPort 2.0 - Just the Facts

August 22, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

HDMI might be the most popular connection standard for TVs and monitors, but DisplayPort comes in a close second place. This high quality alternative is similar to HDMI in many ways including smaller connectors, digital video, audio/video on one cable, high definition video, 3D capabilities, etc. It has most of the same features of HDMI, plus some capabilities that are important for the high-graphic demands of business applications. And now, DisplayPort is getting an upgrade to DisplayPort 2.0! Let’s look at the facts.

 

DisplayPort 2.0 is slated to launch next year with products incorporating the technology hitting the market in late 2020. This new iteration takes the connection standard into the next generation with triple the bandwidth compared to DisplayPort 1.4a. DisplayPort 2.0 will deliver faster refresh rates and be able to single stream higher resolution formats like 10K and 16K at 60Hz at up to 30 bits per pixel with HDR. For smaller formats, it will also be capable of multiple displays at higher resolutions including two 8K at 120 Hz with 30 bpp and HDR, or two 4K displays at 144 Hz at 24 bpp with no compression.

 

In addition to bandwidth and high-resolution upgrades, DisplayPort 2.0 has some other improvements including Panel Replay which reduces power requirements while enhancing how a display is refreshed. Display Stream Compression (DSC) will be standard and allows for extremely high refresh rates and high-resolution. Plus, a multi-stream transport feature will make for easier daisy chain displays.

 

When it comes to the connectors, DisplayPort 2.0 will be backwards compatible with previous versions. It can be used in “DP Alt Mode” using specific USB-C connectors, allowing for one cable to provide high-speed video & data with optimal performance. The physical interface layer of Thunderbolt 3 is also utilized in this new standard, which will be especially appealing with a merger between Thunderbolt 3 & USB 4 in the works.

 

When it comes to connectivity, HDMI might be the most widely recognized medium, but DisplayPort 2.0 is coming in hot with lots of features that make it a very attractive option. And luckily, L-com has a full line of DisplayPort cables for all of your needs.

 

Future-Proofing with Cat6a

August 8, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

There is no telling what technological breakthroughs await us in the future. But one thing no one wants, is to have to re-cable an entire network because the existing cabling can’t meet the speed and bandwidth needed to support future technology. Re-cabling consumes time, money and a lot of resources. So what is one to do to future-proof their cabling? For many, Cat6a is the answer.

 

Cat6a cables are high-tech cables with advanced performance standards for twisted pair cable systems that offer features surpassing other category cables. They offer more power, faster speeds, tighter twists, further distances, better shielding and greater assurance that they’ll be able to keep up with today’s technology and future advancements. Cat6a cables are able to support upcoming advances in technologies such as Power over Ethernet (PoE), bandwidth-intensive applications and data transfers up to 10 Gbps. With 23-gauge twisted pair, they can transmit those 10 Gbps speeds over distances of up to 100m. Cat6a cables also feature shielding to control interference and crosstalk, which improves performance and increases operational bandwidth. While the extra shielding might add bulk to the cabling, the benefits of Cat6a far outweigh the increased costs that go along with a heavier cable.

 

In addition to PoE, there is a long list of technology coming to market that will continue to increase the need for speed and power. For example, next generation Wave 2 Wi-Fi devices will require 4 Gbps speeds in the near future. Enterprise businesses upgrading to this technology will be able to count on Cat6a to provide the speeds needed. HDBaseT is another emerging technology that would require Cat6a capabilities to transmit full, high definition video, audio and data files over 100 meters. Plus, Cat6a cables can manage the data load needed to support IP convergence, which is beneficial to enterprise networking applications.

 

Overall, Cat6a might cost a bit more than Cat5e or Cat6, but investing in Cat6a now and its ability to keep up with the changing demands of new technology will save money in the long run. Check out our extensive selection of Cat6a cable assemblies.

 

All about GPONs (Gigiabit passive optical networks)

July 25, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

Gigabit Passive Optical Networks (GPONs) are popular forms of Passive Optical Networks (PONs). They are used for Internet access, digital TV and voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) in highly populated areas. They can also be used for Wi-Fi hotspots, cellular base stations and distributed antenna systems (DAS). If you’re not up-to-speed on the ins and outs of GPON, we’ve got the blog post for you. Read on to get all the details.

  

GPONs are point-to-multi-point networks that use optical cables. The stand-out characteristic for these networks is the use of passive splitters in the fiber distribution network, which allows a single feeding fiber from the provider’s central office to serve multiple homes and small businesses. GPONs deliver up to a 1:64 ratio on a single fiber, making them 95% more efficient than standard copper wire. Through the use of splitters, they also deliver a low cost solution for adding users, making them ideal for use in metropolitan areas. Additionally, GPONs support all Ethernet protocols, and for security they use the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).

 

To paint a general picture of how a GPON works, these networks are made up of Optical Line Terminals (OLT), an Optical Network Unit (ONU) and a splitter that will divide the signal when necessary. They use Optical Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) so that one fiber can be used for both downstream and upstream data. These networks can transmit Ethernet, Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) and ATM transactions. They are ideal for networks with multiple separated points or buildings. They allow the end user to consolidate multiple services into a single fiber network, providing 2.5 GB/s of downstream and 1.25 GB/s of upstream capabilities. GPONs also increase bandwidth while reducing costs and infrastructure, delivering a range of benefits for rapid, flexible, mass-market fiber deployments with the lowest cost possible.

 

The most recent GPON versions are 10-Gigabit iterations called XGPON, or 10G-PON. These support the increased demand for faster speeds and are able to handle an influx of high-definition data to support video and over-the-top (OTT) TV services. They have a maximum downstream rate of 10 GB/s and 2.5 GB/s for upstream transmissions while using the same fiber as standard GPON. Though not yet widely implemented, XPON delivers a promising way for service providers and customers to upgrade without deploying new infrastructure.

 

OM5 Fiber Inside Out

July 11, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

Multimode fiber cable has long been a versatile connectivity solution with high capability and reliability for local area networks and voice, video and data applications. With the introduction of OM5, wideband multimode fiber expanded its reach into data centers and connected buildings worldwide. Here, we’ll take a look at all the details of OM5, from the inside out.

 

The core size of OM5 is 50 µm, the same as OM2, OM3 and OM4. It is distinguished from other types of multimode fiber by its lime green jacket. Plus, OM5 has a clearly defined effective modal bandwidth (EMB) and fiber cable attenuation that performs across at least four low-cost wavelengths in the 840 nm to 953nm. It was created to provide optimal support of shortwave division multiplexing (SWDM) applications, which reduce the amount of fibers needed for high speed transmissions.

 

OM5 has all the capabilities of OM4 plus more, including the addition of bend tolerant characteristics. It has the ability to support four SWDM channels. Across the whole wavelength range, it can support 40GBASE-SR4, 100GBASE-SR4 Ethernet and 32G Fibre Chanel applications. OM5 cabling is backward compatible with OM3 and OM4 cabling at 850 nm and it supports all legacy applications.

 

Check out our extensive offering of fiber optic cables and products including our new line of OM5 fiber cables for high-speed data center applications.

 

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