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.

 

USB Active Optical Cables (AOC)

May 16, 2019 at 8:00 AM

 

USB has long been proven to be a dependable, flexible and simple-to-use interface that is a staple for a multitude of applications. Along the way, USB has adapted to offer a variety of formats to fit today’s technology needs. From power delivery to SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gen 2, USB has got you covered. Now the interface is taking things to another level with the introduction of USB 3.0 Active Optical Cables (AOC).

 

Active Optical Cable technology uses the same electrical inputs as traditional copper cabling, but with optical fiber between connectors. With electrical-to-optical conversion on the cable ends, AOC provides faster speeds and distance performance while also maintaining compatibility with standard electrical interfaces. Building upon the features of AOC, USB 3.0 AOC is made to be compliant with SuperSpeed USB electrical specifications, allowing for easy plug-and-play use and continuous operation between existing USB 3.0 hosts, hubs and devices.

 

These USB cables have an ultra-thin profile and much longer reach than a standard USB cable. In fact, they can reach speeds of 2.2 Gbps at over 100 meters. This allows for USB 3.0 AOC cables to be used in new and different ways USB might not have been able to before, such as with security cameras, industrial and medical machine control systems and in high-def surveillance applications. These cables are capable of speeds up to 5 Gbps, depending on the length of the cable. They also boast low power consumption and minimal EMI/RFI since fiber optic technology is being used.

 

Though USB 3.0 AOC is not backwards compatible, it won’t support older USB standards, there are many other features that make it worthwhile. Overall, USB 3.0 Active Optical Cables can be a great option if you have an application requiring USB connectivity over a long distance that traditional USB cables cannot meet.

 

To help you with your next high-speed, long distance USB application, check out our USB 3.0 AOC cables

 

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