Point2 ramps volume deployment of 400G active electrical cables with help from Foxconn

Aug. 17, 2021
Collaboration with Foxconn Interconnect Technology (FIT) aims to answer 400G demand from data centers and High-Performance Computing (HPC) sites.

Point2 Technology, a provider low-power connectivity products for cloud and 5G infrastructure, and Foxconn Interconnect Technology (FIT), a specialist in connectivity technologies geard for data center, mobile, computing and IoT environments, have announced expanded production of Point2’s Active Electrical Cable (AEC) product line. The freshly offered AEC solution reflects increased demand for the company’s first 400GBASE-SR4 AEC based on its C-Tube technology and a proprietary PAM4 SoC, said Point2 in a statement.

“When Point2 announced the PT-QD20132 last month, we expected it would be readily adopted,” explained Sean Park, CEO of Point2 Technology. He continued, “Interest has actually been much greater, and for us to accommodate the demand from cloud and enterprise customers—Point2 was encouraged by our customers to team up with market leaders, such as Foxconn Interconnect Technology, to accelerate volume deployments. This demonstrates our ability to quickly and smoothly meet the very high volume demand for AECs with high quality, innovative and cost effective solutions. We believe this is because AECs have advantages over passive direct attach copper (DAC) and active optical cable (AOC) in short-reach applications. For example, they offer up to five times the reach in applications such as Base-SR4 400G, using about 80% less cable, with a 50% reduction in size, and 75% less power consumption than optical fiber cables,” Park concluded.

Related: Lower power 400G active electrical cables boost reach for data centers, HPC

Point2 says its partnership with FIT demonstrates the parties' ability to offer "a low cost, high-performance alternative to expensive AOCs and performance-limited DACs to proliferate 400G disaggregated chassis configurations at hyperscalers and service providers." Further, the partners note they will be able to get the expanded product offering to production more quickly because of Point2’s comprehensive reference design including the “paddle board” PCB, software and built-in self-test capabilities ideal for high quality volume manufacturing.

As contended by Point2:

Unlike other AEC Ethernet solutions that do not include self-test capability, the PT-QD20132 has an integrated processor that provides access to Digital Diagnostic Monitoring (DMM) via the 2-wire QSFP management interface. This enables eye monitoring, PRBS pattern generation and checking, user-defined pattern generation, DC offset and phase calibration, eye and equalizer calibration, and loss of signal detection, without the need for external circuits. In addition, customization firmware can be downloaded to the PT-QD20132 to satisfy the needs of specific applications.


The hot-pluggable PT-QD20132 accepts eight lanes of 53.125 Gb/s PAM4-modulated signals in each direction over a length of 7 m for an aggregated data rate of 425 Gb/s, and bit error rate performance is 10-8 or less. It easily replaced existing AOC assemblies because it has the same standard QSFP56-DD form factor, so it can replace bulky 400G QSFP56 DAC copper cables as well. The PT-QD20132 consumes just 4.5 W per cable end at 3.3 VDC and has a bend radius is 3 cm.

The company adds that the PAM4 SoC in the PT-QD20132 has embedded clock and data recovery (CDR) functionality and employs low-power, high-performance digital signal processing to compensate for the effects of intersymbol interference. Additionally, a unique feature of the PT-QD20132 as cited by Point2 is its self-test capability, enabled by an integrated MCU that provides access to Digital Diagnostic Monitoring (DMM) via a two-wire QSFP management interface. These capabilities allow features such as eye monitoring, PRBS pattern generation and checking, user-defined pattern generation, DC offset and phase calibration, eye and equalizer calibration, and loss of signal detection, without the need for external circuits. In addition, customization firmware can be downloaded to the PT-QD20132 to satisfy the needs of specific applications.

The PT-QD20132 is available in lengths of 3, 5, and 7 m terminated in 76-pin edge connectors. It is sampling currently and expected to be in production by Q2 2022. Module manufacturers are encouraged to contact Point2 Technology for information about integrating the company’s PAM4 SoC into their products.

Foxconn Interconnect Technology (FIT) and Point2 will be demonstrating its low-power 400G Active Electrical Cable (AEC) SoC and reference design at Designcon at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center, August 16-18, 2021. Learn more at www.fit-foxconn.com and www.point2tech.com.

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