3M launches new type of SFP+ active optical cable

Feb. 27, 2013
First-of-its-kind AOC is designed for reaches up to 100 meters.

Designers of high-performance computing systems, data centers and other ultra-high-throughput networks have a new interconnect option for SFP+ applications. 3M now offers its low-power, high-speed Active Optical Cable (AOC) Assembly for SFP+ Applications; the company claims that the product "is the first known cable assembly of its kind available on the market that is designed for reaches up to 100 meters."

The direct-attach, bi-directional AOC assembly supports speeds of more than 10 Gbps per channel over OM 2+ bend-insensitive fiber. It can be used to connect high-performance switches, servers and storage.

According to the company, the AOC assembly consumes less power than the typical SFP+ interconnect solutions -- 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, notes the company.

Related: Amphenol now offering 3M active optical cable assemblies

“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,” explains Jeff Bullion, marketing manager, 3M Electronic Solutions Division. “The 3M AOC architecture 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. Now, network designers and installers have a cost-effective, lower-power, highly reliable single solution for lengths up to 100 meters.”

The new AOC assembly eliminates many of the issues associated with other widely used interconnect options, contends 3M. According to the company, it is lighter and more routable than conventional passive and active copper solutions, allowing more air flow and consuming 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. The SFP+ AOC from 3M is compliant with the SFF-8431 Rev4.1 SFP+ specification and supports the 10GB Ethernet and 4GFC and 8GFC Fibre Channel specifications. The cable assembly is backed by 3M’s two-year active optical warranty and is available from 3M’s Authorized Channel partners and resellers, including Colfax Direct.

The cable assembly meets FCC Class B, CE Emissions and Immunity requirements and are *RoHS 2011/65/EU compliant. Learn more about 3M Active Optical Cables.

More: Study: Data centers still drive AOC 'niche' market

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