November 20, 2008 -- Finisar Corp. has introduced its Quadwire, a 40- Gbit/sec optical link for data centers and high-performance computer clusters. The Quadwire is a parallel active optical cable that provides a 40-Gbit/sec aggregate link via four 10- Gbit/sec full-duplex channels. Based on the industry-standard QSFP form factor, the new cable utilizes fiber-optic technology to transmit parallel high-speed data over ribbon multimode fiber.
Finisar is demonstrating the new cable as part of the SCinet Network Infrastructure at Booth #2315 at the SuperComputing08 Conference, held this week in Austin, TX.
As InfiniBand supercomputing clusters move from double data rates (DDR) to quad data rates (QDR), existing copper cables present physical challenges to the system architecture. In addition to being heavy and bulky, these cables are limited to short distances as data integrity deteriorates over longer links. By contrast, Quadwire features a parallel 4 x 10-Gbit/sec optical bi-directional link, meeting the need for increased data rates in longer lengths (up to 100 meters) while offering a lighter weight option and much smaller bend radius, say Finisar representatives. In addition, Quadwire uses Finisar's vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL) array technology. The cable's small diameter supports large port count architectures, ultimately enabling simpler installations and fiber management.
"The physical challenge of connecting InfiniBand clusters with bulky copper cables has been difficult to manage even at DDR data rates of 20 Gbits/sec," reports Jag Bolaria, senior analyst at The Linley Group. "As the first QDR (40-Gbit/sec) InfiniBand switches and Host Channel Adapters (HCAs) begin to roll out, active optical cables, such as Quadwire, are emerging as the interconnect solutions to overcome limitations of copper."
"Active optical cables are quickly becoming the next-generation interconnects of choice for high-speed datacenter connectivity," contends Jan Meise, director of strategic marketing at Finisar Corp. "The introduction of Quadwire, our second optical cable
product, marks Finisar's entry into parallel connectivity, supporting leading-edge cluster technology with a superior alternative to copper cables."
Finisar says it is currently supplying samples of Quadwire active optical cable to customers.