Quellan, Gore collaborate on 'intelligent' data center cables

October 18, 2006 -- Quellan has integrated its "intelligent" analog ICs into Gore's Eye Opener cables to improve performance in large data center applications, including 10-Gigabit Ethernet.

October 18, 2006 -- In a collaboration with cable supplier W. L. Gore & Associates (Gore), Quellan recently announced that it has inserted its ultra-small, low power analog semiconductor technology into interconnects used by Gore's Eye-Opener line of cable to achieve "unsurpassed improvements" in areas such as reach, power consumption, latency, and airflow.

Quellan contends the improved connectors transform data center cable interconnects from passive, non-active devices to into "intelligent roadways" for use in the largest data centers. "What we focus on is improving the sensitivity of the receiver; we basically get rid of the noise and the impairments," explains Tony Stelliga, chairman and CEO of Quellan, Inc. "If you do that in the data center, you can extend the cable reach four times farther, making it run on cable gauge that's four times thinner, making room for a lot more airflow."

"The new intelligent cable assemblies will enable our data center customers to reach longer lengths, with significant cable size and weight reductions, without adding power or latency," adds Kris Mitchell, product specialist at Gore.

"It's simply an active cable solution," continues Stelliga. "The embedded chip is a few millimeters on a side and very, very low power - 60 mW per lane. The connector is really the package."

Currently available in CX4 format for use in 10-Gigabit Ethernet and Infiniband applications, the chip can also be embedded in SAS and PCI Express connectors, says Stelliga. "The chip doesn't care what the protocol is," he notes. "It's not a physical layer device, it's an analog device; as a result, it's protocol agnostic."

The device is designed to passively analyze data traffic in a cable while enhancing signal fidelity by removing noise and the impairment, enabling cable reach equivalent to "fatter" or longer cables. "10-Gig E, we're going from 5 to 10 meters, depending upon gauge, to 25 to 45 meters," reports Stelliga. "Double data rate Infiniband, we're getting almost 30 meters on 26 gauge, and almost 20 meters on 30 gauge."

"The trick here is that we've tuned our electronics to resonate with the characteristics of their dielectric," he concludes. "Gore's Eye Opener cable has the transfer function - a passive equalizer (EQ), forcing the currents to the outside of the cable. Compared to a standard cable they're already at a reasonable performance advantage, but if you add our technology that we've tuned specifically for their 30-gauge cable, you can see the huge benefit."

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