'Active cabling' reduces data center power consumption

May 2, 2007 -- Quellan's Lane Extender ICs embed in an ultra-small QSFP connector, enabling thinner, "active cable" interconnects for extended reach and reduced dependency on power-hungry optics.

May 2, 2007 -- Quellan Inc., a developer of analog noise cancellation integrated circuits (ICs), announced that it has expanded its series of Lane Extender ICs to enable a Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable (QSFP) active cable.

The company's QLx4000 Lane Extenders combine a sophisticated 4-channel equalizer with integrated higher layer functionality that ensures full compliance with the QSFP specification. The chip may also be used in line cards, switches, blade servers and chassis.

Quellan contends that combining the high density QSFP connector with its Q:Active chip enables much longer, thinner copper cabling, eliminating the need to convert to power-hungry fiber-optics. According to the company, the resultant "active cable" improves data center economics by reducing interconnect power by hundreds of kilowatts, while making room for thousands of additional server ports in the existing footprint.

The embeddable IC devices provide 4 channels of processing in a compact 4x7-mm package for easy integration in any cable shell, line card or backplane. Power dissipation is 240 mW; aggregate device bandwidth ranges from 10 Gbit/sec (4 x 2.5 Gbit/sec) to 34 Gbit/sec (4 x 8.5 Gbit/sec).

"Lower power consumption and greater density are the most important challenges our customers are facing," says Quellan's CEO, Tony Stelliga. "So we took the industry's smallest connector - QSFP - for a 33% increase in port density and inserted our analog technology to deliver a 300% reach extension over copper and an 80% power savings over fiber optics."

The QLx4300 and 4600 chips are now available for sampling with prices starting at under $2.00 per channel. The QLx4800 will be available for sampling in Q307.

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