HiWire Consortium publishes first AEC specification

Aug. 4, 2020
Active Electrical Cables (AECs) are a specific implementation of high speed Ethernet cables with embedded CDR and gearboxing functionality to provide a more robust and flexible solution than traditional DAC or optical solutions.

The HiWire Consortium, a non-profit corporation supporting the advancement and adoption of HiWire Active Electrical Cables (AECs), today announced the release of the HiWire Active Electrical Cable Specification Draft v0.1 to its consortium members.

Similar to Ethernet standards developed and shared by multiple organizations including the IEEE 802.3 committees and many multi-source agreements (MSAs), the HiWire AEC specification defines the standards of the underlying electrical and mechanical specifications, and contains options that may enable significantly different implementations of the same functions.

However, the HiWire Consortium notes the new spec also defines specific implementations of each AEC type based on real end user input, in order to enable the following capabilities:

  • Standardize the implementation of features within the existing IEEE 802.3 and MSA definitions to minimize the amount of adaptation the cable user needs to do in order to qualify different implementations of the same AEC.
  • Push end user qualification requirements upstream by defining a test specification and certified 3rd party test lab, so that users know that a HiWire qualified AEC meets their quality requirements.
  • Implement a monitoring process to ensure that HiWire AECs are manufactured and tested to a consistent level of quality that meets tier 1 end user requirements.

“We’re pleased to achieve this critical milestone with the release of the HiWire AEC v0.1 draft spec to our full membership,” said Sheng Huang, president of the HiWire Consortium. “We’ve been working closely with members and customers to define a spec that we believe will be widely adopted by the industry as the need to deploy 400G platforms that are reliable, low power, readily available, and support the cost budgets for next generation networks accelerates."

As stated by the consortium, "Active Electrical Cables (AECs) are a specific implementation of high speed Ethernet cables with embedded clock, data recovery (CDR) and gearboxing functionality in the AEC to provide a more robust and flexible solution than traditional direct attach copper (DAC) or optical solutions. These AECs provide a deterministic AUI to AUI interface to the hosts and manage all of the details of the line equalization using embedded CDR technology."

Non-members of the HiWire Consortium can preview the specification at the HiWire Consortium website at www.hiwire.org

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