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Active Optical Cable (AOC) Overview

AOC cable assemblies have become very popular especially within data center applications in the last few years. This article provides an overview of AOC cables.


What is an AOC?


Active optical cable (AOC) can be defined as an optical fiber jumper cable terminated with optical transceivers on both ends. It uses electrical-to-optical conversion on the cable ends to improve speed and distance performance of the cable without sacrificing compatibility with standard electrical interfaces.



AOC Features and Advantages


Compared to less expensive DAC cables, AOCs offer:

  • Longer reach capability than DAC which has 3-7 meter limits

  • 3-100 meter multi-mode technology

  • Thinner, lighter, and tighter bend radius cables enabling more flexible configurations, increased airflow for cooling, and easier system maintenance

Compared to more expensive optical transceivers, AOCs offer:

  • Lower priced solution than two optical transceivers and fiber based links

  • Lower power consumption

  • Lower operational and maintenance cost


AOC Cables in the Data Center


AOC cables have been widely deployed in data centers over the last few years as they offer many advantages compared to copper based interconnects and also significant cost savings, especially at scale, compared to standard optical transceivers.


There are two main scenarios for data center applications using AOC:

  1. One AOC cable can be used to connect two switches directly

  2. The breakout AOC cable can offer a cost-effective way to connect within racks and across adjacent racks.


GigOptics - Your Supplier for AOC Cables

At Gigoptics, we offer a wide range of AOC cables from 10G to 100G with customizable lengths; all tested to ensure quality and reliability. For more information, contact us at info@gigoptics.com.

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