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Active Optical Cable Assembly For QSFP+ To SFP+ Applications Now Available From 3M

A fiber fanout cable assembly supporting the interoperability of 40 Gigabit Ethernet (40 GbE) switch ports and 10 GbE server ports is now available from the 3M Electronic Solutions Division. The first-of-its-kind, 3M Active Optical Cable (AOC) Assembly for QSFP+ to SFP+ Applications incorporates industry-leading VCSEL and 3M light-engine technologies to deliver exceptional cost and performance value for data centers and high-performance computing (HPC) clusters.

The hybrid AOC assembly transitions a single QSFP+ port with four parallel channels to four individual, single-channel SFP+ ports in top-of-rack (ToR) applications and at distances up to 100 meters. The fanout cable assembly addresses a common data center and HPC problem in which QSFP+ switch ports are under-utilized. Because the 3M fanout assembly allows direct-attach transitions at a one-to-four QSFP+ to SFP+ ratio, more 40 GbE uplinks can be deployed.

“This new AOC fanout assembly from 3M helps simplify cable routing for 10 GbE aggregation and 40 GbE top-of-rack applications while allowing optimization of the limited QSFP+ uplinks found on today’s network switches,” said Jeff Bullion, marketing manager, System and Components Business, 3M Electronic Solutions Division. “It provides a true plug-and-play, low-cost, low-power and low-latency alternative to the pluggable modules and patch cords commonly used today.”

With no optical splices, the AOC Assembly for QSFP+ to SFP+ Applications from 3M provides seamless, end-to-end connectivity over bend-insensitive, multimode fiber. The number of connections is cut in half compared to traditional module solutions. Fewer connection points can improve reliability, reduce optical loss and latency, and lower power consumption.

The cable assembly supports cost efficiency in a number of ways. Each of the cable assembly’s parallel channels is synchronized to provide interoperability between the 40 GbE and 10 GbE interfaces, which limits the amount of optical debugging and tuning required, which can speed up installation. The lightweight, thin fiber assembly makes cable routing and dress-out easier while allowing better air flow in the rack, potentially reducing cooling costs. In addition, one product replaces three (two types of transceivers and a fiber cable), lowering cost and reducing purchasing and inventory management complexity.

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