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Next-Generation Data Center: AOC or DAC? Active Optical Cables


The growing role of clouds in data communications of all kinds with the consequent growth of hyperscale data centers, small moves towards 400Gbps deployment. There are some debates about which one is optimal for the Next-Generation Data Center (NGDC)? AOC or DAC?


First, how well do you know the optimal high-speed optical solutions for NGDC?


  • Distance

  • Cost

  • Power consumption

  • Cable weight

  • Density

  • Latency

DAC


DAC, short for Direct Attach Cable, is used to connect one mobility access switch with another when forming a stack. DAC can be either Passive Copper Cable (PCC) or Active Copper Cable (ACC).


AOC


AOC, short for Active Optical Cable, is an alternative to optical transceivers. It eliminates the separable interface between the transceiver module and optical cable and offers a number of advantages over DAC. Here is a picture of AOC as following.


Gigalight 200G QSFP-DD AOC


AOC vs. DAC


  1. AOC features longer distance—DAC up to 15m; AOC up to 300m.

  2. DAC is cheaper than AOC.

  3. DAC features lower power consumption than AOC.

  4. AOC features lower cable weight than DAC.

  5. DAC and AOC offer the same density.

  6. AOC features lower latency than DAC.

Conclusion


As the development of optical communication technologies, it is said that the optics will replace copper in the future. Thought I don't think so, there is no doubt that AOC is becoming the mainstream solution for NGDC owing to its advantages. AOC will have a greater potential than DAC in the deployment of NGDC.


A few years ago, the largest data centers would never have bought Chinese AOCs fearing that they would be low quality. There are data center managers who worry about such things and are very rigid about specs when it comes to components such as AOCs. However, with the development of optical communication market in recent years, the whole AOC business is shifting to China. We expect that the differences between the U.S. and Chinese firms are eroding when it comes to quality. As one of the best Chinese firms, Gigalight is respectable in the AOC market. In 2019, Gigalight can offer 200Gbps and even 400Gbps AOCs.


Source: Next-Generation Data Center: AOC or DAC?



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