Zarlink launches OEO cable assemblies for data center interconnects

FEBRUARY 21, 2007 -- ZLynx products are one-piece fiber-optic cable assemblies with integrated, industry-standard electrical terminations capable of 20-Gbit/sec transmission in both directions and 5-Gbit/sec duplex 4-channel data transmission, for distances up to 100 meters, say company representatives.

FEBRUARY 21, 2007 -- Zarlink Semiconductor (search for Zarlink Semiconductor) today introduced what it claims is the industry's first fully integrated electrical-optical-electrical (EOE) cable product for interconnecting enterprise data centers and high-performance computer clusters.

While standard copper cable assemblies strain to meet new speed and link length demands in data centres, Zarlink says its ZLynx fiber-optic cables with integrated electrical terminations provide installers and operators with advantages in terms of reach, weight, and flexibility.

Today, 10 Gbits/sec and above data transmission in data centers and high-performance computer clusters is often implemented using CX4 connectors terminating fat copper cable assemblies. The bulk, weight, inflexibility, and limited reach of multi-strand copper cable assemblies are increasingly a barrier to installation, maintenance, and expansion, say Zarlink representatives.

"ZLynx optical cables represent a revolutionary performance leap for data center operators," reports Dr. Marco Ghisoni, ZLynx product manager, Zarlink Optical Solutions. "ZLynx products drive interconnect reach 10 times further than copper, while eliminating weight, interference, and flexibility concerns as data centers expand. For the end-user, standardized port connectors means these performance advantages can be realized seamlessly and without any system, server, or network hardware upgrades," he adds.  

Zarlink's ZLynx products are one-piece fiber-optic cable assemblies with integrated, industry-standard electrical terminations capable of 20-Gbit/sec transmission in both directions and 5-Gbit/sec duplex 4-channel data transmission, for distances up to 100 meters. The standard connector, compact size, and robust latch mechanism allow ease-of-use with most equipment chassis, says the company. The optical cable uses 3.3-volt supplied directly from the electrical port connector. Typical power consumption is just 1 watt per connector.

"InfiniBand technology is now mainstream for networking high-performance computing clusters and storage," notes Lloyd Dickman, chief technology officer for InfiniBand Products, QLogic Computer Systems Group. "New technologies are needed to support both the increasing bandwidth requirements and the longer link distances needed for scaling clusters. ZLynx optical cables from Zarlink support 20-Gbit/sec InfiniBand bandwidth at distances up to 100 meters."

Currently sampling, Zarlink's ZLynx products target InfiniBand DDR (dual data rate) at 4- x 5-Gbits/sec per channel and 10-GbE XAUI at 4- x 3.125-Gbits/sec applications. Pre-production units are available, with general availability in Q2CY07. According to the company, this will be the first in the ZLynx family of optical cables available at cable lengths up to 100 meters and terminated with a number of high-speed electrical connectors.  Â
 
Zarlink will be demonstrating its ZLynx optical cable products in Booth #3659 at the Optical Fiber Communication (OFC) Conference in Anaheim, CA, March 27-29th.


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