What is an Active Optical Cable, and What Should You Know About It?

Technology - 2022-12-08 18:31:46

An active optical cable, or AOC, is an optical fiber cable that has been enhanced with active electronics. AOCs are used in a variety of applications, including data centers, 40/100 Gigabit Ethernet, and InfiniBand. They offer a number of advantages over traditional optical fiber cables, including longer lengths and higher speeds. If you’re looking for a high-performance cable solution, an AOC may be the right choice for you. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about AOCs, including their benefits and applications.

What is an Active Optical Cable?

An Active Optical Cable (AOC) is an optical cable that contains an active electronics component to boost or regenerate the signal. AOCs are used in applications where high data rates and long reach are required, such as in data centers and supercomputing clusters.

AOCs typically use multimode fiber optic cable, which can carry multiple signals at different wavelengths on the same fiber. The active electronics component in an AOC amplifies the signal so that it can travel longer distances with less attenuation.

AOCs are available in a variety of lengths and data rate capacities. For example, a 10 Gigabit Ethernet AOC can support data transfer speeds up to 10 Gbps over distances up to 300 meters.

What are the Benefits of Active Optical Cables?

Using an active optical cable (AOC) to connect LAN hardware can offer several advantages over using traditional copper cabling. AOCs are made with optical fiber, which is not as susceptible to electromagnetic interference (EMI) as copper cables. This can provide a more reliable connection, especially in industrial environments where there is a lot of EMI present.

AOCs also have much higher bandwidth than copper cables, which means they can support faster data transfer speeds. They are also much thinner and lighter than copper cables, making them easier to install and route through tight spaces. And because they don’t conduct electricity, they are safer to use in areas where there is a risk of electrical shock.
What are the Disadvantages of Active Optical Cables?

The main disadvantage of using AOCs is that they are more expensive than copper cables. They also require special equipment for termination and connection, which can add to the overall cost. And because they are made with optical fiber, they are more fragile than copper cables and can be damaged by bending or crushing.

What are the Drawbacks of Active Optical Cables?

Active optical cables come with a few potential drawbacks. First, they tend to be more expensive than their traditional counterparts. This is because the technology required to produce them is still relatively new and not as widely available. Additionally, active optical cables are often thicker and more cumbersome than traditional options, making them less ideal for tight spaces. Finally, active optical cables typically have shorter lifespans than other types of cable, meaning they may need to be replaced more frequently.

How to Choose the Right Active Optical Cable for Your Needs

If you're looking for an active optical cable (AOC) for your business or home office, there are a few things you'll need to consider before making your purchase. Here's what you should know about choosing the right AOC for your needs:

First, consider the type of connection you need. There are two main types of AOCs: single-mode and multi-mode. Single-mode cables are typically used for longer-distance applications, while multi-mode cables are better suited for shorter distances.

Next, think about the speed of the connection you need. AOCs are available in a variety of speeds, from 1Gbps to 100Gbps. Make sure to choose a cable that can support the speed of your network.

Finally, consider the length of the cable you need. AOCs are available in lengths ranging from 1 meter to 100 meters. Choose a length that will best fit your application.

With these factors in mind, you'll be able to choose the right AOC for your needs.

The Different Types of Active Optical Cables

In order to better understand what an active optical cable is, it is first important to know the different types of active optical cables. There are three main types of active optical cables: single-mode, multimode, and plastic optical fiber.

Single-mode active optical cables are designed for long-distance data transmission. They are typically used in high bandwidth applications such as 10 Gigabit Ethernet or Fibre Channel. Single-mode cables use a small core diameter which allows only one mode of light to propagate. This results in less signal attenuation and distortion, making them ideal for long-distance data transmission.

Multimode active optical cables are designed for shorter distance data transmission over relatively lower bandwidth applications such as 1 Gigabit Ethernet or InfiniBand QDR. Multimode cables have a larger core diameter which supports multiple modes of light propagation. This results in higher signal attenuation and distortion, making them more suitable for shorter-distance data transmission.

A plastic optical fiber (POF) is a type of multimode cable that uses glass or plastic fibers instead of traditional metal wires to transmit data. POF is well suited for short-range applications such as USB or Firewire due to its flexibility and lower costs.


If you are in the market for a new cable, you may have come across the term “active optical cable” and wondered what it is. An active optical cable is a type of fiber optic cable that uses an electrical signal to send data. Active optical cables are typically used in high-speed applications where low latency is important, such as in Ethernet or InfiniBand networks. While they are more expensive than traditional passive optical cables, they offer several advantages, including higher bandwidth and longer distance support.

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