An Active Optical Cable (AOC) is an optical direct connection cable. AOC cables are used in high-speed data technology such as 10 Gigabit Ethernet or 40 Gigabit Ethernet and are the optical alternative to the copper-based direct connection cable. They are suitable for transceiver modules with copper interfaces such as 10GBase-CX4 or 40GBase-CR4 and are plugged directly into the ports for the direct connection cables.
AOC cables have a much longer range compared to copper cables, they are more flexible and lighter. In their connectors, they contain transceiver modules with E/O converters and O/E converters that convert the electrical signal into an optical one and vice versa. The signals are transmitted via single- mode fibers or multimode fibers and converted back into an electrical signal at the end of the line. The bridgeable distance is 100 m at a data rate of 10 Gbit/s and the bit error rate is above '10^-15'. Depending on the design, AOC cables for QSFP modules consist of up to four lanes over which the signals can be transmitted full duplex. For CXP modules, 12 transmit and 12 receive channels are transmitted over one AOC cable.
Active Optical Cables are used in 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Infiniband, 40 Gigabit Ethernet, in backplanes of blade servers, core switches and routers.