The growth in high-speed serial channel data rates has no end in sight. 28 Gbps design starts abound across the industry. 56 Gbps PAM-4 solutions are coming down the road, whether silicon, interconnect or high-speed copper and optical cables.
On the optical front, the front-panel optical modules are standardized across a never-ending number of MSAs. SFP. SFP+. QSFP. QSDP+. QSFP-DD. OSFP. The list goes on.
Standardized On-Board Optical Modules
What about mid-board or on-board optical modules? This technology continues to grow in acceptance. SI improves dramatically in the optical domain, so this drives the conversion from the electrical domain to the optical domain as close to the signal source as possible.
Any number of the mid-board optical engines have been introduced to the market. One solution growing strong in this space is Samtec’s FireFly™ Micro Flyover System™. FireFly™ gives designers the flexibility of using optical and copper interconnects interchangeably with the same connector system.
FireFly™and competing solutions redefine system performance and architecture for many industries. However, the ad-hoc approach to on-board optical module designs presents a hurdle to widespread adoption of this game-changing technology.
The Consortium for On-Board Optics (COBO) launched in 2015 to start the process of developing standardized specifications for on-board or embedded optics. Samtec and other leading technology companies have collaborated on this new standard.
COBO announced today that it has adopted a two-piece surface mount connector system based on Samtec’s FireFly™ Micro Flyover System™ for the next generation of standardized on-board optical modules. As part of the new miniature footprint, the Power/Control connector from Samtec reduces the size of on-board optical modules while increasing port density in data center and HPC applications.
Additionally, the Samtec connector was selected as the proposal for the Power/Control connector for all low-speed signals on x8 and x16 lane full-duplex options of the COBO modules. The built-in positive latching capabilities of the new connector enhance ruggedness in on-board optical modules.
Learn more about COBO and FireFly™
Samtec will present additional details about their COBO contributions during OFC 2017 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, CA. Mr. Jignesh Shah will participate in the panel “On-Board Optics – Challenges, Discoveries and the Path Forward” Wednesday, March 22 from 10:15 – 11:45 PST in Expo Theater II. The panel will review the technical challenges facing on-board optical modules and discuss developing trends in data center networking.
For more information about FireFly™, please visit our landing page at www.samtec.com/firefly of download our FireFly™ Application Design Guide. For technical support and design assistance, please contact our optical specialists at firstname.lastname@example.org.