Optic Connectors in I/O Applications Grange-over-Sands
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Optic Connectors in I/O Applications
Optic Connectors Challenging Copper in I/O Applications By Aarkstore EnterpriseAuthor: Aarkstore Enterprise
Copper cables have historically been the primary media that allowed electronic systems to communicate. Copper cabling systems have evolved over the years to enable increasing bandwidth as system speeds increased. Cable constructions including coaxial, and shielded twisted pair along with advanced signaling devices have pushed the performance capabilities of copper Input/Output cables to multigigabit speeds. Prediction of copper bandwidth limitations has consistently proven inaccurate as designers find ways to enable copper links to satisfy their performance requirements. Copper cable assemblies are an established technology that permits easy repair in the field using common tools. A variety of industry standards define copper interfaces that enable equipment connectivity, an essential feature of many of today’s electronic products.
The elements of optic communication technology have been developing over a long period of time, but the ability to fabricate optic links became practical in the 1960’s. Copper cables have been in a continuous process of evolving to higher speed performance, while fibre was born with bandwidth capability far beyond the limitations of copper. Glass fibre was quickly adopted as the media of choice for long distance communication links that spanned the earth. Low cost, high bandwidth optic cables have enabled global telecom and Internet communications that have reshaped the world. In addition to exceptional bandwidth, fibre links offer excellent signal integrity, electrical isolation, noise immunity and the ability to transmit over long distances without the need for amplifiers or repeaters.
A primary impediment to the implementation of fibre is the fact that signals produced by electronic equipment must be converted to optic pulses before they can be transmitted over fibre cables. This has been an expensive process that could only be justified in long distance applications. Improvements in the performance of optic cables together with the introduction of lower cost electro-optic conversion devices have allowed fibre to become competitive in shorter reach applications.
Market demand for higher speed links is putting pressure on copper cables that must incorporate more exotic features to keep pace. Increasing data rates can limit the effective length of copper cable assemblies opening the door to optic alternatives. System designers now have the option of choosing optic or copper media in many I/O applications of less than 10 metres.
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