Abstract

As communication data rates increase, the maximum propagation distance in copper cables decreases. This trend is driving the use of fiber-optic links at shorter and shorter distances. Now, well established in the telecom and datacom market segments, optical fiber is poised to find applications in the consumer market segment. Consumer protocols such as USB and Thunderbolt are achieving data rates of 10 Gb/s and higher, and as a result, the reach of traditional copper interconnects becomes limited to a few meters. Optics can remove the distance limitation and enable longer-reach applications. However, to be successful in the consumer market, optical cables need to be robust-–both optically and mechanically—and low cost. In this paper, we describe how the various elements of the optical link, including the fiber, the cable, and the coupling optics, can be engineered to work together on a system level in order to meet those requirements.

© 2015 IEEE

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