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Better Active Optical Cable Products are Finally Coming to Market

It just goes to show that if integrators complain long enough, somebody will answer the call with some kind of solution. Design improvements hopefully can rectify problematic issues that surface when you least expect them. 

HDMI long-distance transmission lines are pretty much at their highest demand right now with everybody and their brother trying to claim they have the best in the land. It means that these companies must be able to offer optical solutions that can reliably pass through a full 48G NRZ signal with the least amount of distortion, stellar dynamic range, and good signal-to-noise. Not an easy task, but at least the word is out, and products can improve. 

We may have hit the alarm button enough to announce to the world about all the active optical cable (AOC) design flaws identified over this past year. It received the attention of some electronic companies that design and build these optical modules used with AOC products. DPL Labs has been pounding this drum for a long time and finally, we are seeing some interest from these electronic firms. The inquiries represented firms that heard the call of not only DPL Labs articles and Direct Mail outreach publications but also from the integrators. 

So, what is a Module? It probably would make good sense to understand what a module is for those that may not be up to speed on this.  An electronic module typically refers to a self-contained unit or component within an electronic system that performs a specific function or set of functions. 

These modules can vary greatly in complexity and size, ranging from simple components like resistors and capacitors to more complex circuits or subsystems like microcontrollers, sensors, or communication modules.

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In the context of the discussion about AOC products, an electronic module refers to the optical modules used in the construction of AOC cables. These modules contain the necessary electronics to convert electrical signals into optical signals for transmission over fiber optic cables, and vice versa, to receive and convert optical signals back into electrical signals. The modules may include components such as transmitters, receivers, signal amplifiers, and control circuitry to ensure reliable transmission of data over long distances.

DPL Labs has been closely monitoring this movement, providing insights into the design and functionality of optical modules. By analyzing the circuitry and design choices made by engineers, we gain a deeper understanding of the capabilities and limitations of these modules. This unbiased examination allows for a more holistic approach to improving AOC devices, without being swayed by personal agendas or biases.

Each design tells a story about what the engineer or engineers had in mind when designing such a module. Is it a module designed to just be able to pass through lightning-speed data or is it a module that was designed to handle all the necessary AC and DC functions as well? 

Then there are those that throw everything but the kitchen sink into the design not even taking into consideration what goes on outside its optical transition environment with respect to its mating hardware. This one habit can be the most lethal poison for any AOC device.

Furthermore, the ability to conduct comprehensive testing at both hardware and software levels provides invaluable data for identifying potential issues and optimizing performance. This level of scrutiny and analysis can lead to significant advancements in the field of long-distance HDMI applications, benefiting integrators and end-users alike.

So, what did we find and are they on the right trajectory? We will continue this series next month with our findings along with any additional news on this subject matter. 

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