First Vertical Line Card platform compatible connectors

First Vertical Line Card platform compatible connectors

New Products |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

Yamaichi Electronics has developed OSFP-VLC, a vertical version of the Octal Small Form Factor Pluggable connector (OSFP) that is compatible with the Vertical Line Card (VLC) platform that was presented by Nubis Communications at ECOC 2022 in Basel, Switzerland. The OSFP-VLC connectors will debut at DesignCon 2023 in Santa Clara, California.

VLC is an architecture that was recently proposed to the industry. It allows higher transmission speed with higher density by a vertical line card which is mounting vertical I/O connectors and ASIC side by side to shorten the signal trace distance within 3- to 4-inches, all while taking advantage of the existing mature technology (module, board assembly process and signal transmission technology) in the market.

As the PCB line length can be shortened in comparison to the conventional Horizontal Line Card (HLC), 112G transmission can be achieved with current cost. In addition, vertical line card placement will decrease the number of necessary boards, as well as make room for a cooling space which leads to much lower power consumption and increased cooling efficiency.

As 5G technology, big data, AI and IoT become more prevalent, fast and reliable connection to process extremely large amount of data in the cloud is becoming increasingly important. On the other hand, cost reduction is becoming crucial for data centres since maintaining physical space as well as air conditioning and power supply for the system is a huge burden.

On top of all this, increasing numbers of data centres and the power consumption that follows have a concerning impact to the environment.

While there have been several proposals from the industry to realise higher transmission speed and density to upgrade data centre devices from 112G to 224G, all proposals required new technology which leads to an increased production cost.

Given the situation above, Yamaichi Electronics and Nubis Communications have decided to provide a new approach to the market based on VLC architecture — a new architecture that places OSFP connectors vertical to the line card, allowing existing mature technology (module, mounting and signal transmission technology) to achieve higher signal density and speed while maintaining low cost, as well as highly efficient cooling structure for lower power consumption.

Advantages include:

  1. Shortened trace length to ASIC allows for a higher data transmission speed with existing technology only;
  2. Placing the line cards vertically creates room within the system which allows implementing a highly efficient cooling structure;
  3. Lower power consumption by highly efficient cooling system;
  4. Lower cost by eliminating cables and needing fewer boards;
  5. Can utilise other I/O interface types.

Target applications for the VLC compatible connectors include servers, routers and switches for data centres; optical transceivers; and supercomputers.

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