W.L. Gore & Associates Inc. has developed a 10 meter SFP+ copper cable assembly that is fully compliant with the SFF-8431 Revision 4.1 specification. Gore’s SFP+ (Small Form-factor Pluggable) offering can go 3 to 5 meters longer than other passive options and provides a lower cost alternative to power-consuming and heat-generating SFP+ transceiver modules. In comprehensive internal testing, Gore is the only cable assembly vendor who has demonstrated this use length while still complying with the SFF specification for 10 Gigabits/second (10 GbE, 10 FCoe).

Through the use of patented GORE™ EYE-OPENER+® Conductor Technology and an extremely low loss expanded PTFE cable dielectric, Gore is able to balance the dWDP (waveform distortion penalty) and VMA loss (voltage modulation amplitude) parameters to achieve results within the specification limits set forth by the SFF-8431 committee. Gore has demonstrated typical values for VMA loss of 3.95 dBe and a dWDP of 5.60 dBe. The SFF-8431 specification calls out maximum limits of 4.40 and 6.75, respectively.

Gore’s proprietary expanded PTFE is branded as GORE-TEX® in the fabrics market.

Russ Hornung, Product Manager at Gore, comments, “We continue to meet the challenges of the industry and set the benchmark for performance. Quite frankly, we utilize better processes and materials in both our cable and our connector printed circuit boards. Combined with our unique technologies, this allows us to offer a product that is more economical, more efficient, and also more robust than fiber optic transceivers for the critical 10 meter use length for rack-to-rack installations. Additional operational cost savings are realized with this product since it doesn’t generate the heat of optical transceivers.”

Chris Ericksen, Application Engineer at Gore, adds, “Our unique material set allows us to develop a product that further extends the useful length of passive copper. We see a market that seems to struggle to achieve 5 to 7 meter use lengths reliably. The SFF specification was written around the best conventional 8.5 meter cable that the committee identified as being interoperable. They measured the performance and then added margin. Thus, the VMA and dWDP values reflect a maximum 7 meter for a good cable, or something less for a marginal cable. The fact that we can go another 40 percent is quite remarkable and is a testament to our superior materials and processes.”

Since August 2008, Gore has offered both 7 and 8 meter SFP+ passive cables with significant performance margins. The addition of low-profile 2.10 mm cable in January 2009 and now the passive 10 meter cable round out a highly valued platform for Gore.