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What is a DAC Cable?

Network cabling has changed dramatically over the years, driven by the need for higher speed fiber optic cables. Cat5e copper and 1000BASE-T have dominated data center interconnect applications for many years. However, SFP cables, a form of high-speed cable with pluggable connectors on both ends, are the new favorite for lower cost and lower power consumption. This direct connection line can be divided into DAC line and AOC line. DAC cables are the most basic form of high-speed direct-attach cables. So what is a DAC cable?

1. What is a DAC cable: Understanding DAC cables

What is a DAC cable, a DAC cable is a fixed high-speed copper cable assembly. It consists of a shielded twin-core copper cable with pluggable connectors on both ends, ranging in gauge from 24 to 30AWG: the longer the distance, the higher the AWG rating should be. It can be used to connect a switch to a router or server for short-distance transmission. Additionally, DAC cables typically come in several different categories: SFP+DAC, XFPDAC, QSFPDAC, etc.

Generally speaking, according to the structure, DAC cables can be divided into two types: passive DAC cables and active DAC cables. Passive DAC cables have no electrical components built into the cable assembly. Therefore, its minimum power consumption does not exceed 0.15w, and generally the short distance can reach 7m. Active DAC cables have signal amplification and equalizer built into the cable assembly. Therefore, it allows a slightly longer transmission distance up to 15m and ensures better transmission quality. And its price is higher, and it consumes more power at around 0.5-1w. 

An SFP28 DAC cable is a type of high-speed, direct-attach copper cable that is commonly used for short-distance data center connections, providing a cost-effective alternative to traditional optical transceivers.

2. What is a DAC cable: the advantages of a DAC cable

Knowing what is a DAC cable, what are the advantages of a DAC cable?

Lower power consumption: Compared with optical transceiver modules, DAC cables, especially passive copper cables, consume less power.

Lower price: DAC cables cost less because they do not require a patch panel or additional cables when connected to equipment as optical transceiver modules.

Easier Deployment: DAC cables have only one component to interconnect. However, to connect more devices, optical modules must match each other. Additionally, installers can conveniently save on DAC cables, eliminating the need to clean and inspect fibers before plugging them in.

A data center transceiver is a critical networking component that enables the transmission and reception of data between network devices in a data center environment.

3. What is a DAC cable: Where to use a DAC cable?

As a professional company dealing with China optical transceiver, we remind you that DAC cables used in various applications in data centers can extend the life of switch hardware without requiring changes to existing infrastructure. In general, this direct attach copper cable is suitable for the following applications: ToR/adjacent rack, both passive and active DAC cables are suitable for shorter ToR or adjacent racks. Middle of Row, active DAC cables are probably the best solution in this application as long as the distance does not exceed 15m. End of Row, as long as the distance is right, DAC cables are well suited for end of row architectures.

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