News Column

Researchers Submit Patent Application, "Small Form-Factor Pluggable Optical Transceiver", for Approval

June 12, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- From Washington, D.C., VerticalNews journalists report that a patent application by the inventors HEIMBUCH, Mark (Chatsworth, CA); WAINWRIGHT, Wayne (Ventura, CA), filed on February 5, 2013, was made available online on May 29, 2014.

No assignee for this patent application has been made.

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "A small form-factor pluggable (SFP) optical transceiver, generally defined by an applicable MSA standard, provides bidirectional data transmission in optical communications. Generally, a conventional SFP optical transceiver comprises (i) a casing, (ii) electrical devices, such as printed circuit boards (PCB), chips, etc., and (iii) optical devices, such as a transceiver optical subassembly (TOSA) and a receiver optical subassembly (ROSA) placed inside the casing. The conventional SFP optical transceiver is inserted during normal operation into a switchboard cage having corresponding SFP connectors. When the SFP optical transceiver goes into the cage, the electrical and optical devices enter into the cage in order, respectively, and are subsequently latched into place by a latching mechanism.

"With regard to SFP optical transceivers, optical and electrical devices require different operating temperatures. Relative to electrical devices, operating temperatures have a greater influence on the performance of optical devices. As result, various SFP optical transceivers, thermistors, temperature sensors and other devices are configured to avoid a reduction in the performance of the optical device when the operating temperature increases. However, overheating of the optical device cannot be eliminated. Generally, overheating of the optical device occurs after connecting the SFP optical transceiver to the switchboard, since the electrical and optical devices of the SFP optical transceiver are completely enclosed in the switchboard. The switchboard and the electrical devices of the SFP optical transceiver emit a significant amount of heat during normal operation, creating a relatively hot environment within the device, thereby resulting in relatively low efficiency and a decrease in the life of the device.

"As optical and electrical devices are placed in one cavity in the conventional SFP optical transceiver, high heat close to the electrical device could easily transfer to the optical device, negatively affecting the performance and the life of the optical device.

"This 'Discussion of the Background' section is provided for background information only. The statements in this 'Discussion of the Background' are not an admission that the subject matter disclosed in this 'Discussion of the Background' section constitutes prior art to the present disclosure, and no part of this 'Discussion of the Background' section may be used as an admission that any part of this application, including this 'Discussion of the Background' section, constitutes prior art to the present disclosure."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "Embodiments of the present invention relate to a SFP optical transceiver having better performance and extended device life that overcomes the above-mentioned shortcomings in conventional optical transceivers. To implement the objective(s) of the present invention, technical proposals are provided below.

"The present invention provides a SFP optical transceiver, comprising a casing configured to accommodate optical and electrical devices. During normal operation, the casing is connected to a switchboard via a connector in the switchboard. Alternatively, during normal operation, the optical devices may be outside of the switchboard.

"Preferably, the casing has an internal isolator configured to divide the casing into a first cavity to accommodate the optical devices and a second cavity to accommodate the electrical devices. As a result, the relatively high heat produced by the electrical device portion during normal operation may be reduced or eliminated from being transferred to the cavity where the optical devices are located. As a result, the operating temperatures of the optical devices are reduced.

"Alternatively, during normal operation, the first cavity is located outside the switchboard, and the second cavity is located inside the switchboard. In this configuration, the effect of the high temperature inside the switchboard on the first cavity containing the optical devices can be minimized during normal operation. Thereby, the heat produced by the electrical device portion may be prevented from being transferred to the internal portion of the first cavity. In addition, the heat outside the casing and/or inside the switchboard affecting the operating temperature of the optical device may be prevented. Furthermore, the operating temperature of the optical device may be kept at a relatively low level, thereby increasing the life and efficiency of the optical device.

"In various embodiments of the present invention, a thermal isolator has an electrical feed that electrically connects one side of the thermal isolator close to and/or adjacent to the first cavity with another (e.g., opposite) side of the thermal isolator close to and/or adjacent to the second cavity. Preferably, the thermal isolator may be or comprise a ceramic or other thermally insulating material that can function as a (thermal) barrier.

"In various embodiments of the present invention, air holes are located in the cover and base of the casing corresponding to the first cavity. The air holes run through the casing and communicate the first cavity with the outside of the casing. In this structure, heat in the first cavity containing the optical devices can be exchanged with the air outside the device more effectively. Preferably, the air holes are arranged in the cover and the base of the casing in predetermined positions or locations. In this structure, heat in the first cavity can be exchanged with the air outside the device steadily and effectively.

"In further embodiments of the present invention, a bottom surface (e.g., face) of the casing has a tapered end, and the isolator has a groove compatible (e.g., configured to mate) with the tapered end. The connection between the isolator and the casing is implemented by the tapered end fitting or mating with the groove, resulting in efficient heat insulation.

"Preferably, the casing has a de-latching unit on a top surface (e.g., face) of the casing. The de-latching unit is configured to latch the casing in the switchboard. Alternatively, the de-latching unit releases the casing from the switchboard.

"Thus, the present invention relates to a two-cavity SFP optical transceiver module that can operate at two different temperatures in different regions of the module. Generally, the ambient temperature outside of the module, switch or switchboard is less than 55.degree. C., but the temperature inside the module, switch or switchboard may exceed 75.degree. C. The temperature of the extended nose (e.g., the tapered end or optical cavity of the transceiver) is the case temperature of the switch or switchboard, with which the optical subassembly (OSA) inside the optical cavity will be in thermal equilibrium. In addition, the temperature of the extended nose will be cooler than the temperature of the electrical (or back) portion of the transceiver, which is the temperature of the electronic parts inside the SFP casing. The present invention advantageously provides a two-part casing structure that can operate at different temperatures, having an extended nose (e.g., tapered end) and two operating temperature zones. Generally, higher port densities may increase thermal issues inside the system (e.g., a switch). The optical portion of the present transceivers should stay at a temperature .ltoreq.85.degree. C. Lower OSA temperatures advantageously provide improved yields, lower operational costs, and/or better performance.

"Relative to the conventional devices described above, the present invention advantageously locates optical devices that are sensitive to operational temperature outside the switchboard or system case. Relative to accommodating the operational temperature of the optical devices when heated inside the switchboard, a reduction in the operational temperature of the optical device portion of the transceiver improves operational performance and extends the life of the device. Also, placing the optical device portion outside the switchboard advantageously improves the cooling of the optical devices.

"These and other advantages of the present invention will become readily apparent from the detailed description of various embodiments below.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a diagram showing an internal structure of an exemplary optical transceiver and a casing in accordance with the present invention.

"FIG. 2 is a diagram showing the optical transceiver before it is inserted into a switchboard in accordance with the present invention.

"FIG. 3 is a diagram showing the structure after the optical transceiver is inserted into a switchboard.

"FIG. 4 is an internal structure diagram of an exemplary optical transceiver after being inserted into a switchboard.

"FIG. 5 is an internal structure diagram showing one embodiment of the optical transceiver in accordance with the present invention.

"FIG. 6 is a structure diagram showing the optical transceiver of FIG. 5 with an exemplary casing in accordance with the present invention, prior to being positioned in a switchboard.

"FIG. 7 is a top view of the optical transceiver of FIG. 6 in a switchboard, without the casing."

For additional information on this patent application, see: HEIMBUCH, Mark; WAINWRIGHT, Wayne. Small Form-Factor Pluggable Optical Transceiver. Filed February 5, 2013 and posted May 29, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=3261&p=66&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140522.PD.&OS=PD/20140522&RS=PD/20140522

Keywords for this news article include: Patents.

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Source: Politics & Government Week


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