Molex zCD Interconnect Solves Next-Generation Data Transmission Requirements

Molex Incorporated has developed the compact zCD™ interconnect system to support next generation applications in telecommunications, networking and enterprise computing environments. The Molex zCD interconnect system will transmit 400 Gbps data rates (25 Gbps over 16 lanes) with excellent signal integrity, electromagnetic interference (EMI) protection and thermal cooling properties.

“Addressing demand for high speed applications has become a shared priority within the industry as network bandwidth continues to surge,” states Joe Dambach, global new product development, Molex. “The zCD interconnect delivers a winning form-factor that will help enable widespread adoption of 400 Gbps technology.”

Molex zCD connectors will be available in a short body version for passive or active copper cables and long body version for active optical cables (AOCs) or transceivers. The zCD connectors feature a straight, back-route footprint with a 0.75mm pitch. An elastomeric gasket provides EMI containment and suppression. Designed to accept a broad range of thermal modules and heat sinks, the press-fit connector design ensures a robust and simple board termination.

Providing industry leading bandwidth density, zCD passive copper cable assemblies feature 32 pairs (16 channels) per I/O port at 25 Gbps. A dual paddle-card system improves cross-talk performance through the cable interface. An embedded microcontroller cable-management interface allows custom host-management capabilities through a standard I2C bus. Designed for use with 30 AWG Twinax cable, the passive copper bundle (up to 32 pairs) improves bend radius and flexibility in short-reach 400 Gbps Ethernet or legacy and proprietary applications.

Based on singlemode silicon photonics technology, Molex AOC assemblies for the zCD connector deliver 16 bi-directional channels operating at up to 28 Gbps, or 400 Gbps of bandwidth, in a compact standard interface. A hot-pluggable transceiver allows insertion and removal of devices without powering down the system. Module I/O equalisation enables optimisation of performance for each host system. Transmitting up to 4km for a fraction of the cost and power of long-reach optical modules, the zCD AOC assemblies are primarily designed for 400 Gbps Ethernet applications and will function with InfiniBand* and proprietary protocol applications.

“The zCD interconnect system offers a high level of integration, performance and long-term reliability for customers requiring 400 Gbps with individual lane data rates up to 25 Gbps,” adds Dambach.

Molex is among the founding members of the CDFP multi-source agreement (MSA) consortium, which is dedicated to defining specifications and promoting adoption of interoperable 400 Gbps hot pluggable modules. For information about the CDFP MSA please visit

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