UL Solutions, one of the world's most trusted names in third-party product safety certifications, offers communications cable safety and performance testing services that can help you mitigate compliance risk.
Choosing UL Solutions as your active optical cable (AOC) testing partner provides unique advantages. Our experts can help you understand your target markets' applicable regulatory and industry requirements. And we can keep you ahead of the curve on evolving industry trends and emerging regulations.
Active optical cable
Industry interest in AOC assemblies continues to increase due to the growing demand for longer-distance video, audio and data signal transmission. In the coming years, the market will grow significantly for AOC assemblies used in consumer electronics applications such as HDMI.
UL 2404, the Outline of Investigation for Active and Passive Optical Cable Assemblies and Connectors, is used to guide the safety evaluation of AOC assemblies. This Outline of Investigation covers AOC assemblies intended for installation between units of electronic equipment where the interconnecting cable is outside the equipment enclosures. Given our experience with the UL 2404 Standard, UL Solutions can support you with performance and reliability compliance evaluations that can differentiate your AOC assemblies.
AOC assemblies are not a permanent wiring method unless constructed and installed with a Listed cable (identified by a marking on the surface of the jacket as a type permitted in Articles 645, 725 and 770 or Chapter 8 of the National Electrical Code® (NEC)). For more detail on the bulk cable compliance evaluation, refer to our telecommunications cable testing page.
Mitigating fire risks associated with AOC assemblies
Since an AOC assembly is much longer than an ordinary copper cable assembly, there is a higher likelihood for users or installers to utilize an AOC assembly for fixed or permanent wiring in buildings. As such, suitable types of Listed cables are required to mitigate the risk of fire when installing the AOC assembly in specific locations of facilities per ANSI/NFPA 70, NEC.
Some types of hybrid AOC assemblies, such as USB-C AOC, may carry electrical power in addition to the optical fibers and are rated for voltage and current, so you should consider additional safety evaluation as described under UL 2404.
Evaluating compliance to laser safety requirements
The optical transceiver used in the AOC can be a potentially hazardous light source. It is crucial to evaluate the optical transceiver for applicable laser safety system requirements and provide markings to alert users about the potential risks of exposure to the light from the laser. According to UL 2404, it is required that the AOC assemblies utilize Class 1 lasers with a light source wholly contained within the cable assembly. For more detail on laser verification, refer to our laser/LED verification page.
Certification of AOC assemblies is conducted in accordance with UL 2404, and the assemblies that meet the requirements are covered under the UL category control number (CCN) QBDV. Covering AOC assemblies under the UL certification program can result in a UL certification Mark on the product packaging, allowing consumers to identify assemblies that comply with the requirements of UL 2404.
High-speed wired connectivity performance testing
Industry associations publish performance specifications for AOC assemblies supporting different high-speed wired connectivity interfaces. UL Solutions conducts third-party testing to evaluate if AOC assemblies comply with the performance specifications. For more information, please review our list of high-speed wired connectivity testing services.
Global market access
The market entry requirements for AOC assemblies vary among countries and regions. Our Global Market Access services can help you identify the applicable regulatory requirements, and we can provide testing services for your target markets. We offer the following testing services for evaluating AOC assemblies:
- EMC/EMI testing and certification
- RoHS compliance
- EU and U.K. Construction Products Regulation (CPR) evaluation for cables
Supply chain assessment services
Substandard or counterfeit cables can cause life safety hazards, so it is crucial to install compliant AOC assemblies in buildings, especially the plenum space and vertical shafts, where cables can rapidly propagate fire across buildings. Our supply chain assessment services can support buyers in evaluating their vendors based on customized requirements and mitigate the risk of distributing non-compliant products into the market.
Why UL Solutions
UL Solutions is a global leader in applied safety science. We address safety, security and sustainability challenges and develop solutions for customers in more than 100 countries. We deliver testing, inspection and certification services, software products and advisory offerings that support product innovation and business growth.
Our compliance service supports the industry in dealing with various aspects of meeting compliance requirements. Our comprehensive factory and market surveillance programs help increase confidence in the supply chain and reduce the risk and costs associated with sub-standard and unsafe products.
We have a fully dedicated Global Security and Brand Protection team that works with authorities and global customs agencies on anti-counterfeiting measures.
Some product categories have the option for an additional on-demand promotional opportunity to include a direct link to your company website, product page, brochure, data sheet or flyer through UL Product iQ® databases.
UL Solutions Follow-Up Services apply to any product carrying the UL Mark to confirm that a product meets the original certification requirements it was certified under. Throughout the lifetime of a UL certification, we conduct regular inspections of production facilities and products, working towards an end goal of ongoing compliance.