AOC active optical cable is an optical fiber with a module attached to each end, which is equivalent to a cable and a module.
AOC active optical cable is also widely used by many customers, because its cost is cheaper than that of two separate modules plus one optical fiber.
Like optical transceiver, AOC is still optically driven with the same core components inside. Their difference is mainly referring to the process difficulty.
For optical transceiver, when the internal components are coupled, the situation of the opposite end may be very different, so it needs to adopt different situations, which requires high level lasers with high manual operation complexity.
As for AOC active optical cable, the opposite end is fixed, so there is no need to consider various situations. It sets low requirements for the laser with relatively simple peripheral components and simple manual operation. This can reduce some costs and is why the price of AOC is lower than that of two modules + one optical fiber.
However, since none of the most costly core components is saved, the difference in cost is not very significant (note: cost is not equal to selling price).
Of course, even for the same manufacturer, their optical transceivers and AOC active optical cables may have different chip solutions and coupling methods. This is why the optical transceivers and AOC active optical cables of the same manufacturer may perform differently on the same third-party equipment, but in general, they are all driven by light, so the difference will not be too great.
Although the cost of AOC active optical cable is lower, compared with transceivers, the AOC active optical cable also has disadvantages.
For example, in the AOC cable, if a module or optical fiber has a problem, all parts need to be replaced, but the optical transceiver does not require the same; especially in some environments where the wiring is completed, the AOC active optical cable needs to be pulled out, which is a very troublesome task.
In addition, if the equipment at both ends are from different manufacturers, for the optical transceiver solution, transceivers from different manufacturers can be purchased separately to avoid compatibility issues. If the AOC active optical cable solution is used, you can only ask the AOC active optical cable supplier to write the code in advance, and it may even need to be marked on the AOC cable, like which end corresponds to which manufacturer.