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1. (WO2019050550) PLUGGABLE MODULE WITH COAXIAL CONNECTOR INTERFACE
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Pluggable Module with Coaxial Connector Interface

The present invention claims priority to Provisional application no. 62/385,765 filed September 9, 2016, which is incorporated herein by reference.

The present application pertains to the field of high speed communications and in particular, a pluggable module having a coaxial connector interface.

BACKGROUND

Telecommunications service providers, or carriers, today are focused on the delivery of broadband and ultra-broadband Internet services (or broadband) consisting of video, data and voice; not just telephony as their main source of revenue. The term broadband refers to wide bandwidth data transmission with the ability to simultaneously transport multiple signals and traffic types, sometimes referred to as converged data, over various media types. In the context of Internet access, broadband is used to mean any high-speed Internet access that is always available, in other words always on, and faster than traditional dial-up access. Broadband services can be delivered by one of four means: Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), Cable, Optical Fiber and Satellite.

Telecommunications carriers prefer to deliver their broadband services using DSL because it re-uses the twisted pair phone lines already running out to every residence and business. They are exploring the use of fiber because of its superior bandwidth and speed but the cost to run fiber to the residence or business in anything other than a so called 'green field', new construction situation remains prohibitively high. DSL has evolved gradually over the last 20-years since being first deployed but has consistently been outpaced in terms of bandwidth and speed by broadband services delivered over cable. Today, however, new technologies, including G-fast and G/now/G.hn, are emerging that are able to deliver gigabit broadband services over telephony twisted pair thus giving telecommunications carriers a solution that is

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competitive with cable and even optical fiber. These new ultra-fast broadband technologies are emerging at a time when the need to minimize capital expense and increase revenue from existing copper assets is at an all time high for the telecommunications carriers. This pressure has forced some carriers to take on the cable assets of otherwise failing satellite services companies in an attempt to profitably monetize them. Now with a mix of both twisted pair and coaxial copper assets, some telecommunications carriers are in need of a convenient means for adapting between the different cable types for broadband delivery to the premises or business.

The invention proposed here address that need and solves the problem by integrating the media interface into a pluggable module suitable for any customer premise equipment (CPE) provisioned with a corresponding socket and cage. Pluggable modules that can be fitted to a CPE for broadband technologies, including G-fast, with a twisted pair electrical connector interface exist. What's missing is a complementing pluggable module with a connector interface suitable for connecting to the coaxial cable assets now owned by some telecommunications carriers.

Summary

The invention integrates an F-Type connector into a pluggable transceiver module, including but not limited to an SFP module, to allow for native connectivity to 75Ω coaxial cable infrastructure. Additionally the invention integrates a balun (balancer/ unbalance converter) inside the pluggable module to perform the 75Ω single-ended to 100Ω differential conversion necessary between the coax input and subsequent signal processing circuitry. In so doing the invention eliminates the need for an external balun when connecting coaxial cable to equipment ordinarily intended for a twisted pair, balanced connection.

Prior to this invention, in order to connect between coaxial cable and telephony twisted pair it was necessary to use an external balun such as the G-fast balun available from Comtest Networks. Such an external Balun adds incremental cost and complexity when interfacing between coaxial cable and equipment with a twisted pair interface. Additionally the use of an external balun is not an elegant solution because just a standard balun is as big, or indeed bigger, than a pluggable module, such as an SFP.

The invention eliminates the need for an external, oftentimes relatively bulky and expensive standard external Balun when interfacing between coaxial cabling and a telephony twisted pair interface. The invention is compact and by virtue of being integrated into a pluggable module, delivers better signal integrity and overall improved broadband performance. In order to accomplish the invention it was necessary to define, implement and test a miniature Balun of sufficient performance and miniature size that it could be integrated into the pluggable module. Likewise with the F-Type connector it was necessary to develop a host of proprietary hardware for integrating it with the housing of the pluggable module. Furthermore the invention is novel because in addition to the F-Type coaxial interface and an integrated Balun, the pluggable module also incorporates all the electronics necessary for a complete G.fast physical layer interface. As a pluggable module, the invention allows original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to provision their solutions with a single receptacle port compatible with the invented pluggable module such that adapting between different media types is as straightforward as swapping the pluggable module for one with the needed media interface.

The present invention includes a pluggable module compliant with a Small Form Factor Pluggable (SFP) specification, wherein the balun omits at least one of the following elements: a) thru-hole leads; b) over-molding; and c) ferrite core of low magnetic permeability.

Also the balun may provide at least one of the following elements: a) surface mount leads; b) ferrite core of high magnetic permeability; c) an overall height of the balun package being restricted for use within the envelope dimensions provided by SFP specification.

The invention provides for a miniaturized SFP package by providing a printed circuit board (PCB) having components on both sides of the PCB and the balun having surface mount leads for mounting to pads on a first side of the PCB and facilitating mounting of other components on a second side of the PCB. The invention may comprise a release lever including a stamped body that is symmetrical about a centerline bisecting the length of the body. The invention wherein the release lever body is stamped from a flat metallic sheet. Also the body may include three segments, the first segment forming a generally "H" shaped release member, an opposite second segment having side serrations for receiving a button thereon and a third segment disposed between the first and second segments, the third segment having an opening and a tab extending into a bottom portion of the Ή" shaped member.

The invention may comprise a module having an enlarged end having a lever mating area including a finger disposed within the opening; a resilient member for receiving the tab thereon and a pair of legs of the "H" shaped portion for sliding and engaging a release tab.

wherein the housing is cast from aluminum, aluminum alloy, zinc or zinc alloy. The invention may further comprise a Gfast wireline physical layer, Gnow wireline physical layer or

VDSL/VDSL2 wireline physical layer.

A further embodiment of the invention provides a pluggable module comprising a housing having a first end and second end, an edge connector disposed at the first end,

an F-type coaxial connector at the second end and a release lever including a stamped body that is symmetrical about a centerline bisecting the length of the body wherein the body is stamped from a flat metallic sheet. Also the body may include three segments, the first segment forming a general "H" shaped release member, an opposite second segment having side serrations for receiving a button thereon and a third segment disposed between the first and second segments, the third segment having an opening and a tab extending into a bottom portion of the "H" shaped position.

The invention further comprises a module having an enlarged end having a lever mating area including a finger disposed within the opening, a resilient member for receiving the tab thereon and a pair of legs of the "H" shaped portion for sliding and engaging a release tab. The invention may further comprise a miniature balun disposed within the module for converting between a single-ended input to a differential load.

A further embodiment of the invention provides for a method of assembling a pluggable module comprising the steps of obtaining a balun having a ferrite core having high magnetic permeability, mounting the balun to a first side of a printed circuit board (PCB) via a surface mount process, mounting other components to a second side of the PCB, casting a housing from aluminum, aluminum alloy, zinc or zinc alloy stamping a release lever from a flat sheet of metal, and forming the release lever by bending the flat metal to form a first, second and third segment of the release lever.

Also the body of the release lever may be formed to provide, the first segment forming a generally "H" shaped release member, an opposite second segment having side serrations for receiving a button thereon and the third segment disposed between the first and second segments, the third segment having an opening capable of receiving a tab extending into a bottom portion of the "H" shaped member.

Brief Description of the Drawings

Fig. 1 is a perspective view of a module of the present invention;

Fig. 2 is an exploded view of the module of Fig. 1 ;

Fig. 3 is perspective view of an alternate embodiment of a module of the present invention;

Fig. 4-5 is an exploded perspective view of the module of Fig. 3;

Fig. 6 is a block diagram of the electronics of the module;

Fig. 7 is a block diagram of a balun of the module of the present invention;

Fig. 8 is a side elevation cut-away view taken at line 8-8 from Fig. 1 depicting the push button in a first position;

Fig. 9 is is a side elevation cut-away view taken at line 8-8 from Fig. 1 depicting the push button in a second position;

Fig. 10 is a plan view of a release lever sheet prior to final forming;

Fig. 1 1 is a bottom view of the forming process of the release lever sheet of the present invention;

Fig. 12 is side elevation exploded view of the module of Fig. 1 ;

Fig. 13a is a plan view of the release lever sheet in a flattened state prior to forming;

Fig. 13b is a side elevation view of the sheet of Fig. 13a, after forming;

Fig. 13c is a perspective view of the release lever of Fig. 13b;

Fig. 14 is a side elevation view of a printed circuit board (PCB) of the present invention; and

Fig. 15 is a perspective view of the bottom of the PCB of Fig. 14.

Detailed Description

Embodiments of the Coaxial Module invention are depicted in Figs. 1-15. In particular, a module having an edge connector at the first end that is compliant with SFP standard SFF -8431 SFP+ specification. The module may have connectors, latching mechanisms and other components, as disclosed in U.S. patent nos. 7, 181 , 173; 8,040,687 and 8,335,088 that are incorporated herein by reference. The second end of the module includes an F-Type coaxial

connector as shown in Figs. 1-5. Such a module is pluggable into a receptacle of a host device, for example, Customer Premise Equipment.

Turning to Fig. 1 the pluggable module 100 is depicted in an embodiment having a housing top 11 1 , a housing bottom 112 and a disengager button 1 13. In an embodiment the housing is compliant SFP and SFP+ specifications, so that front body housing 115 may be inserted into a cage of a host device (not shown) and electric connection is accomplished by an edge connector 132 mating with a corresponding connector on the mother board of the host device (not shown). In an embodiment, the host device may be a router, switcher ,hub, blade, cable box, distribution point unit or other data or telecom equipment.

Turning to Fig. 2 a flange 1 16 is provided in combination with nut 1 17 to secure an F-Type coaxial connector to a printed circuit board (PCB) 130. The flange 116 is stamped and formed with a resilient clip 126 that provides a compression contact against a solder pad of PCB 132. The pad, in an embodiment is connected to ground so that the flange 116 is grounded to facilitate Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI) shielding for the module 100.

In an embodiment the module 100 includes a release lever 119, 120. In first

embodiment, the release lever (Fig. 1 and 2) is a push style lever that allows a user to push button 1 13 in order to cause the module 110 to "pop" out of the host device a first distance from the host face plate (not shown). Once the module 100 is ejected to the first distance, there is room for the user to grab the sides of the module housing 101 , 102 with his/her fingers in order to remove the module 100 the remaining distance, so that the entire module may be removed from a cage of a host device (in order to repair the module 100 or to upgrade of downgrade the host device with a new module having alternate functionality (e.g. copper to fiber)). Further description of the release lever 119 is provided with respect to Figures 8-14 below.

Figure 2 also depicts EMI collar 122 to be clipped onto housing 101 of the module 100 within recess 129 (Fig. 5). The collar 122 includes fingers for engaging a face plate of a host device to ground the collar 122 to the host (not shown). In an embodiment the housing 101 , 102 is metallic, such as zinc alloy, zinc, aluminum or aluminum alloy, so that the collar 122 may ground to the housing 101 , 102 to provide EMI shielding for the module 100. A fastener 124 attaches the top half of the housing 101 to the bottom housing 102 with the PCB 130 disposed between.

Turning to Fig. 3, an alternative release lever 120 is depicted. In an embodiment, the lever provides a pivoting motion about axle 123 when a user grabs lever arm(s) 121 and pulls downward (from the position depicted in Fig. 3 and 5) to activate release latch 127 so that the module is released from the host and the user, by continuing to rotate the lever arms 121 , causes the arms to pivot around base bar 125 and axle 123, so that the release lever 120 moves to a second/ horizontal orientation and continued pulling by the user will allow for complete removal of the module first end 105 from the host. As depicted in Fig. 5, the lower housing 1 12 may have pivoting release lever 120, and also release lever 119 to accommodate rapid conversion of the module 100 from one version of the release lever to the next.

Fig. 6 depicts an electronic diagram of an embodiment of the present invention. The module PCB 130 has circuitry and components including input via F-type connector 201 , a gas discharge tube (GDT) 202, a surge protection device (SPD) 203, a low pass filter (LPF) 204, and a balun chip 206 having a package including at least one surface mount contact 205. Chipsets are also provided on the PCB 130 for an analog front end (AFE) 207, a digital signal processor (DSP) ore providing a PHYSICAL (PHY) layer device 208, a 20 pin connector 209 compliant with an SFP or SFP+ specification (e.g. and edge connector), a memory device 210, such a FLASH chip, a serial ID EEPROM 211 and a power supply 212 (e.g. battery or DC supply).

A more detailed description of the above components 201 - 212 follows:

Coaxial input connector 201 such as an F-Type connector is preferred for telecommunications carriers with RG-59, 75Ω coaxial cable assets but other connector types can be adapted to the invention. A coupling capacitor C1 , serves as a DC-block to eliminate DC-bias oftentimes present on a coaxial cable used to feed a remote low noise amplifier (LNA) or low noise block (LNB) ), from entering the electronics contained within the pluggable module. Nonetheless, the implementation can be adapted to incorporate a power splitter in place of C1 for those situations where a DC voltage is present on the coaxial cable for the purpose of remotely powering the host device that the module is plugged into.

Gas Discharge Tube (GDT) 202 is a component designed to dissipate the energy associated with a high over-voltage transient and is applied in the invention to protect against over voltage associated with a lightning strike event. The technology associated with GDT device 202 has evolved sufficiently that today it is possible to incorporate one as the basis for lightning over-voltage protection in a device as compact as an SFP module. This is vital for the invention which can be connected to telecommunications carrier copper infrastructure that extends outdoors where it is vulnerable to lightning strike events.

Surge protection device (SPD) 203 has an arrangement of a type Zener diode designed with a fast transient response time used to limit over-voltage surges most typically associated with lightning strike events. The SPD 203 is implemented in conjunction with a GDT 202 to deliver the over-voltage protection required by telecommunications carriers for any equipment connected to their copper cable infrastructure.

Low Pass Filter (LPF) 204 is a collection of passive elements, capacitors, inductors and resistors, arranged to filter high frequency noise that might otherwise prove troublesome to the proper function of the invention. The LPF 204 can optionally be implemented to mitigate the influence and associated cross-talk resulting from other signals co-existing on the coaxial cable such as cable television (CATV) signals.

Balun (balanced unbalanced transformer) 206 is an electrical device that converts between a balanced signal (two signals working against each other where ground is irrelevant) and an unbalanced signal (a single signal working against ground or pseudo-ground). A balun can take many forms and may include devices that also transform impedances. The balun 206 may also provide a transformer component for converting between a single-ended, or unbalanced, input to a differential, or balanced, load. In one embodiment, the balun serves to transform between single-ended 75Ω coaxial cable and a 100Ω differential interface to-from the analog front-end (AFE). The invention improves on this approach by integrating a G-fast or G.now/G.hn balun into a pluggable module along with a native F-Type interface as well as the rest of the circuitry needed to implement an entire G-fast or G.now/G.hn physical layer connection. The balun used in reent invention is miniaturized by omitting the over-molding typical and usual for a stand-alone, external balun. The over-molding in an embodiment is omitted by design as a custom component for use in the present invention. Omitting the Balun 206 over-molding reduces component height and width. The balun 206 used in the present module 100 is miniaturized (e.g has a low profile package) by replacing standard through-hole mounting leads with custom surface mount leads 205. The surface mount leads are a feature of the custom balun 206 used for the present invention (Fig. 7).

The incorporation of surface mount leads 205 for the balun 206 on a first/ top side 130a, means that components 220 can be placed on the opposite/ bottom side 130b of the printed circuit board 130 under the balun 206 (see Fig. 14-15).

Also providing a higher magnetic permeability for the balun 206 allows for a smaller ferrite core and a smaller finished balun 206. The balun used in the module is miniaturized by selecting a ferrite core with a high magnetic permeability. A larger, more typically sized balun uses lower cost, lower magnetic permeability ferrite cores.

Analog Front-End (AFE) 207provides an integrated circuit interface circuit that resides between the balun 206 connected to the coaxial cable plant that carries complex modulated data and the digital core responsible for processing the demodulated baseband data. In the transmit direction, the AFE 207 is responsible for conditioning and amplifying the signal from the digital processing core for transmission through connected coaxial cable. In the receive direction the AFE is responsible for first normalizing the input signal amplitude then conditioning the complex modulated data inbound from the connected coaxial cable plant in order that it can be decoded by the digital processing core.

Digital Signal Processor/PHYSICAL layer device (DSP/PHY) 208 is an integrated circuit that resides between the AFE 207 and small form-factor pluggable (SFP) 20-pin host connector 209. The DSP/PHY 208 is responsible for adapting data between the host environment, typically Ethernet traffic in the form of a standard SGMII (serial gigabit media independent interface) The complex modulation format is necessary for transmission over the connected coaxial cable plant (via the AFE for signal conditioning and amplification).

Small Form-factor Pluggable (SFP) 20-pin connector 209 in an embodiment is an edge of the SFP transceiver PCB that mates with the corresponding SFP electrical connector on the host, consistent with the recommended pattern layout and pin assignment described in the SFP multi-source agreement (INF-9074i).

Flash memory 210 is a non-volatile memory chip that holds the configuration settings and information for the AFE 207 and DFE

Serial ID EEPROM 211 is a non-volatile memory chip providing the memory map for static and dynamic data defined in the multi-source agreement SFF-8472. The static serial identification (ID) provides the host information that describes the transceiver module's

capabilities, standard interfaces, manufacturer and other related information. The dynamic data is intended to provide the host with real time access to a device operating parameters such as voltage and temperature.

Power Supplies 212 is a system of DC/DC switching power supplies that converts a fixed 3.3V input voltage to the various voltage rails required for proper operation by the AFE 207, DFE, flash 210 and serial ID EEPROM 211.

Turning to Figs. 8 - 13, an alternate embodiment of the release lever 1 19 will be described. The lever 119 is slidingly mounted into lower housing 102 so that the lever body 150 includes three segments, the first segment 151 forming a generally "H" shaped release member 155, an opposite second segment 152 having side serrations 156 for receiving a button 113 thereon and a third segment 153 disposed between the first 151 and second segments 152, the third segment 153 having an opening 157 and a tab 158 extending into a bottom portion of the "H" shaped member 151.

The module 100 includes an enlarged end 160 (Fig. 1) having a lever mating area 161 including a finger 162 disposed within the opening 157, a resilient member 114 (e.g spring or rubber bushing) for receiving the tab 158 thereon and a pair of legs 155a,b of the "H" shaped segment 152 for sliding and engaging a release tab 159. So as depicted in Figs.8-9, the body 150 may be moved between a latched and unlatched condition (Fig. 9). By pressing on button 113 in direction of arrow A (Fig. 8). A user that applies sufficient counterforce to the resilient member 114, can move the first segment 151 against 159 to push the module housing backward in order to release the module 100 from the cage of the host device. As shown in Fig. 9, the resilient member 114 will then return the body 1 19 to the latched condition. The opening157 is formed having a corresponding length to the distance required to move the module housing to the delatched condition. Finger 162 abuts the first end of the opening when the body is the latched condition (Fig. 8) and abuts the second end of the opening when the body is in the unlatched condition (Fig. 9).

Fig. 10-1 1 depicts how the body 150 of the release lever 119 is manufactured. The body is stamped from a flat metal sheet as shown in Fig. 10. In Fig.1 1 a machine is depicted for rolling and bending the body 150 in order to form the release lever body 150 depicted in Fig. 13c.

Also, returning to Fig. 2 a flange 1 16 which serves as the means for aligning the F-type connector 118 to the main printed circuit board 130. Furthermore, in addition to accomplishing proper mechanical alignment relative to PCB 130, the F-type mounting flange 116 includes a clip 126 which is soldered to the PCB 130 to accomplish an electric connection to ground (GND).

In an embodiment, the module 100 of the present invention may be assembled as follows: a balun is obtained having a ferrite core having high magnetic permeability, having the overmolding removed and having surface mount leads (instead of through hole leads);

mounting the balun to a first side of a printed circuit board (PCB) via a surface mount process;

mounting other components to a second side of the PCB, casting a housing from an alloy such as zinc alloy or aluminum alloy, stamping a release lever from a flat sheet of metal so that the lever 150 is symmetrical about a centerline of the body of the lever, the centerfline B-B (Fig. 13a) bisecting the length of the lever body 150; forming the release lever by bending the flat metal to form a first, second and third segment of the release lever and inserting the lever within a mating area of the lower housing 102. The assembly further comprising capturing the PCB 130 and coaxial connector assembly within the upper and lower housing 101 , 102 and the assembly including a flange 1 16 having a resilient clip 126, for mounting to the PCB and

grounding the clip 126 and coaxial connector assembly 118. Finally, an EMI collar 122 is snapped onto the recess 129 of the housing 1 12.

With respect to Figs. 1-15, the following components are provided as shown in the figures:

100 - module

101 - housing upper half

102 housing lower half

105 - first housing end

11 1 - housing top

112 - housing bottom

113 - Disengager button

114 - Elastic member

115 - Front body housing

116 - Flange

117 - Nut

118 - F-Type coaxial connector assembnly

119- release lever

120 - Pivoting latch lever

121 - Arm for pivoting latch lever

122 - EMI collar

123 - Axle for pivoting latch lever

124 - fastener

125 - Base connecting bar for latch lever

126 - clip

127 - Release latch

129 - PCB support

130 - printed circuit board

132 - Edge connector to mate with host connector

150 - lever body

160 enlarged end

201- input via F-type connector

202 - GDT

203 - SPD

204 LPF

205 - surface mount contact

206 - balun

207 AFE

208- DSP PHY

209- SFP 20 pin connector output

210- FLASH memory

21 1 - Serial ID EEPROM

212- Power supply

The above description discloses only certain preferred embodiments of the invention, yet the full scope of the invention is much broader and should be bound only by the claims as issued in a utility patent.