Network transceivers get multi-sourced

Eight networking component suppliers have agreed upon a new multi-source agreement for smaller form factor 10 Gbit/sec pluggable fibre-optic transceivers.

Eight networking component suppliers, including Agere Systems, Agilent Technologies, JDS Uniphase, Mitsubishi Electric, NEC, OpNext, Optillion and Tyco Electronics have debuted ‘X2,’ a new multi-source agreement (MSA) for smaller form factor 10 Gbit/sec pluggable fibre-optic transceivers.

The X2 MSA specifies a module that is physically shorter than XENPAK, mounts on the topside of a host PCB and uses an established electrical I/O specification defined by the XENPAK MSA. X2 is initially focused on optical links to 10 kilometers and is targeted at ‘second generation’ 10 Gbit/sec enterprise, storage and telecom applications that do not require the thermal capacity provided by XENPAK.

Optically, the X2 MSA supports 802.3ae 10 Gbit Ethernet, ANSI/ITUT OC192/STM-64 SONET/SDH interfaces, ITUT G.709, OIF OC192 VSR, INCITS/ANSI 10GFC (10 Gbit Fibre Channel) and others.

X2 is suited for Ethernet, Fibre Channel and telecom switches and standard PCI (peripheral component interconnect) based server and storage connections, where a ‘half size’ XENPAK optical transceiver is desired.

The X2 platform is designed so that the heat sink and front bezel can be easily adapted to the different needs of the key 10 Gbit/sec markets. X2 can be mounted on the front panel, mid board, or on a conventional PCI card.

X2 uses the same Tyco Electronics-designed 70-pin electrical connector as XENPAK, now available from other suppliers, and supports XENPAK’s four wire XAUI (10 Gbit attachment unit interface).

X2 also will support the OIF SFI4_P2 and serial electrical interfaces as they emerge.

The X2 MSA group will make the details of the specification available to the industry so that other optical transceiver manufacturers can produce compatible products. The companies expect to begin shipping these new 10 Gb/s transceivers in the first half of 2003.

Note: The XENPAK Multisource Agreement (MSA) was instigated by Agilent Technologies and Agere Systems and defines a fibre-optic transceiver module which conforms to the 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE) standard as laid down by the IEEE 802.3ae.)