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A tangled web

A web of multi source agreements threaten to engulf 10Gbit transceiver modules. By John Walko.

The Optical Fibre Communications Conference (OFC), held late last month in Atlanta, Georgia, did little to untangle the web of multi source agreements (msa) that have emerged over the past few years for 10Gbit/s transceiver modules. There were some important new additions and a glimpse into future advances from key players such as Intel, Finisar, Infineon Technologies, Ignis Optics, Picolight and Mitsubishi. However, there were few clues of a shakeout among the five overlapping msas vying for market acceptance as 10Gbit/s transceiver modules begin to take off in applications such as storage, routers, metropolitan networks and high data rate Ethernet networks.
The msas considered here relate to the fibre optic transceiver modules that sit between a laser and the on board electronics of a 10Gbit/s system, converting signals between optical and electronic signals. They emerged for a common practical purpose: to simplify the way devices can be linked to interface boards. Each msa has pros and cons, and the bigger players in the optical transceiver business have either developed or are developing modules for more than one of the specifications.

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