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XFP MFA Benefits Extolled at Tokyo Workshop

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TOKYO, Jan. 28 -- Transceivers based on the XFP multisource agreement (MSA) are making high-speed optical interfaces so simple and cost effective that 10 Gb/s XFP products are becoming the de facto standard in optical access, metro and long-haul transmission systems and are speeding the convergence of the telecom and datacom infrastructure. That was the key message in a presentation by former Ignis Optics CEO Michael Lebby last week at the 12th OEIC & Optical Interconnection Workshop of the Optoelectronic Industry and Technology Development Association. Lebby is now with optical components maker Bookham Technology, which recently acquired Ignis.

Lebby told an influential audience of leading Japanese optoelectronic manufacturers, researchers and government policymakers that the 'impressive' fast-track development and validation of the XFP MSA during 2002 and 2003 has created a multiprotocol, multidistance technology that will bring more cost-effective pricing to telecoms networks -- with major benefits to components vendors, systems vendors and carriers.

"In the late 1990s, the challenge emerged to develop a 10 Gb/s fiber optic transceiver that had all of the performance of existing solutions, but at a lower price -- a daunting prospect," Lebby said. "But the XFP form factor has recently emerged as the solution of choice to this challenge."

"Since XFP transceivers were first introduced over a year ago, system manufacturers have driven suppliers to produce a full portfolio of link standards," said Lebby. "Dense wavelength division multiplexing and ever-increasing reaches in XFP transceivers will bring this form-factor to bear on line-side (trunk) applications, complementing the current client-side (tributary) applications. Uses for these optical plug-in modules are widespread in telecoms, switching and routing, enterprise and storage markets, covering SONET OC-192, SDH STM-64, 10 Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Fibre Channel."

XFP brings serialisation, miniaturization and cost reduction to the design of 10 Gb/s optical transceivers, according to Lebby. The associated XFI serial interface allows migration to quad- and octal-port ICs, allowing one IC to drive multiple transceiver ports for further cost and power savings, he said.

A major attraction of XFP for systems vendors and network operators is that modules are hot-pluggable and do not use traditional expensive and inflexible fiber pigtail connections. Lebby said this gives savings in both capital and operations expenditure. Carriers can add ports as traffic grows, and they can mix and match protocol types and link distances on the same linecard, while carrying lower inventories.

"The advent of the XFP is allowing network architects to evolve the network away from conventional discrete optics and modules to more cost effective, hot-pluggable 10 Gb/s modular solutions," Lebby said. "This simplification and standardization is by far the most exciting development in the industry right now."

He said interest is already strong -- and growing -- among Asia/Pacific carriers for high-speed packet-based optical networks, particularly Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet.

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Jan 2004
CommunicationsNews & Features

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