Zarlink Semiconductor and Agilent Technologies Inc. today announced a multi-source agreement intended to create a common standard for pluggable 4-channel parallel optic transceiver modules that offer an aggregate bandwidth of up to 10 Gbits/sec.
Known as POP4 (Pluggable Optics 4-channel), the agreement promotes flexible and reliable system design by ensuring that customers have access to multiple, reliable sources for 4-channel transceivers used for high bandwidth optical interconnections in next-generation switches, routers, and other networking equipment.
Agilent and Zarlink will design standardized packaging, optical and electronic interfaces for their respective 4-channel transceiver modules, currently under development. The companies also will work to encourage the POP4 specification as the global industry standard for 4-channel parallel optic transceivers.
Pluggable parallel optic transceivers send and receive data over optical fibers and perform electrical-to-optical and optical-to-electrical conversion of the data stream. Zarlink and Agilent's transceiver modules feature four-transmit and four-receive channels in one package, each operating at 1 to 2.7 Gbits/sec, for an aggregate bandwidth of 4 to 10.8 Gbits/sec in each direction.
"With this agreement our customers gain flexibility and the advantages of competitive sources," contends Olof Svenonius, product line manager, Parallel Fiber Modules, Zarlink Semiconductor. "We are encouraging other vendors to design to the POP4 specification to further promote customer choice."
"Parallel fiber optic modules for very short reach optical interconnect are key components in the intra-system backplanes being designed for scaleable, multi-chassis networking equipment," adds David Eastley, product marketing manager for Agilent's Fiber Optics Product Division. "This agreement provides customers with multi-vendor pluggable transceivers that will also be compatible with Infinibanda and VSR OC-192 specifications."
Network operators demand scaleable architecture
Truly scaleable equipment utilizes a multi-chassis design that allows network operators to increase capacity simply by adding one or more chassis to the original configuration. Pluggable parallel fiber optic modules are the only cost-effective and reliable method of optical interconnection in multi-chassis equipment, offering the speed, density, and reach that designers demand, claim the companies' representatives.
Agilent and Zarlink's pluggable 4-channel parallel optic transceivers are specifically designed to meet rising demand for capacity in intra-system backplane interconnects, including chassis-to-chassis connections up to 300 meters, VSR OC-192 as per OIF VSR4-3 specifications, and InfiniBand connections.
The modules use a 100-pin MEG-Array connector and are based on 850-nm vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) technology. The transceivers support transmission requirements of up to 10.8 Gbits/sec, occupy less than one inch of board space, and are compatible with an industry-standard MTP/MPO fiber-optic connector.
Product design, development, manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of the parallel fiber-optic transceiver modules will take place independently. For more information and to obtain a copy of the POP4 specification, visit www.popoptics.org.
For more information about Agilent Technologies Inc. (Palo Alto, CA), visit the company's Web site at www.agilent.com.
Additional information about Zarlink Semiconductor (Ottawa, Canada) can be found on the Web at www.zarlink.com.