XPAK MSA Group announces specifications for high-density, 10-GbE form factor

May 24, 2002--Charter members of the XPAK Multi-source Agreement (MSA) group today announced that specifications for the XPAK 10 Gigabit Ethernet optical module form factor are now available on the group's website at www.xpak.org.

May 24th, 2002

Charter members of the XPAK Multi-source Agreement (MSA) group today announced that specifications for the XPAK 10 Gigabit Ethernet optical module form factor are now available on the group's website at www.xpak.org. The group also announced that Molex Inc. and Tyco Electronics have joined the MSA membership with McData Corp., QLogic Corp,. and Spirent Communications adding support as new sponsors.

XPAK is a reduced-size, pluggable 10-Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) module customized for enterprise, storage area network (SAN), and switching center market segment applications. Intel Corp., Picolight Inc., and Infineon Technologies North America Corp. announced the formation of the XPAK MSA at the Optical Fiber Communications (OFC) Conference in March, stimulating a surge of interest in the new 10-Gigabit form factor that is similar to the popular XENPAK optical module, but offering smaller size and lower power for shorter reach connections.

XPAK Specifications

The newly published XPAK specifications define mechanical, thermal, and electromagnetic interference (EMI) mitigation features of the form factor, as well as reference 10-GbE optical and XENPAK MSA electrical specifications. Offering new levels of density, power efficiency, and ease of integration to networking equipment, the XPAK module enables equipment manufacturers to implement 10-GbE links up to 10- and eventually 40-kilometers, claim group representatives. This increased distance enables 10-Gigabit Ethernet to move from today's aggregated uplink applications to high-volume, server-to-switch, and storage-to-switch links.

"XPAK's strength lies in its similarities to XENPAK as a classic second-generation, follow-on product," contends Karen Liu, director of optoelectronic modules at RHK, who adds that adoption of XPAK is straightforward because the interface is identical to the pinout of the XENPAK 70-pin XAUI (10-Gbit/sec Attachment Unit Interface).

XPAK Snapshot

The XPAK form factor uses a standard 10-GbE XAUI electrical interface over a 70-pin RFT-style connector in its initial implementation. The small footprint and capability for double-sided mounting on a printed circuit board offer increased densities to switch and router manufacturers. The low height, limited depth, and single-sided mounting capability of the XPAK form factor also enables PCI card applications, including 10-GbE network interface cards. Short wave (850- nm) implementations will support interconnects up to 300 meters; long wave (1310-nm) versions will reach up to 10 kilometers.

The XPAK form factor is designed specifically to increase density for enterprise, SAN, and switching center applications by enabling up to 20 devices to be installed on a single, 17-inch printed circuit board. XPAK supports 10-GbE and Fibre Channel optical links from 2 meters to 10 kilometers, which represent 80% of the 10-GbE port applications.

For more information on the XPAK MSA, visit www.xpak.org.

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