Enhanced XPAK 10GbE MSA build-to specification available; membership grows

6 September 2002 -- Revision 2.0 (the "build-to" specification) of the XPAK 10 Gigabit Ethernet optical module form factor has been made available, together with enhancements to the original specification. Also, MSA group membership has grown to 21 companies.

6 September 2002 -- Last month the XPAK Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) group said that Revision 2.0 (the "build-to" specification) of the XPAK 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) optical module form factor is available at www.xpak.org. The group also announced enhancements to the original XPAK specification, and said that its membership has grown to 21 companies.

The XPAK MSA was announced by Infineon, Intel and Picolight in March and builds on the electrical interface and register set defined by the XENPAK MSA, using the same 10GbE XAUI electrical interface over a 70-pin RFT-style connector in its initial implementation.

However, low height, limited depth and single-sided mounting capability of the XPAK form factor enables space-constrained application segments to transition to 10 Gigabit implementations. The small footprint and capability for double-sided mounting on a printed circuit board offer increased densities to switch and router manufacturers. The MSA defines mechanical, thermal and electromagnetic interference (EMI) mitigation features for a reduced-size, pluggable 10GbE module that is compliant with PCI card applications in height, width and bezel opening.

Revision 2.0 contains enhancements that were developed in response to input from users and MSA members, and allows designers to lay out small-form-factor boards in full compliance with the specification.

Because the PCI application in high-end servers is one of the earliest and largest market segments for small 10GbE pluggable modules, XPAK created a specification that ensures accurate PCI compliance and tight EMI performance, enabling more traditional telecom and datacom equipment makers to take advantage of early market demand.

The XPAK form factor offers levels of density, power efficiency and ease-of-integration that enable network equipment manufacturers to cost-effectively implement 10GbE links of up to 10km, which represent 80% of the 10GbE port applications.

In response to user and member requests, several additions have been made to the original XPAK specification, which initially targeted PCI-compliant NIC (network interface card), HBA (host bus adapter) and TCA (target channel adapter) applications. Now included are tall-profile thermally enhanced specifications for 8-across switch environments and a mid-board mounting system. Also, there are now module guide system mounting options for front-bezel or behind-bezel EMI sealing to accommodate either plated or painted faceplates.

* The XPAK MSA has also increased its membership, with memberships now available at three levels. Participating members build modules meeting the XPAK MSA, sponsoring members are customers for modules that support the MSA, and contributing members are interested companies willing to support the MSA development (e.g. IC vendors).

Eight new participating members have been added: Blaze Network Products, E2O Communications, Fujitsu Quantum Devices, Kodeos Communications, Network Elements, Optium Corp, Pine Photonics and Red Clover Networks. These join Infineon Technologies, Intel, Molex, Picolight and Tyco Electronics.

Two new sponsoring members, JNI Corp and Spirent Communications, have joined Intel, McData Corp and QLogic Corp.
The initial four contributing members are Broadcom, Forte Development, OEPIC Inc and Quake Technologies.

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