OIF specifies tunable lasers

The evolution of the industry's first tunable-laser specification continues in the Optical Internetworking Forum (OIF). To further define the interoperability points for tunable lasers, the Physical and Link Layer (PLL) Working Group has two projects to address the tunable-laser assembly used in industry-standard transponders. Last October, work began on defining an assembly for the 3.5×4.5-inch form-factor transponder and in January work started on a small-form-factor (SFF) assembly. The SFF integratable tunable-laser assembly multisource agreement (MSA) will become the OIF's third tunable-laser MSA and is a response to network equipment vendors' constant push to reduce size and power.

This new Implementation Agreement builds upon last year's initial tunable-laser MSA (OIF-TLMSA-01), which addresses the module physical (electrical) interface, communications interfaces, and optical performance parameters for continuous wavelength tunable-laser modules. This agreement went from proposal in February 2003 to published agreement in May 2003.

At January meeting, the OIF formed the Physical Layer User Working Group to provide a stronger voice for equipment manufacturers and system vendors to present technical advice and perspective to the PLL Working Group. The PLL Working Group develops Implementation Agreements for components, modules, subsystems, and communications links used in networking equipment.

Launched in April 1998, the OIF is a nonprofit organization with more than 250 international member companies. As the only industry group uniting representatives from data and optical networks, the OIF helps advance the standards and methods of optical networks. OIF's purpose is to accelerate the deployment of interoperable, cost-effective, and robust optical internetworks and their associated technologies. For further details, visit www.oiforum.com.

Karl Gass of Sandia National Laboratories is vice chair of Optical Interfaces in OIF's PLL Working Group. He can be reached at 505-844-8849 or kgass@sandia.gov.

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