microQSFP MSA offers first datacom optical transceiver specifications

The micro Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable (microQSFP) Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) has released draft mechanical specifications of the microQSFP optical module and cage. The group says the specs are now ready for system designers, optical transceiver makers, and copper cable assembly providers to use to create interfaces smaller than the current QSFP format.

The micro Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable (microQSFP) Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) has released draft mechanical specifications of the microQSFP optical module and cage. The group says the specs are now ready for system designers, optical transceiver makers, and copper cable assembly providers to use to create interfaces smaller than the current QSFP format.

The hot-pluggable input/output (I/O) connector system features four electrical channels that support both direct attach copper cable assemblies and optical modules. Because it has the same width of single-channel SFP interfaces, the microQSFP can support 33% higher density than QSFP connector systems. The new form factor also features integrated thermal management that surpasses the QSFP connectors and cages as well, the group says.

Modules based on the microQSFP specifications can support one, two, or four-channel operation. Each channel can be up to 28 Gbps, although group members foresee designs that support 50 Gbps per channel via PAM4 modulation. Thanks to the faceplate density the interface's small size will support, the group members estimate that, at 25 Gbps per channel, a 1RU line card fully populated with 72 microQSFP modules will support 7.2 Tbps in total.

"Networking hardware trends are moving to ever higher density interconnects and higher data rates," said Dale Murray, principal analyst with LightCounting Market Research. "Coupled with higher-capacity switching silicon, this results in a need for next-generation connector systems such as microQSFP that provide more throughput while also addressing the thermal challenge in new ways."

Founding Promoter members of the MSA include Broadcom, Brocade, Cisco, Dell, Foxconn Interconnect Technology, Huawei, Intel, Juniper Networks, Lumentum, Microsoft, Molex, and TE Connectivity. The group first announced its intentions last August, with TE among the primary catalysts for the MSA's formation (see "TE Connectivity seeks partners for new 100G optical transceiver MSA" and "Micro QSFP subject of new optical transceiver MSA").

Further information on the MSA can be found on the group's website.

For more information on optical transceivers and suppliers, visit the Lightwave Buyer's Guide.

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