June 3, 2004 Mountain View, CA -- Now that the number of vendors offering 10GBase-LX4 transponders should reach at least four by the end of the year, Mysticom Semiconductor's introduction of the MY3127 "LX4 module electronics on a chip" is well timed. The device offers integrated XENPAK MSA registers and digital optical monitoring capabilities in a low-power package.
Interest from the transceiver/transponder community in LX4 devices -- which transmit 10-Gigabit Ethernet signals via a four-channel WDM approach -- has picked up considerably this year, after companies such as Cisco Systems began to see customer demand for 10-Gigabit Ethernet transmission over as much as 300 m of legacy multimode fiber. While a new, potentially less costly and complex PMD for similar applications --10GBase-LRM -- is now in the standards process, the immediate requirement for operation over legacy multimode has created a market that module vendors such as Emcore, Eudyna, MergeOptics, and Opnext are racing to service.
"I think that the window for LX4 is certainly longer and the potential is higher than I thought," offers Wiren Perera, vice president of strategy and business development at Mysticom. "LX4 clearly today is the only solution that's standard that covers 300 m multimode fiber, addressing the worst case situations and all of that. And once it starts getting deployed and the customers -- and especially the customers that matter in this industry -- have decided that they're going to support it, it's going to ship for a while."
Perera sees LX4 applications in long-reach enterprise applications primarily. Eventually, he sees LRM devices penetrating long-reach enterprise as well as data center applications. The copper-based CX4 PMD should find favor in rack-to-rack and some data center applications. (Mysticom has introduced the MY3126 device for CX4, which Perera suggests could be used to enable CX4 transmission over more enterprise-friendly cabling than the standard requires.)
The MY3127 features low power dissipation and a real-time signal quality indicator (SQI) -- a system tool for real-time performance and power consumption optimization. The device is optimized for XENPAK, X2, and XPAK optical LX4 modules. However, Perera reports most of his potential module customers are focused on the first two form factors. "[XPAK] largely went away over the last sort of year, year and a half," he says. "And suddenly with the switch side, which is I guess primarily our focus, everything we're seeing is XENPAK/X2."
The MY3127 is priced at $60 in volume quantities. Samples are currently available, and production volume will begin in Q3 of 2004.
-- S. Hardy