Multi-Source Agreement and Why it is Important for the Pluggable Transceiver Market

Multi-Source Agreement and Why it is Important for the Pluggable Transceiver Market

June 1, 2018 / By: Admin

 

What is Multi-Source Agreement?

When referring to pluggable transceivers, you will often see that manufacturers state that they are “MSA Compliant” but what does this mean? MSA stands for Multi-Source Agreement, which is an agreement between multiple manufacturers to make products which are compatible across vendors, acting as de facto standards, establishing a competitive market for interoperable products. Products that adhere to MSAs include optical transceivers, fibre optic cables, and other networking devices.

MSAs strictly define the operating characteristics of these transceivers so that system vendors may implement ports in their devices that allow MSA compliant transceivers produced by name brand OEMs, as well a third party vendors, to function properly. That is, transceivers may be purchased from any of the multiple sources in the open market. MSAs are also important in the cabling industry as the density, line speed, power consumption and typical costs of a MSA can strongly impact its success in the marketplace. This, in turn, can drive the choice for both connector and media type.

 

Why is Multi-Source Agreement So Important?

Equipment vendors all rely on MSAs when designing their systems, ensuring interoperability and interchangeability between interface modules. This means that every supplier can produce transceiver modules with the same functionality ensuring interoperability between the products, in turn creating choice for the end-user. For this reason, there are a number of transceiver module suppliers from which customers can choose freely.

Freedom of choice is the foundation of the efficient market economy, and encourages suppliers to operate as efficiently as possible to gain market share. This in turn will drive down costs, which ultimately benefits customers.

 

Approved Multi-Source Agreements Governing Transceivers

This is a list of approved MSAs governing transceivers. Some of these agreements are now obsolete such as GBIC, which has been superseded by the SFP.

Name of MSA

Year of latest revision Brief Description Keywords/Applications
GBIC 2000 GigaBit Interface Converter Designed for Gigabit Ethernet, SDH/SONET (2.5 Gb/s) and Fibre Channel (4Gb/s). superseded by SFP SDH/SONET (2.5 Gb/s) and Fibre Channel (4Gb/s). Superseded by SFP
XENPAK 2001 Fiber optic transceiver for 10Gb Ethernet Superseded by X2 and SFP+
SFP 2001 Small Form-factor Pluggable Designed for Gigabit Ethernet, SDH/SONET (2.5 Gb/s) and Fibre Channel (4Gb/s)
SNAP12 2002 12-channel optical pluggable module Multi-fiber parallel optics. Superseded by CFP and CXP
X2 2005 Fiber optic transceiver for 10Gb Ethernet Superseded by SFP+
XFP 2005 Fiber optic transceiver for 10GB Ethernet Designed for 10Gb/s. Supports 8Gb/s Fibre Channel, 10 Gb/s Ethernet and Optical Transport Network
CFP 2013 C Form Factor Pluggable (100G) Optical transceiver form factors supporting 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s. CFP, CFP2 and CFP4
SFP+ 2013 Enhanced small form-factor pluggable Designed for 10Gb/s. Supports 8Gb/s Fibre Channel, 10 Gb/s Ethernet and Optical Transport Network standard OTU2
QSFP/QSFP+ 2013 Quad Small Form factor Pluggable 10G and 28G Supports Ethernet, Fibre Channel, InfiniBand and SONET/SDH standards up to 40GB/s and 100Gb/s
CXP In Progress C Form Factor Pluggable CXP and CXP2. Supports Infiniband and Ethernet to 100G.


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