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microQSFP MSA group releases transceiver specification

The members of the microQSFP (micro quad small form-factor pluggable) multi-source agreement group have released draft mechanical specifications for the new microQSFP module and cage.

The draft mechanical details will allow system designers, optical module makers and copper cable assembly providers across the industry to begin the process of developing next-generation hardware based on the microQSFP definition.

The microQSFP transceiver module is a compact hot-pluggable style input/output (I/O) connector system with four electrical channels that supports both direct attach copper cable assemblies and optical modules. The unique features include an electrical interconnect that provides 33 per cent higher density than the existing QSFP connector system, and integrated thermal management that provides significantly better thermal performance thanexisting QSFP connectors and cages.

Having the same width as the existing single-channel SFP form factor, microQSFP ports offer the industry a familiar module width, but with up to four times the data capacity. The microQSFP form factor may be used with one, two, or four channels and the enhanced thermal features offer a way to support more thermally challenging applications.

Connector signal integrity performance will support existing industry specifications for up to 28Gb/s per channel and it is intended to support 50Gb/s PAM-4 requirements as well. Future generations of microQSFP connectors are expected to address higher data rates.

Thanks to the faceplate density, when operating at 25Gb/s per channel, a single rack unit (1RU) line card will support up to 72 ports, giving 7.2Tb/s of capacity when fully populated.

“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.”

The 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 MSA group is currently inviting new contributory members to help increase adoption of microQSFP in the marketplace.

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