& cplSiteName &

Telecom Bides Time on XFP

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading

In the move to XFP modules for 10-Gbit/s Ethernet, datacom vendors appear to be ahead of telecom vendors for the moment.

What's the difference? XFP modules for short distances are available. But the varieties interesting to telecom aren't: 40km models are more scarce, and 80km and DWDM varieties haven't hit volume production yet.

"XFP doesn't support every flavor that they need. They can't see a path to getting to DWDM or 80km," says Ed Cornejo, director of applications marketing at Opnext Inc.

Not that this changes the XFP roadmap. XFP is the endgame in a series of multisource agreements (MSAs) for pluggable 10-Gbit/s optical modules. Because it keeps data as a serial 10-Gbit/s stream, it's not expected to hit mainstream use for several more years. In the meantime, vendors can use the Xenpak, XPAK, and X2 MSAs, which split the 10-Gbit/s signal into four lanes of 3.125 Gbit/s, a speed more palatable to today's chip buses.

Foundry Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FDRY) has even announced product using XFP modules (see 10-GigE Price Drops Continue). But for most OEMs, XFP remains an eventuality more than an immediate necessity. XFP "will probably start to be a volume play around mid-to-late next year," says Claude Denton, vice president of marketing for Network Elements Inc.

For a while, XFP was expected to get a headstart from storage applications, but that prospect fizzled out (see XFP No Longer a BFD). Most of the early interest in XFP now comes from enterprise circles, with telecom still waiting for those two key advances: longer reach and Tunable Lasers.

At OFC in February, telecom OEMs got a sneak preview of what they want, as Bookham Technology plc (Nasdaq: BKHM; London: BHM) and Finisar Corp. (Nasdaq: FNSR) demonstrated 80km modules, with Finisar's model even claiming DWDM support. Other vendors don't think either advance is all that close, though. Tunable lasers for DWDM, in particular, will have a hard time fitting into the XFP power budget, Cornejo says.

XFP would offer the benefit of greater density than Xenpak and its ilk, but with 10-Gbit/s ports still a high-end play, that's not so important yet. A spokesman for Extreme Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR) notes his company has a blade carrying six Xenpak connectors, and the company thinks that's plenty for now.

Chip and module vendors are spurring some XFP interest by lowering prices (see Vitesse Softens XFP Prices and XFP Prices Plummet). But most of the products shipping are using Xenpak or the even older 300-pin MSA, and it's going to take some time for newer products to take their place, says Tom Hausken, analyst with Strategies Unlimited.

"Our forecasts have that whole category [Xenpak, XPAK, and X2] peaking in 2006," he says. "It's not because you have this world of converts to XFP in 2006. They were converted earlier -- last year or this year -- but their [old products'] momentum pulls along to 2005 or 2006."

It's worth noting that some products will skip from Xenpak to XFP, ignoring the intermediate stage of XPAK or X2.

"Certainly for the larger enterprise servers, they're considering staying with Xenpak for three to five years, and after that going to XFP," Cornejo says. But for mid-range servers and pizza-box appliances, most enterprise OEMs are including X2 modules in their next designs, with system announcments possible before the end of this year, he says.

XPAK and X2 are nearly equivalent but, in the end, incompatible. Because Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) appears to be ignoring XPAK, that MSA has been relegated to designs based on Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI), with XPAK instigator Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) among the top users.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

For more on this topic, check out:

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera's Sales Director Paints Tech's Big Picture

6|21|17   |   4:14   |   (1) comment

Shannon Williams, Infinera's director of sales, shares how she achieves work's many balancing acts -- between her role and the broader company, today and tomorrow's tech and more.
LRTV Custom TV
SD-WAN Innovation & Trends

6|20|17   |     |   (0) comments

Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja discusses with Carol Wilson the current status and trends in the SD-WAN market, Versa's innovation around building a software platform with broad contextualization, and the advantages that startups can bring to the SD-WAN market.
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Dario Talmesio on 5G in Europe

6|20|17   |   02:16   |   (0) comments

At 5G World 2017, Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader on Ovum's fixed and mobile telecoms European team, explains the emerging trends amongst European operators as they prepare for 5G.
LRTV Custom TV
Putting Power on a Pedestal

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments

ARRIS's John Ulm says a major accomplishment of SCTE•ISBE's Energy 2020 program is increased focus on power cost and consumption, including inclusion of energy requirements in operators' RFPs and RFIs.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit Access: The Last-Mile Pipe for All Future Services

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments

A Gigabit access platform being deployed today must be able to deliver all types of services to an increasing number of devices. A non-blocking architecture is necessary to support the ever-increasing growth in bandwidth demand. The Huawei Gigabit access solution is based on a distributed design that is fully scalable to deliver a unprecedented performance.
LRTV Custom TV
Key Factors to Successfully Deploy an SD-WAN Service

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments

As service providers transition their SD-WAN solution from trials and limited deployments into production at large scale, there are important considerations to successfully operationalize these solutions and realize their full potential, without adding complexity, introducing uncertainty or disrupting current business operations. Sunil Khandekar, CEO and Founder ...
LRTV Custom TV
IoT Solutions: Rational Exuberance

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments

IoT solutions are morphing from hype into viable business opportunities. Huawei has the platform and ecosystem support to help carriers successfully address new business opportunities in the IoT space.
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing ICN as a Network Slice for Mobile Data Distribution

6|19|17   |     |   (1) comment

Network slicing in 5G allows the potential introduction of new network architectures such as Information-centric Networks (ICN) as a slice, managed over a shared pool of compute, storage and bandwidth resource. Services over an ICN slice can benefit from many architectural features such as Name Based Networking, Security, Multicasting, Multi-homing, Mobility, ...
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Mike Roberts on 5G Uptake

6|19|17   |   04:08   |   (0) comments

Mike Roberts, research director for Ovum's service provider markets group, explains why he has boosted his 5G subscriptions forecast.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Hubbard on Intersection of SD-WAN & MPLS

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments

Rick Hubbard, SVP of Network Product Management for AT&T Business Solutions, discusses how AT&T's approach to SD-WAN fits in with its overall virtualization strategy, explains how SD-WAN can improve enterprise customers' use of the cloud and addresses the intersection of SD-WAN and MPLS.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Keep Connected IoT Devices Under Control With Allot

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments

Allot AVP of International Pre-Sales, Daniel Keidar, explains how communications service providers can protect infrastructure and service availability from flooding attacks caused by malfunctioning or bot-infected devices connected to their network.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE 5G World Highlights

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments

ZTE showcases its leading 5G innovations at 5G World in London.
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Verizon Warns of $500M Hit From Yahoo Deal
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/16/2017
ISP Startup Targets Disruption in US Suburbs
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/15/2017
Can Comcast Beat Customer Hate With a Private Cloud?
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 6/15/2017
BT Tech Chief Makes Plea to 5G Chip Vendors
Ray Le Maistre, International Group Editor, 6/20/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.