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microQSFP MSA Group releases specs on next-gen data comm connectivity

The microQSFP Specification Version 2.0 Enables Development of New Compact Transceiver Addressing Future 100G Port Density, Data Speed, and System Thermal Requirements


The members of the microQSFP (micro Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable) Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) Group announced that it has released the microQSFP Specification Version 2.0 allowing system designers, optical module manufacturers and copper cable assembly providers across the industry to develop next-generation hardware based on the microQSFP definition. The microQSFP document includes final electrical, mechanical, thermal and management specifications of the microQSFP module and cage.

The microQSFP transceiver module uses a compact connector system sufficient for four input/output (I/O) electrical channels that supports direct attach copper cable assemblies, optical modules and active optical cable assemblies. Having the same width as the existing single-channel small form-factor pluggable (SFP), microQSFP ports offer the industry a familiar module, but with up to four times the data capacity.

This new form factor may be used with 1, 2 or 4 channels and its enhanced thermal features offer a way to support more thermally challenging applications. For example, microQSFP products could be used for 1- or 2-channel applications where higher thermal loads are required, such as 1×50 or 2×50 Gigabit per second (Gbps) applications. In these applications, the users benefit from the familiar SFP density, but with significantly higher thermal management.

microQSFP is the natural progression for the existing QSFP connector system

“With the ever expanding need for more bandwidth, front panel density and storage capacity, microQSFP is the natural progression for the existing QSFP connector system,” says Greg McSorley, tech. bus. dev. mgr of Amphenol Corp. “As a contributor to the microQSFP MSA Amphenol looks forward to bringing this solution to our Data Center customers.”

The microQSFP specification defines an electrical interconnect that provides 33 percent higher density than the existing QSFP (Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable) connector system, along with integrated thermal management features that significantly improve the thermal performance when compared with QSFP style connectors and cages. The microQSFP connector signal integrity performance will support existing industry specifications up to 28 Gbps per channel and it is intended to support 50 Gbps PAM4 requirements as well. It is also intended that future generations of microQSFP connectors will address higher data rates. When operating at 25 Gbps per channel, the solution enables up to 7.2 Terabit per second (Tbps) per 1RU line card with 72 ports.

“The microQSFP provides the opportunity today for the smallest single-port form factor for 100 Gbps Ethernet applications and is expected soon for 200 Gbps Ethernet applications,” said Jeffery J. Maki, distinguished engineer, Juniper Networks. “We are pleased to be a part of a working group committed to advancing the industry standard for next-generation data communications.”

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. Subsequent Contributor members include Amphenol, Finisar, Lorom, MultiLane, Oclaro, Rosenberger and Semtech. The MSA group is currently soliciting new contributory members to help expand the adoption of microQSFP in the marketplace.


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