What does MSA mean?

The term ‘MSA’ stands for multi-source agreement, which is an agreement between multiple manufacturers to make standardised products which will be compatible across a range of telecoms vendors’ hardware. Such agreements act as a “de-facto” standard and in the process have allowed the establishment of a competitive market for MSA compliant optical transceivers, certain cables and other pluggable network devices.

 

What is defined by the MSA?

MSA standards are in place for all pluggable form factors including SFP, SFP+, XFP, XENPAK, QSFP, QSFP28 and CFP. The standards themselves define characteristics such as mechanical interface, electrical interface, and additional features such as digital monitoring DDI/DOM. The standards also set forth a precedent for the Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM). The EEPROM memory is defined within the MSA standards including the optical transceivers capabilities, interfaces and also the name of the vendor.

Compatibility is generally controlled by means of vendor codes, which are characters stored within board chips, that are used to identify compatible hardware. If the transceiver returns an incorrect code then the host device will not recognise it and refuse to operate or issue a warning. Such mechanisms have generally been used in order to lock in the customer to a premium priced product and subvert the standardising value of the MSAs.

By law, vendors cannot stipulate that only branded parts may be used within the target system in order to retain warranty validity. The threat of void warranty is a commonly sold misconception designed to protect the vendor’s sales channel and is almost never available in writing. In general such mechanisms have been unsuccessful and no longer function as a barrier to entry to the market.

 

The benefits of TXO’s MSA compliant optical transceivers

TXO is firmly established as a global leader in the supply and deployment of MSA compliant optical transceivers. We have set ourselves apart by investing in highly trained technical staff and state-of-the-art testing facilities to ensure that our customers receive superior quality optics. This has resulted in TXO being at the forefront of optical transceiver coding and customised solutions, plus every module is rigorously tested in TXO’s facility on the equipment for which it is intended for both compatibility and performance.

  • Significant cost savings compared with OEM supply. In some cases hundreds or even thousands of EUR/USD on a single module
  • Transparent quoting process
  • Stock holding in USA and Europe for rapid delivery anywhere in the world
  • MSA (Multi-Source Agreement) standards compliant optical transceivers
  • Sourced from the same manufacturers supplying the big brand vendors
  • Comprehensively tested within TXO’s optics testing facility to ensure 100% compatibility
  • Backed by a comprehensive 3 year advance replacement warranty
  • The use of MSA compliant optical transceivers does NOT void your equipment warranty
  • As part of the testing program customers may receive no-obligation samples for evaluation purposes

 

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