Multi-Platform Coding Demystified

We all use pluggable transceivers of various shapes and sizes, but have you ever wondered what a pluggable optical transceiver is comprised of?  That small device certainly has a lot going on inside!

A transceiver is a combination of specialized components, sensors, communication lanes, and a microcontroller to tie them all together.  Let’s dive into the specifics:

  • Specialized components handle the optical Tx and Rx. Aspects such as the transmit frequency and receiver sensitivity are dictated by these parts and are fixed.
  • Sensors provide regulation and reporting on transceiver functions like temperatures, power consumption, and Tx and Rx values. These readings are passed back to the microcontroller.
  • The controller has a processor, firmware, and memory. The firmware is code that dictates some aspects of the transceiver function such as certain timings. The memory holds values from sensors and attributes describing the transceiver that will be related back to the host platform.
  • There are separate communication lanes from the transceiver to the host platform. Dedicated lanes for the data being sent and received and a communications line from the MCU back to the host platform.

Generally speaking, the way a transceiver identifies itself to a platform doesn’t determine how the transceiver actually functions. If you have a multimode optic, you can code it so that it appears to be a singlemode optic to the network device you’re plugging into. That doesn’t mean that the laser has switched from 850nm to 1310nm and it doesn’t mean that it would use singlemode fiber instead of multimode. What it does is not directly tied to how it’s identified.

Different platforms have unique ways of identifying “supported” transceivers. If you think about the way a transceiver presents itself as an address on a letter, OEMs look for different parts of the address to determine if it’s for them. Integra’s optics have every capability of the OEM, and show up as supported devices in the destination platforms because of the extensive testing and development we’ve invested.

One vendor might look to the return address while another will look at the name. Yet another might look at the street address and still another will trust the letter as being for them if the digits of the zip code add up to a specific number. In this case, all these vendors could look at the same letter and recognize it as being for them.

That’s the basis of universally coded optics; by carefully assigning the correct values in a transceiver’s memory, several different platforms can accept the optic as natively supported, eliminating the need to recode to each manufacturer. The down side is that even though the optic has been accepted and natively supported, the other values are still read and may display…curiously. Remembering the vendor that was looking at the street address, they may still display the name information in an inventory listing and that has the potential to generate some confusion.

A well-crafted universal optic can be made to show up in ways that make sense and be accepted by a set of equipment that helps you reduce the need to recode and lessen sparing burden.

It is possible to have coding that works across multiple platforms, which is just another reason to choose Integra over the OEM. In unique situations where you are seeking a multi-platform solution, and your application/combination of platforms warrants it, our highly skilled team of network engineers will work with you to devise an optimal and advanced multi-platform solution.

All of Integra’s one-to-one and multi-platform solutions can help you save costs and reduce sparing. Contact us to discuss if a multi-platform solution is right for you.