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XPAK Setback?

It appears Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is gravitating toward the X2 multisource agreement (MSA) for 10-Gbit/s transceivers, a move that would be a setback for the rival XPAK MSA.

Cisco representatives weren't available for comment, but several sources in the component and module businesses say that key design groups within Cisco are leaning toward X2.

Though there doesn't appear to be a corporate-level decision in the works, if several Cisco design teams are choosing X2, it could spell trouble for XPAK. "If I were Cisco, I wouldn't be splitting my supply down the middle," says Carolyn Raab, vice president of marketing for chip vendor Quake Technologies Inc. "They'll probably go with one of the two."

To recap: X2 and XPAK are competing to be the successor to the Xenpak MSA for 10-Gbit/s transceivers. They perform the same function as Xenpak -- translating a 10-Gbit/s feed into four 3.125-Gbit/s channels and vice versa -- but they're smaller (see Is Xenpak Past It? and The X-Wars: Agilent Strikes First).

XPAK emerged first, proposed by Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) as a smaller alternative to Xenpak. Afterwards, the X2 camp, led by Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A), revealed what they'd been working on (see Can Intel Make Transceiver Peace?).

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