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ExcelTech Optics Inc. is pleased to provide the following answers to your frequently asked questions.
Q: What's does MSA stand for?
A:  MSA stands for Multi Source Agreement.  Basically it is an agreement where at least two manufacturers, but usually several, get together and define a new standard for an emerging technology.  Standardization offers obvious benefits to both the component manufacturers and their OEM customers.  This is often done outside more traditional standards organizations like IEEE, JEDEC, etc.  MSAs allow component manufacturers to act quickly in defining new product standards without having to wait for the "process" associated with more traditional and larger standards boards.
Q:  What does GBIC standard for?
A:  GBIC stands for Gigabit Interface Converter.  It is the first widely adopted hot swappable (pluggable) fiber optic transceiver.  It is generally considered a legacy technology.  Support for GBICs in new communications equipment design is limited, as it has largely been replaced by the SFP standard.
Q:  What's a Mini-GBIC?
A:  Mini-GBIC is a term often used incorrectly to describe a SFP transceiver.  To our knowledge, there is no official Mini-GBIC standard.  This term is used predominately in the after market, and dealer / reseller market.  To avoid confusion, it is alway best to refer to a GBIC as a GBIC and a SFP as an SFP.
Q:  What's an SFP?
A:  SFP stands for Small Form (Factor) Pluggable.  It's essentially a bidirectional optical to electrical converter.  It's heritage grew out of the SFF (Small Form Factor) standard as a pluggable option.  This standard is very widely adopted and has greatly enhanced the used of fiber optics in datacom / enterprise markets.  All sorts of products have been and will continue to be developed using this standard.