About XKL

Our Mission

XKL is dedicated to creating a more equitable and better-connected world. To accomplish this, we combine our signature customer-first approach with an exceptionally talented optical engineering team to help our customers solve challenges with industry leading DWDM solutions.

A Culture of Innovation

XKL was launched by Cisco Systems founder Len Bosack in 1991. Len is the 2009 recipient of IEEE Computer Society’s prestigious Computer Entrepreneur Award for pioneering and advancing the commercialization of routing technology, in turn creating profound changes in the computer industry and beyond. Since its creation, XKL’s innovative solutions have continued to shape the landscape of technology and networking.

In its earliest days, XKL successfully built a compact, modern replacement for a massive mainframe computer system that had gone out of production. Many of these systems were deployed in key support roles, suggesting a need for a more modern platform as a migration path.

The challenge at the time was to find a mainstream usage for a totally new technology: a platform with a desktop-sized footprint but incorporating technology that would bring the system into the 21st century.

The resulting product (the Toad-1, below) represented a major technological breakthrough. The system exceeded all design goals and came equipped with such things as a modern disk subsystem and what was, at the time, the industry’s fastest backplane.


Beyond its primary objective, this first-generation product served two important roles: it provided a springboard that propelled XKL into technology solutions, and it enabled us to gather a highly talented technical team that has kept us at the forefront of DWDM innovation.

Over the last three decades, XKL has built a reputation amongst network operators and engineers for putting its customers first and providing trusted optical engineering support alongside carrier-class Layer 1, DWDM products.

We utilize a consultative approach to gain a deep understanding of our clients’ needs, delivering built-to-order and easy-to-manage optical network solutions that exceed customer expectations — without adding unnecessary complexities or costs.

Thanks to XKL’s configuration and testing processes, our clients also benefit from a true plug-and-play experience when deploying and commissioning their DWDM gear.

Today, XKL continues its history of innovation with another industry first, including offering fully integrated DWDM solutions in a single, compact 1RU or 2RU design – reducing costs and simplifying management.



Len Bosack





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The Toad-1 was built as an extended version of the DECSYSTEM-20 from Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), which had ceased producing the PDP-10 variant in 1983. The original inspiration to build a desktop version of the popular PDP-10 dated back to the 1970s with a DEC development project called “Minnow.” While project Minnow yielded no product, interest in a small implementation of the PDP-10 continued. It was eventually built at XKL by a team of veteran engineers from Cisco, DEC, Hewlett-Packard, and CDC, and led by Len Bosack, the co-founder of Cisco and a veteran of DEC and Bell Labs. XKL called it TOAD, an acronym for “Ten On A Desk.”


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