The emergence of the QSFP form factor has brought economies of scale to 100G upgrades, putting 100G within the cost reach of both small and hyper-scale data center operators. With a small profile and reduced power consumption, the QSFP form factor is the choice of switch manufacturers for 100G platforms. Despite the economies of scale at the switch level, the urgency to upgrade can inevitably lead to unforeseen compatibility and budget issues.
Several industry leaders, including Broadcom, Cisco, Finisar, Intel, Juniper Networks, Marvell, Molex and Samtec, have announced a new QSFP-DD800 MSA Group to advance the development of high-speed, double-density quad small form factor pluggable (QSFP-DD800) modules to support 800 Gbps connectivity. This MSA will enable QSFP-DD800’s eight electrical lanes to operate at 100 Gigabit per second (Gbps) each, by providing technical solutions for 800 Gbps module and connector systems. It will also define a module, connector, stacked connector and a hybrid connector that is a BiPass/Flyover variant which can eliminate the signal losses on a traditional PCB.
Let’s say you’re in charge of a data center and your boss reminds you that streaming video and IoT devices are all the rage and if you don’t keep up with bandwidth demand, you’re toast. You have 10G links that use 10G SFP+ SR transceivers at the aggregation layer. You upgrade your switches or linecards to ones that have 40G QSFP ports like the Nexus series switches.You now have a couple of choices for the QSFP ports: You could use QSFP SR4 transceivers, which requires ribbon fiber. That means you’d have to install more trunk fiber and modify patch panels to handle the MPO (Multi-Fiber Push On) connectors. Or you could use the QSFP BiDi transceiver, which, by the way, costs less than the SR4 transceiver. All you have to do is unplug the dual fiber MMF (Multi-Mode Fiber) cable that you already have in place, and plug it right into the BiDi. No hassle. Boss happy. Seems obvious, doesn’t it?
While once cost prohibitive, 100G network upgrades are now a viable option to improve network performance. The emergence of the QSFP form factor has brought economies of scale to 100G upgrades, putting 100G within the cost reach of both small and hyper-scale data center operators. With a small profile and reduced power consumption, the QSFP form factor is the choice of switch manufacturers for 100G platforms.