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400G QSFP-DD LR8, FR8 optical module and 400G QSFP-DD active optical cable

June 26, 2023

400G QSFP-DD LR8 and FR8 optical modules, 400G QSFP-DD active optical cable (AOC), 100G serial QSFP28 optical module and two 50G SFP56 optical modules to support a wide range of next-generation Ethernet applications.

We refer to these new form factors and data rates as the latest advancements in network technology, targeting next-generation optical systems that will operate at 50 and 100Gb/s per lane. The utilization of pulse amplitude modulation (PAM4) coding at level 4 for 50G and 100G lanes, as opposed to the traditional no-return to zero (NRZ) format, which is crucial in meeting the escalating bandwidth demands of hyperscale data centers, service providers and enterprises.

The QSFP-DD (Quad Small Form Factor Pluggable Interface Double Density) is the latest modular form factor for 400G data rates. The design provides an eight-channel electrical interface for increased bandwidth, channel capacity and port density compared to traditional single or quad channel interfaces. Developed by the QSFP-DD MSA group, the module meets the demand for high-density, high-speed networking solutions in a backward-compatible form factor.

400G QSFP-DD LR8 and FR8 Optical Modules

We claim to be the first to demonstration a 400G QSFP-DD LR8 optical module with a 10km transmission range that is a key requirement for service provider applications. Using 50G PAM4 technology, the optical module is demonstrating the capability to transmit data over a duplex single-mode fiber (SMF) up to 10km. In addition to the demonstrated 10km LR8 module, we will also offer a variant of the module FR8 with a 2km range, primarily designed for internal data center applications. Both the LR8 and FR8 modules utilize Direct Modulated Laser (DML) transmitter technology to provide a low power, low risk, cost effective solution for 400G.

400G QSFP-DD Active Optical Cable

We are introducing what is claims to be the first 400G active optical cable in the form factor of QSFP-DD. By using vertical cavity surface emitting laser (VCSEL) technology to achieve the lowest power and cost-effective architecture, it provides an alternative to copper cables that are unable to meet the required cable length at these high data rates. In a joint collaboration, we used Cisco’s 36-port QSFP-DD demo platform to demonstrate the transmission of a traffic through a Cisco demo switch using a 400G QSFP-DD AOC. Ray Nering, Cisco’s Product Line Manager, stated, “This demonstration effectively quadruples the total switch bandwidth while maintaining the port density that is critical to support network bandwidth requirements and the continued growth of data center traffic.” He added,  “Cisco expects QSFP-DD to become the de facto standard for 400G, just as other QSFP form factors have done with 40G and 100G.”

100G Serial QSFP28 FR Optical Module

We have introduced a 100G serial FR optical module in the popular QSFP28 form factor, designed for data center, transport and router applications within a transmission range of up to 2km. The module is compatible with standard QSFP28 slots and utilizes a standard 4x25G electrical interface and uses a single serial 100G PAM4 optical channel. Once deployed in sufficient quantities, it will replace the existing 100G QSFP28 CWDM4 module. We also plan to introduce a 5M DR version of the module. Four of these FR or DR modules will be able to be used in a fan-out configuration with IEEE standard 400G DR4 modules to provide 100G point-to-point and 100G-to-400G fan-out connectivity at 100G per lane. During the OFC(Optical Fiber Communication Conference), the module successfully transmitted data over a 2km single-mode fiber(SMF) link.

50G SFP56 SR and LR Optical Module

Enabling the next generation of 50G single-channel fiber connectivity, we will also introduce what is claimed to be the first 50G SFP56 SR and LR transceivers with Serial PAM4 technology. These modules represent the next step in the evolution of a widely used family of SFP+ optical modules that are already ubiquitous in enterprise, data center and service provider networks around the world, the company said. Key applications for these products include server-to-switch and switch-to-switch 50G Ethernet connectivity, as well as future 5G wireless applications.

In the OFC, we demonstrated the SFP56-SR module transporting over 100m of OM4 multi-mode fiber (MMF), and the SFP56-LR module, which achieved data transmitting over 10km of SMF. These modules incorporate internal vertically integrated optics and integrated circuits, ensuring compatibility with previous generations of 25G SFP28 and 10G SFP+ optical transceivers. Both modules are compliant with the corresponding 50GBASE-R specification (as defined in the IEEE standard) and provide 50G PAM4 electrical and optical interfaces.

“Today, we have developed the industry’s first optical modules that will enable us to maintain its leadership position in the next generation of products,” according to Shuchun Li, senior vice president of global marketing. “Building on 30 years of success, we are gearing up for a new era of optical interfaces based on 50G and 100G PAM4 technology. This will enable us to deliver unprecedented bandwidth to our customers in a form that is backwards compatible with the industry’s established footprint”, he added.