With cutting-edge technologies such as AI, 5G, and Cloud Storage growing by a leap, the current 100G can no longer meet the demand for high-speed and high-performance applications, which drives the next-generation 400G forward. QSFPTEK has launched a series of 400G products based on 400GBASE QSFP-DD (Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable Double Density) form factor, including 400G QSFP-DD transceivers, 400G DAC, and AOC cables. The new generation 400G product line is for 400G Ethernet data center interconnects, which are urgently needed by Professional Media Networks, Large Enterprises, service providers, and Hyperscale Cloud Providers.
400G Background and Challenge
As the COVID-19 pandemic has been raging globally since early 2020, more people are staying at home and we can see the dependency on the Internet in unprecedented ways. From the wide adoption of the working model work-from-home (WFH) in many enterprises to remote video lessons among students, and surfing the Internet in large numbers at home by people who can't work remotely. From the access to the core, there is a significant increase in network traffic by handling 4K/8K/16K video-based data transport, HPC Clusters, Storage/Memory, and many other massive data flow requests. Emerging Technologies such as 5G, the Internet of Things, cloud computing; and the increasing number of new data centers also raised a challenge to 400G networking capacity for data center interconnects.
400G Networking Trends
To address the above challenge of supporting 400G capacity, the QSFP-DD Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) group released the new QSFP-DD technology. It is one and the most key factor that makes 400G becomes possible. The market has seen wide adoption of QSFP-DD in transceivers and cable products for 400G data center networking. Other technologies include RoCE, SmartNIC, and 400G ZR/ZR+.
400G Optics Form Factors
The two form factors that are specified for 400G transceivers and cables are:
QSFP-DD, or QSFP56-DD, refers to “Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable (QSFP) Double Density, specified by QSFP-DD MSA Group. It is based on QSFP and is backward compatible with the other QSFP cage optics, such as QSFP+, QSFP28 and QSFP56. The difference is that QSFP-DD doubles the number of electrical lanes from 4 to 8, delivering a max 400G bandwidth by each lane running 50Gb/s with PAM4 modulation.
OSFP (Octal Small Form-factor Pluggable) is standardized by OSFP MSA. It is similar to QSFP-DD in many ways. It also has 8 high-speed electrical lanes to support a 400G data rate of 8x 50Gbps. Also, both are designed with a compact form factor to cater to high-density access and data center applications, supporting up to 36 ports and a total of 14.4Tb/s bandwidth per RU. The differences are:
1. OSFP size is slightly bigger than QSFP-DD.
2. OSFP is not directly backward compatible with the QSFP cage, it requires an OSFP to QSFP converter adapter for interconnection.
3. The max power consumption of OSFP is 15W while QSFP-DD is 12W.
4. The OSFP mechanism integrates the thermal management heat sink directly in the form factor.
The table below summarizes the main feature of 400G QSFP-DD vs OSFP in contrast.
With the consideration of smaller size, lower power consumption, and backward compatibility, the industry seems to have wider adoption of QSFP-DD than OSFP form factor in switches and optics.
400G Migration Benefits: 4x 100G to 1x 400G
Before, a 400G solution is performed through four individual links of 100G to get an aggregated 400G data rate. It does solve the bandwidth-hungry applications among telecom service providers, large enterprises and data centers. However, the IEEE 400GbE standard makes 400G in a single port feasible and greatly reduces the cost compared to 4 100G ports. This evolution delivers management efficiency, cost-saving and long-term benefits for the networking system.
The total bandwidth per 1RU is leveraged from 3.2-3.6T to 12.8-14.4T / RU while upgrading from 100G to 400G.
The QSFP-DD cage in system equipment enables a max of 36 ports in a 1U rack space, which provides a highly compact ToR switch to be connected to multiple spine switches.
A 1x 400G solution saves ¾ fiber links compared to the legacy 4x 100G solution to access 400G bandwidth.
The overall system cost is largely reduced with a single 400G port than 4 100G ports, including lower power consumption, cost per bit, higher density and operation expense.
Explore QSFPTEK 400G Portfolio
400G QSFP-DD Transceivers
QT provides a full range of 400G transceivers based on the QSFP-DD form factor. The types are specified with distinct parameters to meet different applications. Factors to consider when choosing include connector type, connectivity distance, transmission media, etc. The most popular models are shown in the table below. They support digital diagnostic monitoring (DDM) and can be customized to be compatible with multiple vendors.
400G DAC/AOC Cables
If 400G transceivers and cables are not listed above, please contact email@example.com to get a quote.