May 06

How to Deploy 10G, 40G, 100G in the Same Network

In 2010, 10G SFP+ became the primary equipment interface in data center applications. However, jump to 2017, as demand for greater bandwidth shows no signs of slowing, 40G and 100G transceiver shipments saw a whopping increase. While shipments of 40G and 100G modules are on the rise, the large majority of data center networks don’t undergo a whole replacement of 10G device with 40G or 100G device. Instead, many typically deploy necessary equipment to achieve the coexistence of 10G, 40G, and 100G in the same network. Read this post, and you will get detailed solution.

QSFP+ 40G to 10G

In the following scenario, an upgraded 40G switch is networked to existing 10G servers with a 1×24-fiber to 3×8-fiber MTP conversion cable. At the switch, a cassette combines three 40G ports (QSFP 8-fiber) on the 24-fiber trunk. In the server cabinet, each 40G port is segregated into 10G LC connections to support server connectivity.

QSFP+ 40G to 10G

Note: in this architecture, if you have existing 12-fiber MTP trunks, you can use a cassette with two 12-fiber MTP inputs that breakout into 3×8-fiber MTP strands, instead of deploying a new 24-fiber MTP trunk cable. However, if you have to move to denser and more complicated applications, the 24-fiber MTP solution makes for easier migration.

CFP2 100G Port (10×10)

Like the previous example, the following figure 2 also shows a similar scenario in existing 10G servers, but it uses 100Gbase-SR10 ports on the switch, which requires a 24-fiber connector to drive the 10×10 transceiver port. Instead of breaking into 8-fiber connections, it uses 24-fiber MTP patch cord from the switch to the patch panel in the top of the rack. A 24-fiber MTP trunk connects the switch and server cabinet. The MTP cassette at the top of the server cabinet converts the 100G port into ten individual 10G port with LC connectors.

CFP2 100G port (10x10)

Note: As in the figure 1, in this scenario, if you already have two 12-fiber MTP trunks, you can use 12-fiber MTP adapter panel, then a 2×12-fiber to 1×24-fiber MTP harness cable could be used at the switch to build the same channel.

New Installation for 40G/100G Deployment

Figure 3 shows an example of a completely new installation, using 40G/100G right out of the box without any 10G switches in the channel. This method has 40G or 100G port on the core switches, and 40G uplinks at the ToR switches. The patch panels at the top of each rack use MTP bulkhead, with all 8-fiber cords from one QSFP port to the next.

40G100G Deployment - New Installation

In this architecture, we can either use 24-fiber trunks that break into 40G ports, or create trunks with 8-fiber strands on every leg, with 8 fibers per 40G or 100G port, as shown in the diagram above. However, we have to pay attention that with 8-fiber legs, the density will become a challenge. In addition, 12-fiber MTP trunks are avoided in this scenario, since integrating existing 12-fiber trunks with 8-fiber connectivity on the patch cord creates fibers unused.

Deploying 10G, 40G, 100G in the same network can effectively avoid costly upgrades that require ripping out cabling and starting over with a new network architecture. This post have provided three solutions. All the devices in these three scenarios can be purchased in FS.COM. If you are interested, kindly visit FS.COM.

Apr 21

100G QSFP28 and CFP Transceiver Cabling Solutions

By the end of 2016, 100G Ethernet has been widely deployed and becomes a significant portion in data center. Many network-equipment developers are motivated to introduce 100G devices like CFP and QSFP28 modules that consumes as little real estate and power as possible, while achieving necessary price points and delivering superior performance. This post is heading to talk about these two 100G modules and their cabling solutions.

CFP: Out With the Old

Specified by MSA among competing manufacturers, CFP is the first generation 100G transceiver which is designed after the SFP interface, but is significantly larger to support 100Gbps. As we all know, the original CFP has very large size, and in order to meet the need for higher performance and higher density in data center, there is the development of CFP2 and CFP4 specification, which specify a form-factor of 1/2 and 1/4 respectively in size of the original specification. Commonly used CFP/CFP2/CFP4 transceivers are available in 100GBase-SR10 and 100GBase-LR4.

100GBase-SR10 and 100GBase-LR4 CFP

QSFP28: In With the New

QSFP28 is the latest 100G form factor, which is a high-density, high-speed product solution designed for applications in the telecommunications, data center and networking markets. It utilizes four channels of respective signals with data rates up to 25Gbps to meet 100Gbps Ethernet requirement. 100GBase-SR4 and 100GBase-LR4 are two main types of QSFP28 module. The detailed specifications of these two QSFP28s are shown in the following table.

100GBase-SR4 and 100GBase-LR4 QSFP28

100GBase-SR10 Cabling Solution

100GBase-SR10 CFP uses a 24 strand MPO cable for connectivity (10 Tx and 10 Rx with each lane providing 10Gbps, leaving 4 channels unused). It can support maximum link length up to 100m and 150m respectively on OM3 and OM4 fiber cable. 100GBase-SR10 can also be used in 10×10 Gigabit Ethernet modes along with ribbon to duplex fiber breakout cables for connectivity to ten 10GBase-SR optical interface.

100GBase-SR10 CFP Cabling Solution

100GBase-SR4 Cabling Solution

Like 100GBase-SR10, 100GBase-SR4 QSFP28 also uses laser optimized OM3 and OM4 multimode fiber for indication. But 100GBase-SR4 QSFP28 utilizes 12f MPO trunk cable for connectivity (4 Tx and 4 Rx, leaving the middle four unused), which makes it possible to reuse 40GBase-SR4 fiber assemblies when upgrade from 40G to 100G.

100GBase-SR4 QSFP28 Cabling Solution

100GBase-LR4 Cabling Solution

Both 100GBase-LR4 CFP and QSFP28 are both interfaced with LC connector. They uses WDM technologies to achieve 100G transmission over single-mode duplex LC fiber patch cable supporting the link length up to 10km.

100GBase-LR4 Cabling Solution


As the need for high bandwidth is increasing, 100G Ethernet will widespread in data center quickly. Equipped with this basic information about 100G modules and their cabling solutions, we will have little worry upgrading to 100G Ethernet.

Apr 06

100% Fiber Utilization with 2×3 MTP Conversion Cable

When faced with eight-fiber parallel applications, such as 40GBase-SR4 40 Gigabit Ethernet and 100GBase-SR4 100 Gigabit Ethernet, technicians who use conventional 12-fiber MTP cable will waste a third of the fibers in the cable plant (four fibers for transmitting and four fibers for receiving, leaving the middle four unused). To overcome this inefficiency, new 2×3 MTP conversion harness is introduced. 2×3 MTP conversion cable terminated with three 8-fiber MTP connectors on one end and two 12-fiber MTP connectors on the other end can convert the signal from three four-channel transceivers to two 12-fiber trunks, which means 100% utilization of a 12-fiber network. The following text will mainly talk about how 2×3 MTP conversion cable uses all the fibers in 10G to 40G and 40G to 40G connection.

2x3 MTP conversion cable

10G to 40G Connection With 2×3 MTP Conversion Cable

Although upgrading from 10G to 40G Ethernet becomes common in most data centers, it is still impossible to replace all the 10G devices with 40G devices for more cost consumption. There are many solutions that we have introduced in the previous articles used to connect 10G to 40G equipment. 2×3 MTP conversion cable is a cost-effective one. The scenario can be clearly see from the following image. The three 8-fiber MTP connectors terminated at the 2×3 MTP conversion cable are directly plugged into the three 40GBase-SR4 modules(100% fiber utilization), then all cable assemblies will be plugged into the QSFP+ interfaced switch. The conversion from 40G to 10G is the most important step in this connectivity. Here we may use MTP or MPO LC cassette (2x12MTP-12xLC cassette) to connect two 12-fiber MTP connectors at the other end of the conversion cable to twelve duplex LC patch cables. Then all the LC cable assemblies with 10GBase-SR modules will be directly plugged into the SFP+ port switch. The whole connection do not waste any fiber.

10G to 40G connection with 2x3 MTP conversion cable

Identifier FS.COM Products Description
A S5850-48S6Q 48x 10GbE SFP+ with 6x 40GbE QSFP+ Switch
B QSFP-SR4-40G  QSFP+ SR4 optics; 150m @ OM4 MMF, 100m@ OM3 MMF
C 2×3 MTP Conversion Cable 2xMTP to 3xMTP; 50/125μm MM (OM3)
D 2x12MTP-12xLC cassette MTP-12 to LC UPC Duplex 24 Fibers MPO/MTP Cassette, 10G OM3, Polarity A
E Duplex LC Patch Cable Duplex LC; OM3
F SFP-10G-SR SFP SR optics; 300m over OM3 MMF
G S3800-24F4S 20x 100/1000Base SFP with 4x 1GE Combo and 4x 10GE SFP+ Switch
40G to 40G Connection With 2×3 MTP Conversion Cable

In this scenario, the three 8-fiber MTP connectors at the end of the conversion cable are directly plugged into the 40G module, then into 40G switch. In order to make sure all the fibers can be used in this 40G to 40G connectivity, we may use a adapter panel to connect the two 12-fiber MTP connectors of the conversion cable to the two 12-fiber MTP connectors attached at the end of the other 2×3 MTP conversion cable. Then the three 8-fiber MTP harness end with 40G modules will be plugged into the QSFP+ port switch. If you feel confused with my sentences, more clear description is shown in the image below.

40G to 40G connection with 2x3 MTP conversion cable

Identifier FS.COM Products Description
A S5850-48S6Q 48x 10GbE SFP+ with 6x 40GbE QSFP+ Switch
B QSFP-SR4-40G  QSFP+ SR4 optics; 150m @ OM4 MMF, 100m@ OM3 MMF
C 2×3 MTP Conversion Cable 2xMTP to 3xMTP; 50/125μm MM (OM3)
D MTP Adapter Panel Fiber Adapter Panel with 4 MTP(12/24F) Key-up/Key-down Adapters
E 2×3 MTP Conversion Cable 2xMTP to 3xMTP; 50/125μm MM (OM3)
F QSFP-SR4-40G QSFP+ SR4 optics; 150m @ OM4 MMF, 100m@ OM3 MMF
G S5850-48S6Q 48x 10GbE SFP+ with 6x 40GbE QSFP+ Switch

You can gain great value to deploy 2×3 MTP conversion cable, which does not add any connectivity to the link and it allows 100 percent fiber utilization and constitute the most commonly deployed method. However, you have to notice that the use of the 2×3 MTP conversion cable assembly at the core spine switch is not desirable, because patching across blades and chassis is a common practice.

Mar 31

What Should We Prepare for 40/100G Migration?

As data center of all types continue to grow in terms of traffic and size, 40G and 100G Ethernet technology is no longer a pipe dream—it is well on the way and set to become the new standard for high bandwidth and intelligent architecture. Faced with this upcoming trend in data center, what preparation should we do? Read this post, and you will get some details.

LC or MPO Interfaced 40/100G Modules?

Normally, there are two interfaces that 40/100G transceivers use: LC and MPO. LC interfaced modules will be used over single-mode fiber for long distance data transmission, while MPO interfaced modules are commonly deployed with multimode fiber for short distance. However, there are also some transceivers not following this rule. For example, 40GBase-UNIV uses duplex LC connector, but it only supports 150 meters over OM3 or OM4 fiber, and 500 meters over single-mode fiber as we have mentioned in the previous post. Besides, 100GBase-PSM4 is a single-mode module, but it has MPO interface to achieve data transmission. Choosing LC or MPO interfaced 40/100G transceiver totally relies on the transmission distance that your practical application requires.

Type Fiber and Distance Connector
40GBase-SR4 100m(OM3) 150m(OM4) MPO(male/female)
40GBase-LR4 10km(SMF) Duplex LC
40GBase-UNIV 150m(OM3) 150m(OM4) 500m(SMF) Duplex LC
100GBase-SR4 100m(OM3) 150m(OM4) MPO (male/female)
100GBase-LR4 10km(SMF) Duplex LC
100GBase-PSM4 500m(SMF) MPO (male/female)
Keep Budgets Down with Pre-terminated Cabling System

Cost is always the most important factor that every IT managers and ordinary users will concern. Since the technology for 40G and 100G is not as mature as 10G, devices used in these high-speed networks are more expensive, so we should keep our budget down as possible as we can in every aspect in the process of 40/100G migration. Then pre-terminated cabling system is a good choice.

pre-terminated assemblies for 40/100G

Pre-terminated cabling system contains factory manufactured cables and modular components with connectors already attached. It comes in a number of different forms, from connectorized fan-outs and attached or discreet cassette modules to cable bundles utilizing both fiber and copper with protective pulling grips installed over the connectors at one end. With these pre-terminated cabling, the need for labor to make terminations on site will be mitigated. And fewer labor means more savings on the labor bill. As report indicates, using the pre-terminated approach can achieve a saving of 57 percent.

Punch Down Solution   Pre-terminated Cabling
Material Cost              1X            3.2X
Labor Cost              2X            1X
Total              1X            1.3X
Installation Time              10 Hrs            5 Hrs
Future-Proof Your Network with 24-Fiber Infrastructure

In many 40/100G cases, 12-fiber system is more recommended to use between core switched and the equipment distribution area in the data center, but actually, if you want to future-proof your network, try 24-fiber infrastructure. Why? Let’s have a quick comparison.

For typically 40GbE applications, the 4 right and 4 left fibers of a 12 fiber MPO connector are used for transmit and receive while the inner 4 fibers are left unused. For 24-fiber 40GbE application, all fibers are utilized in the MPO plug. 24 fibers, divided by the 8 fibers per circuit that are required, yields 3 full 40GbE connectors. For 100GbE applications, if we choose 12-fiber MPO connector, we need two connector and two MPO trunk cables, the middle 20 fibers are used for transmit and receive 10Gb/s while the 2 fibers on the right are left unused. However, in this case, we just need one MPO 24 connector and one 24f trunk cable. As data centers continue to be crowded with more cabling, with 24-fiber system, about 1-1/2 times more pathway space could be saved.

24 fiber system for 40/100G


With the rapid increase in bandwidth consumption, the migration from 10GbE to 40/100GbE is inevitable. Proper interfaced transceiver, pre-terminated cabling system and 24-fiber infrastructure are required to build a cost-effective and high density 40/100G data center. If you’re interested in the components that we have mentioned above, kindly visit FS.COM.

Mar 22


Due to the ever-increasing requirement for higher speed transmission, 40G Ethernet is introduced to networking world, and it will gradually dominates the market. Many vendors have released different kinds of devices to support 40GbE, among which 40G QSFP+ module is the most popular and available for short distance or long distance data transmission. There are two variants short distance QSFP+ modules: QSFP-40G-SR4, and QSFP-40G-UNIV, what are the differences among these two types? This passage will tell you and give more information.

Differences in Interfaces and Transmission Media

Commonly, for QSFP+ modules, there are mainly two connector interfaces: MPO/MTP and duplex LC(Note: LC interfaced QSFP+ uses serial transmission, while MPO/MTP interfaced QSFP+ uses parallel transmission. In serial transmission, bits are sent simultaneously on different channels within the same cable, and in parallel transmission, bits are sent sequentially on the same channel). QSFP-40G-SR4 uses MPO/MTP to achieve data transmission over multimode fiber. However, in order to avoid wasting cost and deployment time when installing in different cabling structure, duplex LC interfaced QSFP-40G-UNIV is designed to be used in both single-mode and multimode links without adding any hardware or software.

different interface between QSFP-40G-SR4 and QSFP-40G-UNIV

Differences in Working Principle

For MPO/MTP interfaced 40GBase-SR4, it offers 4 independent full-duplex transmit and receive channels, each capable of running up to 10G data rates per channel, achieving the total 40G data rates. These modules are often used with 12-fiber MTP trunk cable, four transmitting and four receiving, leaving the middle four unused. For duplex LC interfaced 40GBase-UNIV, it also uses four transmitters and four receivers but has built in optical multiplexing and de-multiplexing, which results in a duplex connector and hence operates over the same duplex fiber infrastructure as 10GBASE-SR.

different working principle of QSFP-40G-SR4 and QSFP-40G-UNIV

Differences in Transmission Distance

40GBase-SR4 module can support link lengths of 100 meters and 150 meters, respectively, on laser-optimized mutimode fibers, and it can also be used in a 4x10G mode interoperability with 10GBase-SR interfaces up to 100 and 150 meters on OM3 and OM4 fibers, respectively. 40GBase-UNIV can support the same transmission distance over OM3 and OM4 fibers, but it can also achieve link lengths of up to 500 meters over single-mode fiber.

Differences in Cost Consumption

40GBase-UNIV is much more expensive than 40GBase-SR4. Take FS.COM for example, 40GBase-UNIV is $340, while 40GBase-SR4 is $55. Besides the price of the unit itself, we should also take the whole deployment cost consumption into consideration. Migrating from 10G to 40G is inevitable. The existing 10G network uses two fibers for dual transmission. But most 40G network uses 12-fiber MTP based fiber optic cable for dual-way transmission over multimode fibers, which means if we use 40GBase-SR4 with MTP port for 10G to 40G migration, more optical fibers will be added and the cabling infrastructure will be changed. However, with 40GBase-UNIV module, it can support the same or longer transmission distance as the 40GBase-SR4 does, but it uses two strands of dual-way transmission like most 10G network, which will keep the existing 10G network when upgrade to 40G, greatly saving cost and time.

10G to 40G migration with QSFP-40G-SR4 and QSFP-40G-UNIV


We have introduced QSFP-40G-SR4 and QSFP-40G-UNIV modules for short distances transmission. These two module types have different features. Choosing which one totally depends on your practical applications and budgets. FS.COM has plenty of QSFP-40G-SR4 and QSFP-40G-UNIV optics in stock. For more information, please check FS.COM.

Mar 07

Can We Use Base-8 and Base-12 Together?

Although 10 Gigabit Ethernet is still marketing its way into the data centers, the need for faster data transfer rates is relentless, which means the migration to 40 Gigabit Ethernet is becoming inescapably compelling. For 40G Ethernet network, there are mainly two connectivity methods, one is Base-8, and the other is Base-12. Base-12 connectivity has had its place in the data center, while Base-8 is a new connectivity that could gain widespread acceptance in the next few years. With these two methods existing in 40G Ethernet network, there comes problems: Which one is more suitable for 40G network, or can we both use these two methods in 40G network? Read this articles, and you will get the detailed answers.

Base-12 Dominates the Market

Base-2 connectivity is the most commonly used one in the past, but as the data center grew to thousands of fiber ports engaged, stringing two-fiber patch cords across all corners of the data center will result in an unmanageable, and unreliable mess. So Base-12 connectivity is introduced. It is designed to develop a modular, high density, structured cabling system which could be deployed in data centers quickly, while also maximizing port densities within the rack space. In this connectivity method, all the fiber optic cables are based on an increment of 12 fiber, like 12-fiber or 24-fiber MTP trunk cable.

Base-12 system using a 24-fiber trunk cable

Base-8 Shines the Light

Base-12 connectivity is common in data center, but here comes a problem when installed it in a parallel system. For example, if we need to use 40GBase-SR4 optics implemented in a 12-fiber infrastructure, four fibers for transmit, and four fibers for receive, leaving four fibers unused per connection, this will lead to a significant and costly loss in fiber network utilization. But Base-8 can be a more cost-effective option for end-to-end MPO to MPO channels and architectures. With 8-fiber infrastructure, the 40GBase-SR4 module will use all the 8 fibers. Base-8 connectivity makes use of fiber links in increment of 8 versus 12. The 12-fiber trunk cables are replaced with trunk cables in increment of 8: 8-fiber, 16-fiber, or 24-fiber trunk cables, etc.

Base-8 system using a 24-fiber trunk cable

Can We Use Base-8 and Base-12 Together?

Although using Base-8 connectivity could decrease fiber consuming in supporting 40G data rates, in fact, in many cases, Base-8 connectivity isn’t a universal solution, and Base-12 may still be more cost-effective. So is it possible to have both Base-8 and Base-12 connectivity in the same data center? The answer could be “Yes” or “No”.

Base-8 and Base-12 Fiber Links Cannot Be Mixed and Matched

It is never possible to directly mix the components of Base-8 and Base-12 connectivity, or plug a Base-8 trunk into a 12-fiber module. Because a Base-12 trunk cable normally has unpinned MTP connector on both ends, and requires the use of pinned 12-fiber breakout modules, while a Base-8 trunk cable is manufactured with pinned MTP connectors at both ends (pinned and unpinned MTP connectors are shown below). So if we plug a Base-8 trunk into a 12-fiber breakout module, just like trying to mate two pinned connectors together, this connection will definitely not work, and vice verse.

pinned and unpinned MTP connector

Base-8 and Base-12 Can be Maintained in the Same Data Center Separately

It is possible to deploy both Base-8 and Base-12 connectivity within the same data center, just as long as the links are separate. Since Base-8 and Base-12 components are not interchangeable, during managing the data center physical layer infrastructure, we should do careful management and labeling practice to ensure we will not mix or mismatch them.


Base-12 connectivity has dominated the 40G network market for years, while the Base-8 connectivity is an additional option in the network designer’s tool kit to ensure that data centers have the most cost-effective, future-proof network available. When using Base-8 and Base-12 in network, make sure that you need to carefully manage and label them, and that the components in Base-8 and Base-12 won’t be mixed.