Considering Three Aspects Before Migrating to 40G

The dramatic growth of bandwidth requirements in data centers has led to the worldwide use of higher-performance optical products for network scalability, management, flexibility and reliability. Currently, 10GbE (Gigabit Ethernet) can’t meet the increasing needs of high speed transmission well for such applications as Big Data, cloud and Internet of Things being introduced in many industries. As such, network migration to 40/100G has already been the industry consensus.

But as the cost for 100G is far beyond what most enterprises can afford and the technology for 100G is still not mature enough, 40G has been a better solution for its lower cost and maturer technologies compared to 100G. Nowadays, some manufacturers are battling for the 40G market, which drives down the 40G deployment price, leading to the even wider deployment of 40G infrastructure. When migrating from 10G to 40G, three aspects should be considered: fiber optic transceiver, transmission media, and pre-terminated MPO assemblies.

Fiber Optic Transceiver

For any telecommunication network, fiber optic interconnection is of great importance. Photoelectric conversion is a necessary part in fiber optic network. The function of fiber optic transceiver is photoelectric conversion, which makes it one of the most commonly used components in the data center.

As for 40G transceivers, two different package forms are available: QSFP+ (Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable Plus) and CFP (C Form-factor Pluggable), with the former more widely-used than the latter. A single 40G fiber optic transceiver may not be expensive. But what a medium-sized data center needs is thousands of optical transceivers, meaning a large sum of money to be spent. In such a case, third party transceivers that are compatible with a variety types of switches come into point. They have the same performances that the original brand transceivers have, but cost less money. When selecting 40G compatible transceivers, cost and quality are very important. Choosing the compatible 40G transceivers from Fiberstore can ensure 100% compatibility and interoperability. The picture below shows the testing of Cisco compatible QSFP-40G-SR4 transceivers on a Cisco switch to ensure its compatibility and interoperability.

QSFP-40G-SR4, under test

Transmission Media

Allowing for several situations that may exist, the IEEE 802.3ba specified the different transmission media for 40G links, including the following listed media:

  • 40GBASE-CR4: 40Gb/s Ethernet over copper cable in short transmission distance.
  • 40GBASE-SR4 (eg. QFX-QSFP-40G-SR4): 40Gb/s Ethernet over four short-range multi-mode fiber (MMF) optic cables.
  • 40GBASE-LR4: 40Gb/s Ethernet over four wavelengths carried by a signal long-distance single-mode fiber (SMF) optic cable.

There also exists hybrid cabling solutions for 40G applications, like QSFP to 4SFP+ breakout cabling assembly. Take QSFP-4SFP10G-CU5M for example, this product listed in Fiberstore is the QSFP+ to 4 10GBASE-CU SFP+ passive direct-attach copper transceiver assembly with 5-meter reach.

QSFP to 4SFP+ breakout cabling assembly, for short reach, 5m

Question occurs: fiber optic cable or copper cable, which should be used in 40G migration? Copper is cheaper. But it can only support 40G transmission limited to several meters. SMF supports the longest 40G transmission distance up to 40 km. As for MMF, OM3 and OM4 are suggested to support short distance transmission. The longest distance that OM3 can support for 40G transmission is 100 m. OM4 can support a longest 40G transmission distance of 150 m. The selection of transmission media should depend on the specific applications.

MPO Assemblies for 40G

The IEEE 802.3ba standard also specifies multi-fiber push-on (MPO) connectors for standard-length MMF connectivity. Most of the 40G multi-mode Ethernet transceivers are based on the MPO technology. It is wise to increase fiber optic density by using MPO technology, but a new problem arises. As the fiber number increased, the cabling and splicing difficulty in data center increased. Unlike traditional two-strand fiber connections, MPO connectors cannot be field terminated easily. Thus, most of the data centers choose the pre-terminated MPO assemblies in 40G deployment, which is more reliable and can save more human labor. Before cabling, determine the cabling lengths and customized pre-terminated MPO assemblies with manufacturers would save a lot of time and money.

Conclusion

Using compatible third party transceivers of high quality for 40G links saves a lot of money. Taking specific applications and characteristics of 40G transmission media into consideration can also help you to save cost. Pre-terminated MPO assemblies are necessary for flexible and manageable cabling in 40G deployment. With these information in mind, cost-effective 40G migration is at the corner.

Overview of 40/100GbE Terminations

Today’s data centers growth is placing increasing demands on the networking infrastructure. For some enterprises, existing 1GbE connections can’t support the growing business requirements well very, not to say 100Mbps connections. In order to accommodate these demands, it’s imperative to upgrade the data center network architecture to 40 or 100 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) connections. This 40/100GbE network design helps to support not only the current growth, but also the increasing demands in the future.

IEEE 802.3ba 40G and 100G Standard

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.3 working group is concerned with the maintenance and extension of the Ethernet data communications standard. And 802.3ba is the designation given to the higher speed Ethernet task force to modify the 802.3 standard to support higher speeds than 10Gbit/s, that is 40/100G in 2010. This 802.3ba 40/100G standard encompasses a number of different Ethernet physical layer (PHY) specifications which are supported by means of pluggable modules, like Quad Small-Form-Factor Pluggable (QSFP) and C Form-Factor Pluggable (CFP). As for transmission medium, the transport speeds at 40/100Gbit/s use two methods: parallel optics and copper cables, with the fiber optics solutions allowing more flexibility and greater distance reach.

40GbE Terminations

In most cases, 40GbE connections use a QSFP+ transceiver terminated to receive the multi-fiber push-on/multiplex pass-through (MPO/MPT) trunk. That is, the short-range QSFP+ transceivers (eg. QFX-QSFP-40G-SR4) use multi-mode MPO trunks to establish 40G links. During this link establishment, polarity becomes a consideration when implementing 40GbE switch-to-switch interconnects over multi-strand multi-mode fiber (MMF). Method B polarity is recommended for the functional link.

QSFP+ transceivers are also able to run on single-mode fiber (SMF) for long reach. These links are Little Connector (LC) terminated and can run up to 40km, mainly used for 40GbE interbuilding connections. Take QSFP-40G-ER4 for example, this 40GBASE-ER4 transceiver supports link lengths up to 40km over SMF with duplex LC connectors.

The QSFP+ transceiver can also be used for 40GbE to 4x10GbE partitioned applications, that is QSFP+ to 4SFP+ fan-out cabling assemblies. One end of the connection is terminated using a MPO/MPT configuration with four individual pairs terminated with LC connectors at the other end. The image below just shows the QSFP+ to 4SFP+ Active Optic Cable (AOC) assembly.

QSFP+ to 4SFP+ AOC, 40GbE to 4x10GbE partitioned application

100GbE Terminations

100GbE connections use a CFP transceiver. Two CFP options are dominant in the industry: CFP2 and CFP4. The primary differences between the two are physical density and transmit/receive lane configurations. More specifically, CFP2 supports 100GBASE-SR10, 100BASE-LR4, and 100GBASE-ER4 optical interfaces, while CFP4 doubles the port density on the line card and supports 100GBASE-SR4, 100GBASE-LR4, and 100GBASE-ER4 optical interfaces.

CFP options, for 100G transmission

40/100GbE Termination Benefits

The 40/100GbE network infrastructure provides the following benefits:

  • Reduced data center complexity: As virtualization increases, the use of fewer physical servers and switches has been made possible by 40/100GbE network infrastructure.
  • Reduced total cost: Since 40/100GbE network system simplifies the local area network (LAN) and cable infrastructures, the potential cost reduction in virtualization environment is also accessible. Besides, the 40/100GbE network infrastructure requires fewer data center space, power, and cooling resources.
  • Increased Productivity: Faster connections and reduced network latency provide network designers with faster workload completion times and improved productivity.

Upgrading network architecture to support speeds greater than 10GbE, that is 40/100GbE, is essential in optimizing data center infrastructure, giving a hand in moving quickly in respond to business needs. At the same time, the services and value brought by information technology itself can also be enhanced.

Conclusion

The high-performance 40/100GbE network architecture simplifies the cabling infrastructure and reduces per-server total cost of ownership, capable of allowing high speeds at 40/100Gbit/s. Fiberstore offers a large selection of 40/100G optical modules, as well as 40/100G fiber optic-based cables and copper cables. For more information about 40/100GbE solutions, you can visit Fiberstore.

Pluggable Transceivers Used in Data Centers

Today’s data centers are going through unprecedented growth and innovation as emerging optical standards and customers’ demands for higher-level networking services converge. Bandwidth, port density and low-power demands come as the main drivers that populate the deployment of fiber optic networks. And in fiber optic network implementations, pluggable transceivers provide a modular approach to safe-proof network design and become the ideal choice to meet the ever-changing network needs in data centers. This text just mainly introduces pluggable transceivers deployed in data centers.

A Quick Question: What Are Pluggable Transceivers?

Pluggable transceivers are transceivers that can be plugged into routers, switches, transport gear, or pretty much any network device to transmit and receive signals. They are hot swappable while the device is operating, standardized to be interchangeable among vendors, capable of operating over many different physical medium and at different distances. For instance, pluggable transceivers can work through copper, through fiber optic cables available in both single-mode fibers (SMFs) and multi-mode fibers (MMFs), realizing 100m, 300m, 10km, 80km distance reach, etc. In addition, these hot-swappable transceivers are also able to support a wide variety of speeds, like 1Gbit/s, 10Gbit/s, 40Gbit/s, 100Gbit/s, or even higher.

Pluggable Transceiver – Standards & Protocols

Just as what has been mentioned above, pluggable transceivers are interchangeable. These interchangeable transceivers allow a single device to operate with a wide selection of protocols and functions. Listed below are commonly-used pluggable transceiver standards and protocols.

SFP—The small form-factor pluggable (SFP) supports a wide range of protocols and rates, such as Fast and Gigabit Ethernet (GbE), Fibre Channel (FC), and synchronous optical networking (SONET) for dual and bidirectional transmission. SFP medium are available in SMF, MMF, and copper. For MMF media, there exists 1000BASE-SX port type used in 1GbE applications. Take J4858C for example, this HP 1000BASE-SX SFP can realize a maximum of 550m reach at 1.25 Gbit/s over MMF.

J4858C, HP 1000BASE-SX SFP

SFP+—The enhanced small form-factor pluggable (SFP+) is an enhanced version of the SFP, supporting data rates up to 16Gbit/s. It was first published on May 9, 2006, and version 4.1 was published on July 6, 2009, supporting 8Gbit/s FC, 10GbE and Optical Transport Network standard OTU2. SFP+ is a popular industry format supported by many network component vendors.

XFP—The XFP (10G SFP) is a standard for transceivers for high-speed computer network and telecommunication links that use optical fiber. Its principal applications include 10GbE, 10Gbit/s FC, SONET at OC-192 rates, synchronous optical networking STM-64, 10 Gbit/s Optical Transport Network (OTN) OTU-2, and parallel optics links.

QSFP—The Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable (QSFP) is a also a compact, hot-pluggable transceiver used for data communications applications. QSFP+ transceivers are designed to carry Serial Attached SCSI, 40GbE (100G using QSFP28), QDR (40G) and FDR (56G) Infiniband, and other communications standards. They increase the port-density by 3x-4x compared to SFP+ modules. In 40GbE applications, these QSFP+ transceivers establish 40G links with distances up to 300m over MMF, and 40km over SMF. QSFP can also take copper as its media option when the required distance is short. Like QSFP-4SFP10G-CU5M, this product is the QSFP to 4 10GBASE-CU SFP+ direct attach passive copper cable assembly designed for relatively short reach, that is 5m. The image below just shows what this QSFP-4SFP10G-CU5M product looks like.

QSFP-4SFP10G-CU5M, QSFP to 4 10GBASE-CU SFP+

CFP—The C form-factor pluggable (CFP) is a multi-source agreement (MSA) to produce a common form-factor for the transmission of high-speed digital signals. The c stands for the Latin letter C used to express the number 100 (centum), since the standard was primarily developed for 100 Gigabit Ethernet systems.

Conclusion

Pluggable transceivers offer distance extension solutions, allowing flexibility in network reach and easy replacement in the event of component failures. They are the answer to today’s network architecture and performance demands. Fiberstore supplies various pluggable transceivers supporting different speeds, like SFP (J4858C), SFP+, XFP, QSFP, CFP, etc. Additionally, their transmission medium available in fiber and copper can also be found in Fiberstore. For more information about pluggable transceivers, you can visit Fiberstore.

Transceivers – How They Help Support Big Data in Data Centers?

Today’s data centers need to better adapt to virtualized workloads and the ongoing enterprise transition to hybrid clouds, since business owners always rely on big date technology to get timely information and make immediate decisions. Transceivers, one of the most critical designs in telecommunication field, are related to the promotion of big data in data centers, helping business owners get their data in real-time. This just explains the importance of being aware of the three ways in which transceivers help support big data in data centers.

Transceivers Facilitate High Speed Data Transfers

A growing number of enterprises are transiting to private and hybrid clouds, which drives the bandwidth and connectivity requirements. As high-speed data carrier, transceivers facilitate high speed data transfers. Enterprises that want to achieve faster transmission have to choose transceivers with high quality. There are many types of transceivers available in the market, such as SFP, SFP+, XFP, QSFP, etc. Each type of transceiver is designed to support different data rate. Capable of transmitting data at 10Gbit/s, 40Gbit/s, 100Gbit/s or even 120 Gbit/s, transceivers can realize the high-speed data transfer, ensuring bandwidth upgrades in enterprise data centers. Take 10GBASE SFP+ modules for example, these hot-pluggable transceivers (eg.SFP-10G-SR) deployed for 10 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) applications, though designed physically small, can handle fast transmission with the maximum data rate of 10.3125Gbps.

SFP-10G-SR, handles fast transmission

Transceivers Promote Data Transmission Process in Data Centers

Enterprise that need to manage big data can benefit from the use of transceivers. Data centers are places where enterprises store the barrage of data that comes from their offices. The information is usually stored in the cloud where employees and executives have access to the information in determining the actions they need to make in their organizations. The data centers need to transmit data accurately, securely, and rapidly. Transceiver technology can promote the data transmission process in data centers.

Transceivers Promote Data Transmission Process in Data Centers

Transceivers Support Big Data in Data Centers

Data centers have experienced the exponential growth as the demand for big data increases. Greater bandwidth is necessary to support many applications, like video download, live online show, and other types of data. Transceivers are a necessity in ensuring that the data is transmitted securely, expeditiously, and accurately via the fiber. Transceivers are used in conjunction with multiplexers and switches. When they work together, managing network capacity becomes an easy task.

Additionally, transceivers also have a role in companies’ sales. It’s known that big data can be accessible on mobile devices through the cloud. Transceivers are capable of facilitating the transmission from wireless cell tower base stations. Company employees like salesmen are always on-the-go to make sales, and to have access to information is really important. When they are able to obtain valuable information from the mobile devices which record the data, they can make decisions faster, thus more apt to make a sale for their companies.

Transceiver technology increases the speed of data transmission through the fiber deployed by enterprises in data centers. Executives can make faster decisions and maintain a competitive advantage when they have access to getting information timely. Transceivers help to support big data in data centers, and play a really important role in executives’ decision-making process. Without the use of transceivers, it’s impossible to transmit data at high speed over significant distances.

Conclusion

It’s necessary to mention that there are more than three ways that transceivers help support big data in data centers. Only three popular ways are discussed in this article. Transceivers, a key component designed in relation to the promotion of big data in data centers, are instrumental in managing big data. Fiberstore, as a professional transceiver supplier, several types of transceivers supporting different data rates, like SFP+ (SFP-10G-SR mentioned above), XFP (eg. XFP-10G-MM-SR), QSFP, etc. You can visit Fiberstore for more information about transceivers with high quality and competitive prices.

40G Transceivers: CFP, QSFP and CXP

In fiber optic communication, 40GbE transceivers are being developed along several standard form factors, such as CFP (C form-factor pluggable) transceiver, QSFP/QSFP+ (quad small-form-factor pluggable) transceiver and CXP optical transceiver. This article will introduce the three types of optical transceivers to further your understanding of 40G optics.

CFP Transceiver

CFP, short for C form-factor pluggable, is compliant with multi-source agreement (MSA) to produce a common form-factor for the transmission of high-speed digital signals. The C in the acronym “CFP” stands for the Latin letter C, which refers to the number 100 (centum), since the standard was primarily designed for 100 Gigabit Ethernet systems. In fact, CFP also supports the 40GbE. When talking about CFP, we always define it as multipurpose CFP.

CFP

The CFP form factor, defined in the MSA, supports both singlemode and multimode fiber and a variety of data rates, protocols, and link lengths, including all the physical media-dependent (PMD) interfaces contained in the IEEE 802.3ba Task Force. At 40GbE, target optical interfaces include the 40GBase-SR4 for 100 m and the 40GBase-LR4 for 10 km. There are three PMDs for 100 GbE: 100GBase-SR10 for 100 m, 100GBase-LR4 for 10 km, and 100GBase-ER4 for 40 km.

QSFP/QSFP+ Transceiver

QSFP/QSFP+ transceiver (Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable Plus) is a wildly used transceiver interfaces in data communications, connecting a network device motherboard (e.g. a switch, router, media converter and the like) with a fiber optic cable. It is a industry format that is jointly developed and supported by many network component vendors, such as Dell QSFP+, Juniper QSFP+, Mellanox QSFP+ and HP QSFP+. Additionally, QSFP supports both copper and optical cabling solutions.

Compared with the CXP, the QSFP (quad small-form-factor pluggable) is similar in size (shown as the following picture). It provides four transmitting and four receiving lanes to support 40GbE applications for multimode fiber and copper today and may serve single-mode in the future. Another future role for the QSFP may be to serve 100GE when lane rates increase to 25Gb/s.

QSFP-CXP

CXP Transceiver

“C” in the acronym CXP represents for 12 in hex, and the Roman number “X” means that each channel has a transmission rate of 10 Gbps. “P” refers to pluggable that supports the hot swap. Thus, CXP is a hot-pluggable transceiver with data rate up to 12×10 Gbps.

CXP is developed for the clustering and high-speed computing markets, so we also call it high-density CXP. the CFP is able to work with multimode fiber for short-reach applications, but it is not really optimized in size for the multimode fiber market, most notably because the multimode fiber market requires high faceplate density. The CXP was created to satisfy the high-density requirements of the data center. It is featured with the parallel interconnections for 12x QDR InfiniBand (120 Gbps), 100 GbE, and proprietary links between systems collocated in the same facility.

As stated above, these 40G optics have been very popular in the market, and they are able to keep the momentum in the future for 100G transmission.