QSFP-DD plans to increase pluggable module speeds to 400 Gbps

  • March 31, 2016
  • News

March 31, 2016 – The QSFP-DD Multi Source Agreement (MSA) Group announced a plan to develop high-speed, double-density quad small form factor pluggable (QSFP-DD) interfaces. The primary objective of the MSA Group is to define the specifications and promote industry adoption of the QSFP-DD.

According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast, factors expected to drive exponential traffic growth include global increases in Internet users and machine-to-machine (M2M) connections, faster broadband speeds, and the adoption of advanced video services. The development of QSFP-DD will address this increased global bandwidth consumption by enabling very high bandwidth interfaces.

The QSFP-DD interface expands on the QSFP pluggable form factor, a widely adopted four-lane electrical interface used across Ethernet switches that enables interconnection between switches or to servers. QSFP’s four electrical lanes operate at 10 Gigabit per second (Gbps) or 25 Gbps, providing solutions for 40 Gbps or 100 Gbps aggregate. The QSFP-DD pluggable form factor’s electrical interfaces will employ eight lanes that operate up to 25 Gbps NRZ modulation or 50 Gbps PAM4 modulation, providing solutions up to 200 Gbps or 400 Gbps aggregate. This can enable up to 14.4 Tbps aggregate bandwidth in a single switch slot and address rapid datacenter traffic growth.

Systems designed to support QSFP-DD modules will also be backwards compatible, allowing them to support the existing QSFP family of modules. This will provide a high degree of flexibility to end users and system designers.

The QSFP-DD MSA Group is addressing the technical challenges of achieving a double-density interface and ensuring mechanical, electrical, thermal and signal-integrity interoperability for module components produced by different manufacturers. This effort enables faster implementation and easier operation of the QSFP-DD pluggable interface in networking equipment.

With its ability to quadruple aggregate switch bandwidth while maintaining port density, QSFP-DD will play a pivotal role in enabling the networking industry to support continuing growth in network bandwidth demand.

The MSA founder-promoters include: Broadcom, Brocade, Cisco, Finisar, Foxconn Interconnect Technology, Intel, Juniper Networks, Lumentum, Luxtera, Mellanox Technologies, Molex, Oclaro, and TE Connectivity.

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