Optical modules bridge compatibility gap in data centres

Avago’s latest fiber optic module solutions promise to enable more efficient switching and greater bandwidth in data centers. A new pluggable, parallel optical QSFP+ eSR4 transceiver is the first module that can address both 40 Gigabit (40G) and 10 Gigabit (10G) Ethernet applications with a verified link distance of 400 meters. This gives data center operators the flexibility to reuse the current 10G wired infrastructure when upgrading to 40G. The Avago QSFP+ eSR4 modules integrate four 10G lanes in each direction to increase bandwidth within a line card by more than three times while using 50 percent less power than that of a one-lane SFP+ module.

The growth of server virtualization and cloud computing, as well as the trend toward network convergence, has increased demand for faster and more efficient data center networks.  As of today, 10G switches consist of 48 10G-channels per line card, constrained by the physical size of the SFP+ form factor. To accommodate the need for more bandwidth, customers can use Avago QSFP+ eSR4 modules to develop top-of-rack, blade and modular switches with up to 44 QSFP+ ports per line card. This provides 176 10G-channels with QSFP+ instead of the 48 SFP+ channels available today.  QSFP+ eSR4 modules can be used for both high-density 10G and 40G aggregated Ethernet applications, providing more flexibility to connect to different levels of switches, reducing latency, and increasing port density with lower power consumption per lane.

Avago also announced production of its QSFP+ iSR4 modules, which enable interoperability to 10G SFP+ links up to 100 meters using OM3 multimode fiber (MMF) and 150 meters using OM4 MMF. The QSFP+ eSR4 version extends this reach to 300 meters with OM3 MMF and 400 meters using OM4 MMF. Avago expects to sample the QSFP+ eSR4 modules by this summer.

Legacy 10G Ethernet switches are based on 10GBASE-SR specifications, using form factors such as SFP+, XFP and X2, which are not reliably interoperable with standard QSFP+  module 40GBASE-SR specifications. The Avago QSFP+ iSR4 and eSR4 modules are both interoperable with all of these form factors. Additionally, the modules both incorporate the unparalleled reliability of Avago 850-nm Vertical-Cavity Surface Emitting Laser (VCSEL) technology and PIN detector technology, providing an effective 10 Gigabit port count of up to 176 ports within one rack.

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