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Cabling Solutions for 40G Short Reach QSFP+ Transceivers

40G parallel optical transceivers use four 10G channels to transmit and four 10G channels to receive signals over a 12-fiber assembly. The middle four fibers remain unused or dark. Each fiber either transmits (Tx) or receives (Rx) 10G traffic at a single wavelength. 40gb QSFP+ is the dominant transceiver type and popular choice for 40 Gigabit Ethernet applications. Among all those QSFP+ optics, short reach QSFP+ transceivers are commonly used. This article will introduce cabling solutions for 40G short reach QSFP+ transceivers.

40G Short Reach QSFP+ Transceivers

In 2010, 40GBASE-SR4 parallel optics solution for MMF was released by IEEE standard 802.3ba as one of several 40G based solutions. Later, another solution 40GBASE-CSR4 was released. 40GBASE-CSR4 is similar to 40GBASE-SR4 but it extends the distance capabilities. These two multi-mode transceivers can also support 4x10G modes. This part will tell details about these two short reach 40G parallel optical QSFP+ transceivers.

40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+: 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ transceiver enables high-bandwidth 40G optical links over 12-fiber parallel fiber terminated with MPO/MTP multi-fiber female connectors. It can support link lengths of 100 meters and 150 meters over OM3 and OM4 multimode fibers respectively. 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ transceiver can also be used to connect with four 10GBASE-SR optical interfaces using an 8-fiber MTP to 4 duplex LC cable.

40GBASE-CSR4 QSFP+: 40GBASE-CSR4 QSFP+ transceiver can be used for native 40G optical links over 12-fiber parallel cables with MPO/MTP connectors or in a 4x10G mode with parallel to duplex fiber breakout cables for connectivity to four 10GBASE-SR interfaces. It can extend the reach of 40GBASE-SR4 interface to 300 and 400 meters over OM3 and OM4 multimode parallel fibers respectively.

Cabling Solutions for Short Reach QSFP+ Transceivers

To connect a parallel optics 40GbE short reach transceiver to another short reach 40GbE transceiver, a Type-B female MTP/MPO to female MTP/MPO cable is required. The following picture shows two 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ transceivers being connected with a female MTP cable. The fiber position (from 1 to 12) is reverse on the ends of the assembly. This reverse fiber positing allows signals to flow from transmission on one end of the link to reception on the other end. This type of direct connectivity is only suggested for short distances within a given row of racks/cabinets. It has less robustness (less tensile strength, less crush and impact resistance, etc.) than a distribution-style cable, which would be used for structured cabling trunks.

40G short reach connectivity solution 1

In addition to this, there are several other cabling solutions for parallel optics 40G short reach connectivity. Solution one, in the interconnect structured cabling system, MTP trunk cables will be deployed by placing them in cable trays without the fear of them being crushed.

40G short reach connectivity solution 2

Solution two, with 2×12 to 3×8 or 1×24 to 3×8 harness cable assembly, 100% fiber utilization will save the cost of fiber utilization in the structured cabling. And it also saves the cost of labor and materials. Make sure that each MTP connector is plugged into a port.

40G short reach connectivity solution 3

Solution three, this approach uses 40G channel interconnect structured with conversion devices: 2×3 or 1×3 modules. It can utilize 100% of the installed fiber as harnesses. It is easily accomplished by using Type-B non-pinned MTP to non-pinned MTP jumpers.

40G short reach connectivity solution 4


With the increasing demand for high-bandwidth applications such as cloud computing, server virtualization and fabric consolidation within data centers, the trend for faster data transfer rates like 40G and 100G is relentless. There are various types of 40GbE transceivers, MPO/MTP cables like MPO/MTP trunk cable and MPO/MTP harness cable, MPO/MTP cassette and other assemblies for your 40G network connectivity. You just need to make sure that you choose the right one.

Choice of Bidirectional Transceivers for 40 GbE

As a result of data center consolidation, server virtualization, and new applications that require higher data transport rates, 10Gbps infrastructure is becoming overwhelmed by today’s data center requirements, making the shift to 40 and 100 Gbps inevitable, especially in the network aggregation layer and core. How to upgrade the cabling infrastructure and migrate to the 40Gbps era in a cost-effective way? Cisco 40G QSFP (quad small form-factor pluggable) bidirectional (BiDi) technology provides a feasible and effective method, which will be introduced in the following text.

What Is 40G QSFP BiDi Transceiver?

Cisco’s innovative 40 Gbps QSFP BiDi transceiver is a pluggable optical transceiver with a duplex LC connector interface for short-reach data communication and interconnect applications. The Cisco BiDi transceiver supports link lengths of 100m and 150m on laser-optimized OM3 and OM4 multimode fibers. It complies with the QSFP MSA specification, enabling customers to use it on all QSFP 40 Gbps platforms to achieve high-density 40 Gigabit Ethernet networks.

How Does 40G QSFP BiDi Transceiver Work?

Cisco QSFP BiDi transceiver technology converts four channels each of 10Gbps transmit and receive signals to two bidirectional channels of 20Gbps signals, which means that the Cisco QSFP BiDi transceiver has two 20Gbps channels, each transmitted and received simultaneously over two wavelengths on a single MMF strand. The technology uses specialized, multilayer, thin-film dielectric coating and lensing, which allows components to both pass and reflect optical signals at the same time. And it uses Bidirectional Optical Sub-Assembly (BOSA) technology to support two wavelengths (20 Gbps total) on each fiber. The connection can reach 100 meters on OM3 MMF or 150 meters on OM4 MMF, which is the same as 40Gbps SR4. Picture below shows the technology concept of the Cisco QSFP BiDi transceiver.

Concept of Cisco QSFP BiDi Transceiver

Why Choose 40Gbps QSFP BiDi Transceiver?

The Cisco QSFP BiDi transceiver transmits full-duplex 40Gbps traffic over one dual-fiber LC connector OM3 or OM4 MMF cable. It provides the capability to reuse 10Gbps fiber infrastructure. In other words, it enables data center operators to upgrade to 40Gbps connectivity without making great changes to the previous 10Gbps fiber cable plant. By using the existing 10 Gigabit Ethernet duplex multi-mode fiber (MMF) infrastructure for 40 Gigabit Ethernet, the Cisco BiDi transceiver offers significant cost savings and simplifies data center upgrading. It allows for zero-cost fiber migration by reusing the current 10Gbps cabling for 40Gbps device connectivity. 40Gbps QSFP BiDi transceiver reduces overall costs and installation time for customers migrating data center aggregation links to 40Gbps connections. Using Cisco BiDi transceivers offers 75% less fiber and MPO requirements, reduced cable sprawl and rack footprints, and investment protection with future support for 100 Gbps over duplex fiber.


Cisco 40G QSFP BiDi technology removes 40Gbps cabling cost barriers for migration from 10Gbps to 40Gbps connectivity in data center networks. It is quite a competitive option among all those various choices for 40 Gigabit Ethernet applications, such as QSFP+ transceiver, QSFP+ breakout cable or active optical cable. Compared with them, Cisco 40G QSFP BiDi transceivers provide simpler and less expensive 40Gbps connectivity compared to other 40Gbps transceiver solutions. Anyway, you choose the most appropriate one for your applications.

Things to Know about 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ Modules

With the growing demand for high data rates, 40 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) is now becoming more and more widely adopted. For a 40 GbE network application, precise connectivity is crucial. 40G QSFP (quad small form factor pluggable) portfolio offers customers a wide variety of high-density and low-power 40 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity options. Among them, 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ transceiver is a common 40 GbE connectivity option. And here are some things that you need to know about 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ transceivers.


40GBASE-SR4 is a fiber optic interface for multimode fiber of OM classes 3 and 4 with four parallel OM3 or OM4 fibers in both directions. “S” means short, indicating that it is an interface for short distances. The “R” denotes the type of interface with 64B/66B encoding and the numeral 4 indicates that the transmission is carried out over a ribbon fiber with four multimode fibers in every direction. Each lane has a 10 Gbit/s data rate. 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ modules usually use a parallel multimode fiber (MMF) link to achieve 40G. It offers 4 independent transmit and receive channels, each capable of 10G operation for an aggregate data rate of 40G over 100 meters of OM3 MMF or 150 meters of OM4 MMF. It primarily enables high-bandwidth 40G optical links over 12-fiber parallel fiber terminated with MPO/MTP multifiber female connectors.

40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ module can also be used in a 4x10G mode for interoperability with 10GBASE-SR interfaces up to 100 and 150 meters on OM3 and OM4 fibers, respectively. The worry-free 4x10G mode operation is enabled by the optimization of the transmit and receive optical characteristics to prevent receiver overload or unnecessary triggering of alarm thresholds on the 10GBASE-SR receiver, and at the same time is completely interoperable with all standard 40GBASE-SR4 interfaces. The 4x10G connectivity is achieved using an external 12-fiber parallel to 2-fiber duplex breakout cable, which connects the 40GBASE-SR4 module to four 10GBASE-SR optical interfaces. The picture below shows a Mellanox MC2210411-SR4 compatible 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ transceiver.

Mellanox MC2210411-SR4 Compatible 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ Transceiver

40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ Module vs 40GBASE-CSR4 QSFP+ Module

40GBASE-CSR4 QSFP+ module is similar to the 40GBASE-SR4 interface extends supported link lengths to 300m and 400m respectively on laser-optimized OM3 and OM4 multimode fiber cables. Each 10-gigabit lane of this module is compliant to IEEE 10GBASE-SR specifications. This module can be used for native 40G optical links over 12-fiber ribbon cables with MPO/MTP connectors, or in 4x10G mode with ribbon to duplex fiber breakout cables for connectivity to four 10GBASE-SR interfaces. Maximum channel insertion loss allowed is respectively 2.6dB over 300m of OM3 cable or 2.9dB over 400m of OM4 cable.


Fiberstore offers you a wide variety of 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ transceivers for your high-density and low-power 40 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity options branded by many famous companies like Cisco, Juniper or HP. And we also provide other compatible 40G QSFP+ transceivers, such as 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ transceiver, 40GBASE-ER4 QSFP+ transceiver, 40GBASE-CSR4 QSFP+ transceiver, etc. Every fiber optic transceiver provided by Fiberstore has been tested to ensure its compatibility and interoperability. You can buy from us with confidence.

Parallel Optics Technology Overview

The number of network connections in data centers is on the rise. Data centers have to achieve ultra-high density in cabling. Multimode fiber optics is the medium of the future for satisfying the growing need for transmission speed and data volume over short distances. Parallel optics technology is what you get if you combine both trends—cabling density and the use of fiber optics. It is a suitable solution for high-performance data networks in data centers. This passage provides introductory information on parallel optics technology.

What Is Parallel Optics?

Parallel optics is a term used to represent both a type of optical communication and the devices on either end of the link that transmit and receive information. It differs from traditional fiber optic communication in that data is simultaneously transmitted and received over multiple optical fibers. In parallel optical communication, the devices on either end of the link contain multiple transmitters and receivers. For example, four transmitters on End A communicate with four receivers on End B, spreading a single stream of data over four optical fibers. With this configuration, a parallel optics transceiver can use four 2.5Gb/s transmitters to send one 10Gb/s signal from A to B.

Parallel optical devices are fundamentally different in construction from serial optical devices. Two complementary technologies have enabled the development and deployment of parallel optics devices: vertical cavity surface emission lasers (VCSELs) and the MPO connector. Parallel optic transmission technology spatially multiplexes or divides a high-data-rate signal among several fibers that are simultaneously transmitted and received. At the receiver, the signals are de-multiplexed to the original high-data-rate signal. MPO connectivity is used throughout the parallel optic link and interfaces into the transceiver module. An MPO connector and its connectivity method is showed in the picture below (Tx stands for transmit, Rx stands for receive).


Applications of Parallel Optics Technology

Parallel optic interfaces (POIs) are a fiber optic technology primarily targeted for short-reach multimode fiber systems (less than 300 meters) that operate at high data rates. Duplex fiber serial transmission with a directly modulated 850 nm VCSEL has been used to date for data rates up to 10G. Current and future protocols expected to use parallel optics include 40G and 100G Ethernet, InfiniBand and Fibre Channel speeds of 32G and higher. IEEE has already included physical layer specifications and management parameters for 40Gbps and 100Gbps operation over fiber optic cable. The uses of parallel optics technology continues to evolve and takes shape as higher-speed fiber optic transmission. Many cabling and network experts have pointed out that parallel optical communication supported with MPO technology is currently a way to equip an environment well prepared for the 40/100GbE transmission.

Why Choose Parallel Optics?

Parallel optical communication uses multiple paths to transmit a signal at a greater data rate than the individual electronics can support. Parallel transmission can either lower the cost of a given data rate (by using slower, less expensive optoelectronics) or enable data rates that are unattainable with traditional serial transmission. Moreover, POIs offer an economical solution that utilizes multimode fiber, which is optimized with VSCEL sources. This means that for speeds faster then 16G, parallel optics, is the most practical, cost-effective solution.

Parallel optics is one technology currently on the market for high data rates networking solutions. Fiberstore is a professional manufacturer and supplier, which offers a large amount of cables and transceivers for your parallel optics applications, such as QSFP+ transceiver and QSFP+ cable. Parallel optical transceivers used for 40GBASE-SR4 and 40GBASE-CSR4 have 10-Gbps electrical lanes that are mirrored in the optical outputs.

The Basics of 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ Transceiver

40GBASE QSFP+ (quad small form factor pluggable) portfolio offers customers a wide variety of high-density and low-power 40 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity options for data center, high-performance computing networks, enterprise core and distribution layers, etc. And each kind of 40GBASE QSFP+ transceiver has its special applications. 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ transceiver is a common 40 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity option. Here is some basic information about 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ transceiver.


40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ module supports link lengths of up to 10 kilometers over a standard pair of G.652 single-mode fiber with duplex LC connectors. The 40 Gigabit Ethernet signal is carried over four wavelengths. Multiplexing and demultiplexing of the four wavelengths are managed within the device. The letter “L” stands for long, the “R” denotes the type of interface with 64B/66B encoding and the numeral 4 indicates numeral 4 indicates that the transmission is carried out over a ribbon fiber with four singlemode fibers in every direction. Each lane has a 10 Gbit/s data rate. 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ transceiver modules are compliant with the QSFP+ MSA and IEEE 802.3ba 40GBASE-LR4. The picture below shows a Mellanox MC2210511-LR4 compatible 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ transceiver.

Mellanox MC2210511-LR4 Compatible 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ Transceiver

Two Types of 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ Transceiver

There are mainly two of 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ transceivers, 40GBASE-LR4 CWDM (coarse wavelength division multiplexing) QSFP+ transceiver and 40GBASE-LR4 PSM (parallel single-mode fiber) QSFP+ transceiver. This part mainly talks about these two 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ transceiver types.

40GBASE-LR4 CWDM QSFP+ transceiver, such as QSFP-40GE-LR4, contains a duplex LC connector for the optical interface. It can support transmission distance of up to 10km. A 40GBASE-LR4 CWDM QSFP+ transceiver converts 4 inputs channels of 10G electrical data to 4 CWDM optical signals by a driven 4-wavelength distributed feedback (DFB) laser array, and multiplexes them into a single channel for 40G optical transmission. Then the receiver module accepts the 40G CWDM optical signals input, and demultiplexes it into 4 individual 10G channels with different wavelengths.

40GBASE-LR4 PSM QSFP+ transceiver is a parallel single-mode optical transceiver with an MTP/MPO fiber ribbon connector. It also offers 4 independent transmit and receive channels, each capable of 10G operation for an aggregate data rate of 40G. The transmitter module accepts electrical input signals compatible with common mode logic (CML) levels. All input data signals are differential and internally terminated. The receiver module converts parallel optical input signals via a photo detector array into parallel electrical output signals. The receiver module outputs electrical signals are also voltage compatible with CML levels.


QSFP-40GE-LR4 supports 40GBASE Ethernet rate only, whereas the QSFP-40G-LR4 supports OTU3 data rate in addition to 40GBASE Ethernet rate. 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ transceivers are most commonly deployed between data-center or IXP sites with single mode fiber.

Fiberstore offers customers a wide variety of 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ transceivers for your high-density and low-power 40 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity options, including 40GBASE-LR4 CWDM QSFP+ transceiver and 40GBASE-LR4 PSM QSFP+ transceiver, like Cisco QSFP-40GE-LR4 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ transceiver. Fiberstore also provides wide brand compatible 40G QSFP+ transceivers, such as Brocade QSFP+, Dell QSFP+, Juniper QSFP+, Mellanox QSFP+, and HP QSFP+. Each fiber optic transceiver provided by Fiberstore has been tested to ensure its compatibility and interoperability. Please rest assured to buy.

Are You Ready for 40G and 100G?

Data centers regularly undertake their own great migration, to ever higher speed networks. 10G, unimaginable a decade ago, is now common in larger enterprises. And now many enterprises have to adopt 40 Gigabit Ethernet or even 100G in the aggregation and core layers of data center networks in order to meet the overall bandwidth demands of top-of-rack servers. The need is clear: a 40/100G Ethernet migration plan is quickly becoming a matter of survival. Is your network cabling optimized for this inevitable growth? Are you ready for 40G and 100G?

Fiber Transmissions at Higher Speeds

When moving to 40/100GbE, the most important difference in backbone and horizontal multimode applications is the number of fiber strands. 40GBASE-SR4 uses 8 strands in total, 4 strands to transmit and 4 to receive. 100GBASE-SR10 uses 10 lanes to transmit and another 10 lanes to receive for a total of 20 strands. In data centers and backbones, it may be possible to have 8 or 20 individual strands of fiber. However, those strands may take disparate paths from one end to the other and this can cause delay skew (known as bit skew) resulting in bit errors. For this reason, the 40/100GbE standards are written around fiber optic trunk assemblies that utilize a MPO/MTP multi-fiber array connector. Data is transmitted and received simultaneously on MTP interfaces through 10G simplex transmission over each individual strand of the array cable. In these assemblies, all strands are the same length. Also referred to as “parallel optics”, this construction minimizes bit/delay skew, allowing the receive modules to receive each fibers information at virtually the same time.

Copper Transmissions at Higher Speeds

The first 10GbE capable copper interface was developed for the 10GBASE-CX4 application. The physical requirements for this shielded four-lane copper connector is standardized under SFF-8470. As a passive assembly, the SFF-8470/CX4 cables have a reach of 15m. This assembly supports 10GbE, InfiniBand, FibreChannel and FCoE. These assemblies use twinax cable, constructed of two inner conductors with an overall foil covered by a braid shield. Due to their low latency, these cables are popular in supercomputing clusters, High Performance Computing and storage. As part of the 802.3ba 40/100GbE standard, multi-lane 40GBASE-CR4 and 100GBASE-CR10 was defined. This standard specifies the use of 4 and 10-lane twinax assemblies to achieve 40 and 100GbE speeds for distances up to 7m.

40/100G MPO/MTP System

MPO/MTP is available in both 12 and 24 strand termination configurations used at the end of a trunk assembly. A modular laser optimized multimode MPO/MTP system that supports 40G and 100G fiber optic networks includes trunks, harnesses, array cords, modules, and adapter plates. For 40GbE, a 12-fiber cabling solution with each channel featuring four dedicated transmit fibers and four dedicated receiver fibers is used. In general, the middle four fiber remain unused. Parallel transmission is also used for 100GbE with a 24-fiber solution or two 12-fiber solution.

MPO MTP cables

At present, 40GbE is taking over from 10GbE as the new high-growth market segment. Meanwhile, the 40GbE optics are universal in data center and the market of 100GbE is accelerating. Being prepared for 40/100G is essential: within a few short years higher-speed Ethernet will be common in data centers across all types of organizations. Fiberstore is ready. Fiberstore offers various optical communication products to meet diverse demands. For example, we provide 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ transceivers, like Finisar FTL410QE2C 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ transceiver and Mellanox MC2210411-SR4 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ transceiver, which are branded by famous companies and quality guaranteed.

The Basics of Dirrect Attach Cables

Dirrect attach cable (DAC), is a cost effective and proven solution for interconnecting networking applications. It can provide inexpensive and reliable connections using either copper cables or fiber cables. What is DAC? How copper DAC and fiber DAC differ from each other? Here is what you need to know about DACs.

DAC Definition

A direct attach cable is a fixed assembly that is purchased at a given length, with the connector modules permanently terminated to each end of the cable to connect switches to routers or servers. DACs are much cheaper than the regular optics, since the “transceivers” on both ends of DACs are not real optics and their components are without optical lasers. They are preferable choice for their low cost, low power consumption and high performances. DAC are made of the two kinds of cable materials: copper and optical fiber. They are respectively called direct attach copper cable and active optical cable.

DAC Assemblies—Copper

Direct attach copper cable is interchangeable and hot swappable with fiber optic modules. It is designed in either active or passive versions. It supports such multiple protocols as Gigabit & 10G Ethernet, 8G FC, FCoE and InfiniBand. Direct attach copper cable is a cost effective solution over optical transceivers and and cables for short reach applications. It can support higher data rates than traditional copper interfaces—from 4Gbps to 10Gbps per channel. The defect of direct attach copper cable is that it is heavy and bulky, making it difficult to be managed. Furthermore, due to the nature of electrical signals, direct attach copper cable is vulnerable to the effects of electromagnetic interference (EMI), such as undesirable responses, degradation, or complete system failure. Fiberstore offers various QSFP+ direct attach copper cables with different lengths for your 40G applications. For example, lengths of Juniper EX-QSFP-40GE-DAC-50CM, QFX-QSFP-DAC-1M and QFX-QSFP-DAC-3M compatible QSFP+ to QSFP+ passive copper cables are respectively 0.5m, 1m, and 3m.

0.5m Juniper EX-QSFP-40GE-DAC-50CM Compatible QSFP+ to QSFP+ Passive Copper Cable

DAC Assemblies—Fiber

Active optical cable (AOC) is an alternative to optical transceivers, eliminating the separable interface between transceiver module and optical cable. It meets Small Form-factor (SFF) standards. Compaired to direct attach copper cable, AOC weighs less and can support longer transmission distance. It is immune to electromagnetic energy since the optical fiber is dielectric (not able to conduct electric current). What’s more, it is an alternative to optical transceivers and it can eliminate the separable interface between transceiver module and optical cable. AOC has no EMI. However, it costs more than copper cable.


Applications of DAC

Direct attach cables are widely applied in storage area network, data center, and high-performance computing connectivity. They suppoet high speed I/O applications in storage, networking and telecom markets. And they can also be sused in witches, servers, routers, network interface cards (NICs), and Host Bus Adapters (HBAs). There are many different kinds of DACs, they all have their specific applicayions. For example, 40G AOC is commonly used for short-range multi-lane data communication and interconnect applications.


Fiberstore offers a variety of high speed interconnect DAC assemblies including 10G SFP+ cables, 40G QSFP+ cables, and 120G CXP cables to satisfy the demands from 10G to 100G interconnection. Direct attach cables provided by Fiberstore can be customized to meet different requirements. And we also offer all kinds of high quality QSFP+ modules branded by many famous companies, like Brocade QSFP+, Dell QSFP+, Juniper QSFP+, Finisar QSFP+, Intel QSFP+, etc. You can buy from us with confidence.