Category Archives: Optical Transceiver Solution

40G vs 100G: Which One Is Worth the Investment?

Today, the trend for high-speed data transmission and high-bandwidth is overwhelming. Some years ago, people had witnessed upgrading from 10Mbps Ethernet to 100Mbps Ethernet. And the migration from 1G to 10G was happened not very long ago. But now, whether you believe it or not, prepared or not prepared, 40G and 100G have already on the way. To upgrade to 40G or skip it and directly migrate to 100G has become a question for many data center mangers and IT engineers. Here, in this article, you may find some clue you want.

The Rise of 100G

To begin with, it has to be made clear that the market trend is 100G Ethernet, which will eventually become the mainstream in the future. The strong demand in 100G Ethernet is being driven by cloud services and hyper-scale data centers. And there is a demand for lower-priced 100G pluggable transceivers from data center customers. Currently, the market transition to 100GE is in full swing, fueled primarily by the seemingly insatiable need for networking bandwidth by hyper-scale data centers and cloud services. As it has been shown in the picture below, 100G Ethernet transceivers will exceed 15 million units a year.

100G market

This tremendous growth in deployments by a small number of key customers, together with a large number of suppliers competing for these orders, will undoubtedly drive down the cost of 100GE modules rapidly. It is predicted that the cost of 100G transceiver is expected to decline by 75% in the next couple of years. In the meantime, Facebook has publicly set a target cost of $100 for a 100G transceiver with a reach of less than 2km. While the Facebook target appears to be years away, we believe that a 70% cost reduction in 2 years is possible. By that time, the 100G transceivers will be more affordable.

Why not 40G?

If you ask me why 40G Ethernet will be obsolete? The short answer is “cost”. From the technical point, The primary issue lies in the fact that 40G Ethernet uses 4x10G signalling lanes. On UTP, 40G uses 4 pairs at 10G each. Early versions of the 40G standard used 4 pairs, but rapid advances in manufacturing developed a 4x10G WDM on a single fiber optic pair. Each 40G SFP module contains a silicon chip that performs multiplexing so that the switch see 40 gigabits in and 40 gigabits out. It’s similar to Coarse Wave Division Multiplexing when using fiber. When you buy a 40G cable or QSFP, you are paying for the cost of the chip and software, plus the lasers, etc. When using 25/50/100G, the “lane speed” is increased to 25 gigabits per second. For 100G Ethernet, there are four 25G signalling lanes. It’s cheaper to buy 100G with four lanes rather than 40G with a four-lane MUX.


Scale up to 100G with FS 100G Optics Solution

As one of the leading providers in optical communication , FS provides customers with 100G optics that are manufactured at the highest quality of standards in the industry, including QSFP28, CFP, CFP2, CFP4, 100G patch panels, 100G switches, etc. Part of the products are listed as follow:

Model ID Description    Price


Juniper JNP-QSFP-100G-SR4 Compatible 100GBASE-SR4 850nm 100m Transceiver

   US$  269


Cisco Compatible QSFP28 100GBASE-SR4 850nm 100m Transceiver

   US$  269


Juniper Networks CFP-100GBASE-SR10 Compatible 100GBASE-SR10 850nm 150m Transceiver

   US$  1,500

100G Ethernet are racing to market and will finally takeover the 40G market. Don’t hesitate to migrate your network to the 100G Ethernet to embrace the future technology.

100G Coherent CFP Modules for Metro Network Applications

Due to the rapid increase of communication traffic, the requirement for core networks to handle larger capacity and longer distance on their links has led to a spread of 100G optical networks. For this environment, service providers are adopting coherent transceivers for their 100G DWDM backbone applications. Until recently, coherent CFP/CFP2 DWDM optical transceivers had been the technology of choice for transporting 100G traffic over long distances or as part of a DWDM network. This paper will mainly discuss 100G coherent CFP modules for metro network application.

Coherent Technology: Making 100Gb/s Available

Moving from 10Gb/s to 100Gb/s line speeds comes with technical challenges. Coherent technology had been investigated for optical transmission since the 1980s as a means to increase transmission distances. By 2010 to 2011, the technology had reached a point of market maturity. At this time, it could genuinely allow 100G coherent signals. This result forms the foundation of the industry’s drive to achieve transport speeds of 100G and beyond, which helps to deliver Terabits of information across a single fiber pair at a lower cost. Until now, coherent technology has been mainly deployed in long-haul networks, and it is now starting to be deployed in metro networks.

Capacity Enabled by Coherent Technology

Figure 1: Capacity Enabled by Coherent Technology

Metro Requirements for 100G

100G rates were initially deployed in the long-haul and core networks. In the Metro, 10G is still the most dominant rate. In the coming years, the trend toward aggregation into 100G in the larger metro areas or data center connectivity will become more significant. The metro covers a broad range of distances: the metro regional and metro core cover distances of 500-1000 km and 100-500 km respectively, while the metro access links are generally point-to-point connections shorter than 100 km. Although these distances are shorter than long-haul links, the characteristics of metro network- including flexible protocol support, higher granularity of signal rates and increased number of nodes- create the requirements for 100G rates.

Three Types of Metro Network

Figure 2: Three Types of Metro Network

100G Coherent CFP Modules for Metro Network Applications

While metro and long haul applications have different requirements, the lower-cost 100G technology for the metro is demanded for service providers. To achieve this feat, equipment vendors consider coherent CFP as the ultimate solution for metro 100G deployments. Coherent CFP 100G can overcome optical transmission impairments and still achieve acceptable performance.

Scenario 1: 100G Multi-Channel DWDM Networking

An Architecture of Coherent CFP for 100G Deployment

Figure 3: An Architecture of Coherent CFP for 100G Deployment

As shown in Figure 3, since the 100G rates are more susceptible to dispersion, they would require extra dispersion compensation and optical power boost. Thus an extra 100GHz DWDM multiplexer is first used to combine all the 100G rates together followed by a combined dispersion compensation and amplification stage. This architecture conveniently supports the ‘pay-as-you-grow’ model for service providers. When the bandwidth is exhausted, the existing legacy 10G channels may be seamlessly interchanged with 100G services. The same remaining components can even be reused to extend the data rate up to 2.4 Tb/s.

This scenario would require 24 differently colored CFP 100G transceivers deployed together with the already existing 48 channel 100 GHz DWDM multiplexer. All the 100G services are first multiplexed together such that only one dispersion compensation and amplification stage suffices. Clearly, such a network architecture provides higher density with capability to reuse existing infrastructure with flexibility while remaining cost friendly.

Scenario 2: 100G Distance Extension Solutions

100G Coherent DWDM Transport by Using SFP+ OEO Transponder

Figure 4: 100G Coherent DWDM Transport by Using SFP+ OEO Transponder

In this scenario, the switch was tested with SFP+ OEO transponders for simple distance extension solutions. The 100G output signals from the switch are converted to DWDM signals that can be transmitted over longer distance. The solution removes the distance limitations by using a coherent CFP module to connect the output signal to the line fiber and carry the signal over longer distances.

As shown in Figure 4, to achieve higher cabling density with Cisco CFP 100G optics, the architecture mixed a 16 channels dual fiber DWDM Mux Demux which can be used for CWDM/DWDM hybrid and 8 channels dual fiber CWDM Mux Demux, by adding MTP harness cable and WDM SFP+ OEO converter to transfer the regular SR wavelength to DWDM wavelengths. Therefore, building a long distance 2500km DWDM networks in coherent CFP 100G transceiver and cost effective way will be achieved.


Coherent CFP 100G transceivers provide cost-effective electronic equalization of fiber impairments and extensive performance monitoring capabilities that enable easy installation and network management. These benefits help service providers meet bandwidth demand growth while reducing the total cost of ownership.

100G Switch Price and Configuration

There is no doubt that the time of 100G is coming. Except the professional companies like Cisco, Juniper network and Dell, large company like Facebook and Linkedin have also designed their own “super power” 100G switches. And there are many vendors provide white box switches wanting to share the cake of 100G switch market. This post offers a simple analysis of the 100G switch price and configuration on that provided by the market.

100G QSFP28 Port Is Popular for 100G Switch

100G switch price varies mainly according to different brand and capacities. If you are selecting a 100G switch, it will be easy to figure out that most 100G switches are designed with 100G QSFP28 port. For example, some popular 100G switch like Cisco Nexus 3232C, Arista 7060CX-32 and Juniper QFX10002 are all equipped with 100G QSFP28 ports. This is because 100G QSFP28 modules have higher density and low power consumptions compared with other 100G QSFP28 modules. And QSFP28 modules can fit a variety of cabling systems.

Configuration and Price of 100G Switch

The port type on the switch usually determines its function in network. Here introduces several popular 1U 100G switch for your reference.

Cisco Nexus 3232C Switch

Cisco Nexus 3232C switch is a 1U 100G switch with 32 QSFP28 ports supporting a maximum of 128 x 25G ports. Another great feature of this switch is each QSFP28 port on Cisco Nexus 3232C can be operated at 10, 25, 40, and 100 Gbps. The QSFP28 fiber optic transceiver, AOC and DAC can work on these QSFP28 port.

Arista 7060CX-32 Switch

Another switch provide by Arista has the capacities at the same level as Cisco Nexus 3232C switch is Arista 7060CX-32 switch. Each 100G port on Arista 7060CX-32 can also support transmission data rate of 10, 25, 40, and 100G. This switch also has another two SFP+ ports.

Arista 100g switch
100G White Box Switch

The 100G switch prices of big vendors are usually very expensive. The price of the above mentioned two 1U switches are around $ 30,000 which is not affordable for many enterprises. That’s why 100G white box switch is becoming gradually popular. Unlike Cisco switch, the software of white box switch is separated from the switch. The price of 100G white box switch is much lower than the brand ones. They can be customized to meet specific requirements for networking and business. The following is a 100G white box (S5850-48S2Q4C) which has 48 SFP+ ports, 2 QSFP+ ports and 4 QSFP28 ports, which is provided FS.COM.

100G switch

The price of the 100G switch is around $8,800, which is much lower compared with Cisco switch at the same capacity level. Compatible 10G, 40G and 100G modules are also available in FS.COM.

100G QSFP28 switch

Compatible 100G QSFP28 Modules

If you are selecting a 100G QSFP28 switch, you will need 100G QSFP28 modules. To accomplish the 100G connections via QSFP28 port, there is a wide range of selections. For longer transmission distance, single-mode 100G QSFP28 modules are suggested. For short distance applications, 100G QSFP28 multimode module, AOC and DAC are suggested. The following table shows the generic 100G QSFP28 modules (compatible with FS.COM 100G switch) and the Cisco compatible 100G QSFP28 modules for your reference.

Generic 100G QSFP28 Cisco Compatible 100G QSFP28

100G QSFP28 Fiber Optic Modules and Standards

The developing of 100G fiber optic transceiver has experienced a lot of challenges, thus various types of 100G fiber optic transceivers are being invented. Many 100G modules appeared on the market for a while and disappeared soon. Now it seems that 100G QSFP28 module will win the competition. It has the same cabling structure as 40G QSFP+ module and high density feature, which allows network upgrade to 100G with lower cost and less time. This post will introduce several commonly used 100G QSFP28 modules and standards.

100G QSFP28

QSFP28 module uses four lanes for 100G optical signal transmitting like 40G QSFP+. However, each lane of QSFP28 can transmit 25G optical signal. To fit the various requirements in practical applications, IEEE and MSA standards that support different transmission distances and fiber types are being published.

100Gbase-SR4 QSFP28

100Gbase-SR4 is a standard published by IEEE. 100Gbase SR4 QSFP28 module uses eight multimode fibers for 100G dual-way transmission over 850nm. It can support a transmission distance up to 70m over OM3 and 100m OM4 with a MTP interface. 12-fiber MTP OM3/OM4 trunk cables are suggested to be used with QSFP-100G-SR4 modules. 100Gbase-SR4 QSFP28 is the most popular QSFP28 module according to research.

100Gbase-LR4 QSFP28

100Gbase-LR4 is another 100G standards published by IEEE. It focuses on longer transmission distance over single-mode fiber. 100Gbase-LR4 QSFP28 has a duplex LC interface and uses WDM technologies to achieve 100G dual-way transmission over four different wavelengths around 1310nm. It can support distances up to 10km.

Although IEEE has defined two 100G standards separately for short and long distances, the requirements of various applications cannot be fully satisfied. For instances, the 100G-QSFP-LR4 module can support 10km, which is too much for a lot of single-mode applications. It would be uneconomical to buy a 10km module for just 1km or 2km application. MSA has published two 100G standards — 100Gbase-PSM4 and 100Gbase-CWDM4, which can help to decrease the cost of 100G deployment.

100Gbase-PSM4 QSFP28

100Gbase-PSM4 QSFP28 module has a MTP interface working on wavelength of 1310nm for 100G transmission over single-mode fibers. It can support transmission distance up to 500 meters. 100Gbase-PSM4 QSFP28 module is much cheaper than 100Gbase-LR4 QSFP28 module. And 500 meter’s transmission distance can cover a wide range of applications.

100Gbase-CWDM4 QSFP2

For longer transmission distance, 100Gbase-CWDM4 QSFP28 is suggested, which supports a distance up to 2km over single-mode fiber optic cable. 100Gbase-CWDM4 standard is published by MSA, which is a more cost-effective solution for a wide range of applications compared with 100Gbase-LR4. This module uses CWDM technologies to transmit the 100G optical signal via a duplex LC interface over wavelengths near 1310nm.


100G QSFP28 family also includes a series of direct attach cables. There are mainly two types of QSFP28 DAC, which are QSFP28 to QSFP28 DAC and QSFP28 to SFP28 DAC. These QSFP28 DACs are cost-effective solution for 100G transmission less than 5 meters.

100G QSFP28 Module Interface Fiber Type Distance Standards
100Gbase-SR4 QSFP28 MTP Multimode 70m (OM3); 100m (OM4) IEEE
100Gbase-LR4 QSFP28 LC Duplex Single-mode 10km IEEE
100Gbase-PSM4 QSFP28 MTP Single-mode 500km MSA
100Gbase-CWDM4 QSFP28 LC Duplex Single-mode 2km MSA

There are many ways to transmit to 100G network. 100G QSFP28 modules are the suggested methods. Both IEEE and MSA published standards for 100G QSFP28. For short distance transmission over multimode, 100Gbase-SR4 QSFP28 module is suggested. For single-mode applications, 100Gbase-PSM4 supporting 500m, 100Gbase-CWDM4 supporting 2km and 100Gbase-LR4 supporting 10km are available. The above table shows the basic information of these modules for your reference.

Difference Between 100G-QSFP-PSM4, 100G-QSFP-SR4 and 100G-QSFP-LR4

QSFP28 fiber optic transceiver is becoming the preferred solution for 100G network. It has the same outside looking as the 40G QSFP+ transceiver. But it has a 4*25G electrical interfaces which can transmit optical signals up to 100G. The part numbers of the QSFP28 transceivers are usually market as 100G-QSFP-xx. Now there is a wide selection of 100G QSFP28 modules for 100G Ethernet link, including fiber optic transceiver and direct attached cable. Different part numbers of 100G modules are making customers confused. This post will introduce the differences between the three 100G QSFP28 modules: 100G-QSFP-PSM4, 100G-QSFP-SR4 and 100G-QSFP-LR4.


Transmission Mode

It is known that QSFP28 modules generally use four lanes to transmit 100G with each lane supporting 25G. Thus, the transmission method is just like 40G QSFP+ transceiver. 100G QSFP28 SR4, LR4 and PSM4 all use the 4*25 transmission mode. However, both the QSFP28 SR4 and QSFP28 PSM4 use a 12-fiber MTP interface which achieves dual-way 100G transmission over 8 fibers at the same time. QSFP28 LR4 uses a LC duplex fiber optic interface for 100G transmission on two directions at the same time. QSFP28 LR4 transmit optical signals over four different wavelengths around 1310nm with each wavelength carrying 25G optical signal. The wavelength ranges of the four lanes are as following:

  • 1294.53nm-1296.59nm
  • 1299.02nm-1301.09nm
  • 1303.54nm-1305.63nm
  • 1308.09nm-1310.19nm
Transmission Media and Distances

The three modules can support different transmission distances. 100G-SR4 QSFP28 module works over wavelength of 850nm and is used with 12-fiber MTP OM3 or OM4 multimode fiber cables for short transmission distances up to 100m. 100G-LR4 QSFP28 module is suggested to be used with single-mode fiber. It works over 1310nm wavelengths and can transmit 100G signals up to 2km. 100G-PSM4 QSFP28 is also used with 12-fiber MTP fiber cables but the fiber type is single-mode and the transmission distance is up to 500m.


Cabling Structure

The transmission mode of the fiber optic transceiver plays an important role during fiber cabling. 100G-QSFP-SR4 and 100G-QSFP-LR4 are invented for short distance transmission and long distance transmission separately. However, the have different cabling structure. The former requires a multi-fiber cabling structure based on 12-fiber MMF MTP interfaces. While 100G-QSFP-LR4 just required the traditional two-fiber SMF cabling structure. In this case, the conversion between multimode fiber to single-mode fiber would be complex as they used totally different cabling structure. Thus, 100G-QSFP-PSM4 is invented which runs over single-mode fiber, but uses the same cabling structure as 100G-QSFP-SR4. With 100G-QSFP-PSM4, the conversion between multimode and single-mode would save more without changing the existing fiber cabling structure.

100G QSFP28 Transceiver Data Rate Interface Fiber Type Transmission
Wavelengths Cabling Structure
100G-QSFP-SR4 4*25G MTP MMF 70m (OM3);
100m (OM4)
850nm 12-Fiber MTP
100G-QSFP-LR4 4*25G LC SMF 2km 1310nm LC Duplex
100G-QSFP-PSM4 4*25G MTP SMF 500m 1310nm 12-Fiber MTP

The above table listed the basic information of the three modules for your referent. 100G-QSFP-SR4 are suitable for short distance transmission over OM3 or OM4 fiber using 12-MTP fiber cabling system. 100G-QSFP-PSM4 also has a 12-fiber MTP interface but it can support a transmission distance up to 500m over SMF. 100G-QSFP-LR4 is suitable for long transmission distance up to 2km over two single-mode fibers. If you are interested in more 100G QSFP28 modules, kindly click the following page: 100G Transceiver.

Related Article: 40G vs 100G: Which One Is Worth the Investment?