QSFP-DD MSA Group announces form factor specification

Created March 31, 2017
News and Business

QSFP-DD module enables up to 400 Gbps solutions, quadruples bandwidth in network applications.

The Quad Small Form Factor Pluggable Double Density (QSFP-DD) Multi Source Agreement group has released a specification for the new QSFP-DD form factor. In total, 52 companies came together in support of the QSFP-DD MSA to address the industry need for high-density, high-speed networking solutions.

Established in March 2016, the QSFP-DD MSA group accepted the challenge to meet the market demand for a next generation high-density, high-speed pluggable module form factor. The MSA group has succeeded in releasing a specification with broad market support that overcomes the technical challenges of specifying a QSFP28 compatible double-density interface.

The QSFP-DD specification defines mechanical, electrical and thermal management requirements to enable multi-vendor interoperability. QSFP-DD pluggable modules can quadruple the bandwidth of networking equipment to keep pace with advances in ASIC technology. Systems designed for QSFP-DD modules will be backwards compatible with existing QSFP form factors and provide maximum flexibility for end users, network platform designers and integrators.

The specification defines a module and both a stacked height integrated cage/connector system and a single height cage/connector system. These expand on the QSFP form factor, the industry’s leading multi-lane pluggable form factor used across Ethernet, Fibre Channel and InfiniBand for 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps network applications.

‘Up to 400G per port’
The new QSFP-DD form factor expands the standard QSFP four-lane interface by adding a row of contacts providing for an eight-lane electrical interface, each operating up to 25 Gbps with Non-Return-to-Zero (NRZ) modulation or 50 Gbps with Pulse Amplitude Modulation (PAM4).

This adaptation allows the QSFP-DD form factor to address solutions up to 400 Gbps aggregate per QSFP-DD port, while providing backward compatibility to 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps. A single switch slot can support up to 36 QSFP-DD modules providing up to 14.4 Tbps aggregate capacity. With an advanced thermal design, the new QSFP-DD solution can support modules up to 12W, providing significant system design flexibility.

Member companies
QSFP-DD MSA founder-promoters include Broadcom, Brocade, Cisco, Corning, Finisar, Foxconn Interconnect Technology, Huawei, Intel, Juniper Networks, Lumentum, Luxtera, Mellanox Technologies, Molex, Oclaro, and TE Connectivity.

Contributors include Amphenol, Applied Optoelectronics, APRESIA Systems, Celestica, Ciena, ColourChip, Dell EMC, Delta, Fujitsu Optical Components, Genesis, H3C, Innovium, Inphi, Ixia, Kaiam, LEONI, Lorom, Luxshare, MACOM, MaxLinear, MultiLane, NeoPhotonics, Nokia, Panduit, PHY-SI, Ranovus, Samtec, Senko, Semtech, Sicoya, Siemon, Skorpios Technologies, Source Photonics, Spirent, Sumitomo Electric, Xilinx, and Yamaichi Electronics.

The new QSFP-DD specification is available for free download at www.qsfp-dd.com

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This article was written
by Matthew Peach

Matthew Peach is a freelance technology journalist specialising in photonics and communications. He has previously worked for several business-to-business publishers, editing a range of high-tech magazines and websites.