Multi-source agreement paves the way for 4-wavelength 400-gigabit modules

Created September 17, 2017
News and Business

A 100-gigabit single-wavelength multi-source agreement (MSA) has been created to provide the industry with 2km and 10km 100-gigabit and 400-gigabit four-wavelength interfaces.

The MSA, backed by 22 founding companies including Microsoft, Alibaba and Cisco Systems, aims to complete a draft specification before the year end.

“Twenty-two companies is a very large MSA at this stage, which shows the strong interest in this technology,” said Mark Nowell, distinguished engineer, data centre switching at Cisco Systems and co-chair of the 100G Lambda MSA.

The 100G Lambda MSA will be implemented in two phases. In the first, three single-mode fibre optical interfaces will be specified: a 100-gigabit 2km link (100G-FR), a 100-gigabit 10km link (100G-LR), and a 2km 400-gigabit coarse wavelength-division multiplexed (CWDM) design, known as the 400G-FR4. A 10km version of the 400-gigabit CWDM design (400G-LR4) will be developed in the second phase.

For the specifications, the MSA will use work already done by the IEEE that has defined two 100-gigabit-per-wavelength specifications. The IEEE 802.3bs 400 Gigabit Ethernet Task Force has defined a 400-gigabit parallel fibre interface over 500m, referred to as DR4 (400GBASE-DR4). The second, the work of the IEEE 802.3cd 50, 100 and 200 Gigabit Ethernet Task Force, defines the DR (100GBASE-DR), a 100-gigabit single lane specification for 500m.

The MSA specification does not dictate the modules to be used when implementing the 100-gigabit-based wavelength designs. An obvious candidate for the single-wavelength 2km and 10km designs is the SFP-DD. The OSFP and the QSFP-DD pluggable optical modules as well as COBO, the embedded optics specification, will be used to implement 400G-FR4.

Once the draft specification of the phase one work is published by the 22 founding companies this year, other companies – ‘contributors’ – will join and add their comments and requirements. Further refinement will then be needed before the final MSA specification, expected by mid-2018. Meanwhile, the development of the 10km 400G-LR4 interface will start during the first half of 2018.

By Roy Rubenstein

See also:

Press release: 100G Lambda MSA to define specification for next generation optical links

Gazettabyte: New MSA to enable four-lambda 400-gigabit modules

SFP-DD: The new SFP-DD optical module will support 100 gigabits

The new SFP-DD optical module will support 100 gigabits 


This article was written
by Roy Rubenstein

is the editor of and has been researching and writing about the telecom and semiconductor industries for over 20 years.