SFP-DD MSA targets 50-Gbps, 100-Gbps optical transceivers

Brace yourself – there's another optical transceiver multisource agreement (MSA) on the horizon. The 14-member SFP-DD Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) Group plans to create a double-density SFP sized optical module for 50-and 100-Gbps data center network applications using NRZ or PAM4 modulation, depending upon the data rate.

Brace yourself – there's another optical transceiver multisource agreement (MSA) on the horizon. The 14-member SFP-DD Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) Group plans to create a double-density SFP sized optical module for 50-and 100-Gbps data center network applications using NRZ or PAM4 modulation, depending upon the data rate.

The SFP-DD design will use electrical lanes that run at up to 25 Gbps via NRZ or 56 Gbps via PAM4. The initial specification will call for a pair of such lanes, meaning support for an aggregate of either 50 Gbps or 112 Gbps. According to the MSA's website, another two lanes may be possible, depending on pin out. Target power consumption is 3.5 W.

The MSA members see the SFP-DD as a complement to the higher-capacity QSFP-DD form factor rather than as a replacement. For example, the primary initial application for the new optical modules will be server-side interconnect. Here an SFP-DD server port would complement QSFP-DD switch ports, including in breakout scenarios.

The SFP-DD MSA founding members include Alibaba, Broadcom, Brocade, Cisco, Dell EMC, Finisar, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei, Intel, Juniper Networks, Lumentum, Mellanox Technologies, Molex, and TE Connectivity. The group plans to specify operating parameters, signal transmission speed goals, and protocols for the optical transceiver, as well as a 1×1 cage with connector. The companies expect networking equipment based on the SFP-DD specification to support legacy SFP modules and cables as well.

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