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Optical modules offer 40 Gigabit Ethernet extended reach

9 March 2012
 
Avago Technologies and Reflex Photonics have announced extended-reach 40 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) QSFP+ transceivers. The modules will enable data centre managers to link equipment over distances greater than 100m, as defined by the IEEE P802.3ba 40GbE standard.

Avago’s eSR4 QSFP+ transceiver extends the reach of 40GbE to 300m over OM3 and 400m over OM4 multimode fibre.

Reflex Photonics’ 40GbE QSFP also achieves 300m over OM3 fibre and, while it has not tested the transceiver over OM4 fibre, the company is using the same optics that it uses for its CFP which meets 450m over OM4.
 
“This [QSFP] is aimed at large data centres operated by the likes of a Google or a Facebook,” said Robert Coenen, vice president, sales and marketing at Reflex Photonics. 
 
According to Avago, between 10% and 20% of interface requirements in the data centre are beyond 150m. Without the advent of extended-reach 40GbE modules, data centre operators would need to deploy singlemode fibre and 40GBase-LR4 modules, it says. And while the long-reach optics can fit inside a QSFP, the power consumption is up to 3.5W, compared to the 1.5W of the QSFP+ eSR4.
 
"The cost of the LR4 is also increased by at least a factor of three," said I Hsing Tan, Ethernet segment marketing manager in the fibre optics product division at Avago.
 
Avago's eSR4 will be available from mid-2012. Reflex’s Coenen says it will have samples of its 40GbE QSFP, which also supports 40GbE and 4x10GbE, by May 2012.
 
The eSR4, like Avago's already announced iSR4 (interoperable SR4) 40GbE QSFP+ transceiver, supports either 40GbE or four independent 10GbE channels. When used as a multichannel 10GbE interface, the QSFP+ can interface to various 10GbE form factors such as X2, XFP and SFP+, the company says. 
 
By Roy Rubenstein