QSFP28 MSA Compatible 100G Optics Overview

As data centers around the world explore their options for increasing network speeds and bandwidth, 100G QSFP28 MSA compatible optics appear as an ideal alternative to accelerate data flow. QSFP28 optics hence become the universal data center form factor for 100G network transmission. This article will address QSFP28 MSA compatible optics used in 100G transmission.

QSFP28 MSA Optics: The Revolution in Data Centers

The adoption rate of QSFP28 MSA compliant optics is consistently on the rise for the past few years. It is predicted that over half of the data center will make the shift to adopting optics that is QSFP28 MSA compliant. The traditional 10G or even 40G may not be enough considering the explosion of data, therefore, QSFP28 MSA is going to become the new standard, and it has the following advantages.

Global Optical Transceiver Demand

Cost Efficiency—QSFP28 MSA optics now deliver a compelling price point, offering far greater capacity increases. And it still future-proofing the network with unsurpassed bandwidth. The growth in QSFP28 MSA optic deployments will undoubtedly drive down the cost of 100G optics.

Speed and Capacity—SFP+ and QSFP+ optics will not be enough for data-intensive industries. Thus QSFP28 MSA optic is specifically designed to transport enormous amounts of data with ultra-low latency.

Flexibility—100G will be the preferred technology across long-haul networks. 100G networking can be customized, optimized, and easily expanded to allow for changes in the future.

QSFP28 MSA Compatible Optics Overview

QSFP28 MSA optic generally has the exact same footprint and faceplate density as 40G QSFP+. But it is implemented with four 25-Gbps lanes. With an upgrade electrical interface, QSFP28 MSA optic is capable of supporting signal up to 28Gbps signals. Though QSFP28 transceiver keeps all of the physical dimensions of its predecessors, it surpasses them with the strong ability to increase density, decrease power consumption, and decrease the price per bit. The Following are some QSFP28 MSA compliant optics for different applications.

main types of QSFP28 optics 100G SR4, 100G PSM4, 100G LR4, and 100G CWDM4

100G SR4 QSFP28

100G SR4 QSFP28 is designed to support short distance transmission via multimode fiber. This transceiver module can support 100G transmission up to 70m on OM3 MMF and 100m on OM4 MMF. With MTP interface, the 100G SR4 QSFP28 MSA complaint module enables 4×25G dual-way transmission over 8 fibers.

100g-sr4-qsfp28 data transmission

100G QSFP28 LR4

100G QSFP28 LR4 is QSFP28 MSA compliant and is specifically designed for use in long-distance transmission. QSFP28 LR4 utilizes WDM technology for 4×25G data transmission, and these four 25G optical signals are transmitted over four different wavelengths. With a duplex LC interface, 100G LR4 QSFP28 module enables 100G dual-way transmission up to 10 km over single-mode fiber.

100g-qsfp28-lr4 transmission

QSFP28 100G PSM4

100G PSM4 is standardized by QSFP28 MSA and it uses four parallel fibers (lanes) operating in each direction, with each lane carrying a 25G optical transmission. 100G PSM4 module sends the signal down to eight-fiber cable with an MTP interface. The operating distance of 100G PSM4 is limited to 500 m.

qsfp28-100g-psm4 transmission


100G DWDM4 uses WDM technology—an optical multiplexer and de-multiplexer to reduce the number of fibers to 2. Being QSFP28 MSA compatible, 100G DWDM4 can operate on single-mode fiber up to 2 km over duplex LC interface. Compared with QSFP28 LR4, it has shorter transmission distance and lower cost.

qsfp28-100g-dwdm4 transmission

QSFP28 MSA Compliant Cables

In addition to the all the QSFP28 MSA 100G transceivers mentioned above, there are also high-speed cables deployed in the 100G network. The cables can be either QSFP28 to 4 SFP28 copper cables (DACs), or active optical cables (AOCs). QSFP28 to 4 SFP28 DACs offer the lowest cost with reach up to 3 m. They are typically used within the racks of the data center, or as chassis-to-chassis interconnect in large switch and routers. QSFP28 AOCs are much lighter and offer longer reach up to over 100 m.


QSFP28 MSA compliant 100G optics are an indispensable component to embrace 100G to your infrastructure, and they also facilitate scaling to 100G networks with the simplicity as 10G. With higher port density, lower power consumption and lower cost, QSFP28 MSA transceiver is an ideal alternative for large scale data centers, as well as for future network expansions.

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Author: Evan

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