200G and 400G: Which One Will Be the Rising Star in the Market after 100G optics?


With the rapid development of optical communication and Internet in recent years, users’ demand for the network has also surged, which leads to the rapid growth of Telecom backbone traffic at a speed of 50% to 80% per year. In order to follow the development trend of 10G-40G-100G/10G-25G-100G in the optical communication market, 100G optical module arises with the trend and rises rapidly in the market. It plays a very important role in building a 100G network system.

Since the advent of the 100G network, the industry alliance institutions such as the IEEE, Multi-Source Agreement(MSA) have formulated multiple standards for the 100G optical transceiver.

According to the differences of form factor, 100G optical transceivers can be divided into CFP/CFP2/CFP4, CXP, and QSFP28 optics. The detailed parameters are shown below:

StandardConnector &Fiber TypeTransmission Distance
100GBASE-SR1024 fiber MPO, parallel multimode fiber, with 10 transmitting ports and 10 receiving ports,850mnOM3,100m OM4,150m
100GBASE-SR412 fiber MPO, parallel multimode fiber, with 4 transmitting ports and 4 receiving ports,850mnOM4 100m
100GBASE-LR4duplex LC, single mode fiber,1310mn,4x25G WDM10km
100GBASE-ER412 fiber MPO, parallel multimode fiber, with 4 transmitting ports and 4 receiving ports,850mn40km
100G PSM412 fiber MPO, parallel single mode fiber, with 4 transmitting ports and 4 receiving ports,1310mn500m
100G CWDM4duplex LC, single mode fiber,1271-1331mn,4x25GCWDM2km
100G SWDM4Duplex LC, multimode fiber,850-950mn,4x25G SWDM,OM3,TBO WBMMF,4TBD
100G CLR4duplex LC, single mode fiber,1271-1331mn,4x25G CWDM2km

Thereinto, the QSFP28 optical module has the same design concept as the QSFP optical module. It is with four transmitting and receiving ports; the transmission rate of each channel reach up to 28Gbps. In addition, QSFP28 optic fiber transceiver is with these advantages such as small size, power consumption(no more than 3.5W). Currently, mainstream packaging of the 100G optical module is paid more attention such as 100G QSFP28 optical module.

At the same time that 100G optical transceivers achieve 100G optical transmission, a series of major technological changes happen, including polarization multiplexing phase modulation technology, the third generation super-strong error correction coding technology of digital coherent receiving technology, etc. On account that these techs adapt to the changes in market trends, they become the mainstream of the market.

Meanwhile, the new applications, such as high-definition video 4K, live broadcast, VR etc, promote the fast growth of network traffic. Simultaneously, these emerging applications such as cloud computing, IaaS services, big data, etc, also raise higher requirements for data transmission in the interior of the data center. These promote the continuous development of 100G optical module market.

Although 100G optical module has become the market mainstream, and the requirements for bandwidth, port density, the power consumption of system are continuously improved, which further pushes the development of technology toward the system of 200G/400G/higher rate.

With the continuous revision of the 200G/400G standard, the standard of 200G/400G optical module has always been synchronized. At present, there have been manufacturers pushed out module samples for advertisement. In fact, for the next-stage development, the adoption of 200G or 400G has always been the controversial object in the industry. It is believed that the competition among optical transceivers will be more intense when it is in the commercial phase.

The main type of 400G optical module includes CDFP, CFP8, QSFP-DD, and OSFP. CDFP is the earliest type of 400G optical module, which has already been in version 3.0 from 2014 to now. CFP8 is a new member of the CFP family after CFP4, which is with the larger size. QSFP-DD is a popular type at present; in addition that its length is slightly longer, it is basically the same as QSFP28.

OSFP is a new type of 400G optical module. It is with eight high-speed electrical channels; it still supports 32 OSFP ports in the front panel per 1U, and 12.8Tbps can be available per 1U. With the integrated radiator, the heat dissipation performance can be greatly improved, and the module with 15W power can be realized in the switch chassis with the traditional airflow.

Compared with 100G, the 400G system can further enhance the network capacity on the basis of 100G and reduce the transmission cost per bit. Because in the aspects of 40G/100G products, the four channel parallel architecture is taken as the most cost-effective high bandwidth optical packaging platform. It has been proven that whether 4x50Gx2 architecture or 4X100G architecture will also be most cost-effective in the future.

Although the 400G module also supports the application of 200G, and the module type for the 200G application is MicroQSFP.

MicroQSFP is with 4 differential pairs in total; it can support the current 100G application. Compared with 100G QSFP28 optical transceiver, it is smaller in size but its panel density has increased by 33%. Thus, it will dominate in volume and panel density. In addition, it will achieve better cooling effect due to that it is with the radiator.

With the rapid development of mobile Internet, cloud computing, big data, and other technologies, the whole communication industry needs to upgrade the network to a higher level after 10G-40G-100G or 10G-25G-100G. For 200G/400G, which one will be the rising star after 100G? It is still hard to draw a conclusion. However, in terms of the current market situation and technological development, the 400G optical module is with more advantages.

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