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Differences Between QSFP-DD and QSFP+ / QSFP28 / QSFP56 / OSFP / CFP8 / COBO

As the demand for bandwidth explodes, the world of data center connectivity becomes increasingly complex. Navigating the various high-speed transceiver modules can be daunting, especially with acronyms like QSFP-DD, QSFP+, OSFP, and COBO thrown around. This guide aims to unravel the mysteries, comparing and contrasting these modules to empower you to make informed decisions.

Introductions of Between QSFP-DD and QSFP+ / QSFP28 / QSFP56 / OSFP / CFP8 / COBO

  • QSFP-DD (Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable Double Density): This versatile champion supports both 200G and 400G, boasts backward compatibility with older QSFP modules, and consumes less power than its bulkier rivals. Its compact size makes it ideal for high-density data center applications.

  • QSFP+ (Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable): The veteran, offering reliable 40G connectivity with lower power consumption compared to its newer counterparts. While not supporting higher speeds, its compatibility and affordability make it a valuable choice for existing infrastructure.

  • QSFP28 (Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable 28): Doubling the speed of QSFP+, it delivers 100G connectivity while maintaining compatibility with QSFP+ cages. However, its higher power consumption necessitates careful consideration.

  • QSFP56 (Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable 56): Doubling the speed of QSFP28 again, it offers 200G connectivity in the familiar QSFP form factor. Like QSFP28, its higher power consumption demands attention.

  • OSFP (Octal Small Form-factor Pluggable): The newcomer, designed for 400G and future-proofed for 800G. Its larger size accommodates the higher power requirements and offers increased thermal performance. While not backward compatible, it may be a future-oriented option.

  • CFP8 (C form-factor Pluggable 8): Delivering 400G in a larger form factor, CFP8 boasts impressive performance but consumes significantly more power compared to QSFP-DD. Its size makes it less suitable for high-density applications.

  • COBO (Consortium for On-board Optics): Not a pluggable module itself, COBO defines specifications for integrating optics directly onto printed circuit boards. This offers increased density and performance but lacks the flexibility of pluggable modules.

ModuleData RateForm FactorBackward CompatibilityPower Consumption
Typical Applications
QSFP-DD200G/400GQuad Small Form-factor Pluggable Double DensityQSFP+, QSFP28Up to 12W
400G data center interconnects, high-performance computing
QSFP+40GQuad Small Form-factor PluggableN/AUp to 3.5W
40G data center interconnects, Ethernet switching
QSFP28100GQuad Small Form-factor Pluggable 28QSFP+Up to 7W
100G data center interconnects, Ethernet switching
QSFP56200GQuad Small Form-factor Pluggable 56QSFP+, QSFP28Up to 14.5W
200G data center interconnects, Ethernet switching
OSFP400GOctal Small Form-factor PluggableN/AUp to 15W
400G data center interconnects, high-performance computing (future-proof for 800G)
CFP8400GC form-factor Pluggable 8N/AUp to 35W
400G data center interconnects, high-performance computing
COBO200G/400GConsortium for On-board OpticsN/AVaries
High-performance computing, data center infrastructure (not pluggable)

Key Differences Between QSFP-DD and QSFP+ / QSFP28 / QSFP56 / OSFP / CFP8 / COBO:

  • Data Rate: QSFP-DD leads the pack with dual speeds, followed by QSFP56, QSFP28, and QSFP+. OSFP and CFP8 are dedicated 400G, while COBO varies depending on implementation.

  • Form Factor: QSFP-DD, QSFP+, QSFP28, and QSFP56 maintain the compact QSFP design, while OSFP is larger and CFP8 even bigger. COBO integrates directly onto boards.

  • Backward Compatibility: QSFP-DD shines with compatibility with QSFP+, QSFP28, and even OSFP cages. Others lack such flexibility.

  • Power Consumption: QSFP-DD excels in power efficiency, followed by QSFP+ and QSFP28. OSFP, CFP8, and COBO consume significantly more power.

  • Applications: QSFP-DD dominates data center interconnects and high-performance computing due to its versatility and efficiency. CFP8 and COBO cater to high-performance computing due to their raw power, while OSFP targets future-proof data center deployments.

Choosing the Right Module:

Your ideal choice depends on your specific needs. Consider these factors:

  • Required bandwidth: Match the module's speed to your data demands.

  • Existing infrastructure: Leverage backward compatibility if upgrading.

  • Power budget: Factor in power consumption and cooling requirements.

  • Future-proofing: Consider modules with higher speeds or upgradeability.

  • Cost: Balance upfront costs with power consumption and future needs.

By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each module, you can navigate the high-speed landscape with confidence. Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all solution. Carefully evaluate your specific requirements to choose the module that empowers your connectivity needs, both now and in the future.

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