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Form Factor Differences between QSFP56 and other QSFP series

In the ever-evolving landscape of networking technology, the form factor plays a pivotal role in determining the efficiency and performance of data transmission equipment. One significant advancement in this realm is the QSFP56, a next-generation solution that outshines its predecessors. Let's delve into the nuances of form factor differences, specifically between QSFP56 and other QSFP series.

Form Factor of  QSFP56 200G Transceivers

To clarify the nature of QSFP56, let's begin by examining the QSFP form factor. Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable (QSFP) emerged as an evolution from SFP, originally designed to replace single-channel SFPs with high-density optical modules. Notably, QSFP designates four lanes for up to four wavelengths, offering superior bandwidth capacity when compared to SFP modules.


Building upon the foundation of QSFP, the 40G QSFP+ was introduced, followed by the adoption of the 100G QSFP28 for high-density applications. As data traffic in data centers and advanced network applications continues to escalate, there is a pressing need in the market for higher-speed options. The QSFP family has expanded further, welcoming additional form factors such as the 200G QSFP56 and the 400G QSFP56-DD.


As a progression from its predecessors, the 40G QSFP+ and the 100G QSFP28, the Quad 50 Gigabits Small Form-factor Pluggable (QSFP56) has been specifically crafted for 200G Ethernet applications. Representing 4 x 50 to 56Gb/s within a QSFP form factor, QSFP56 is sometimes colloquially referred to as 200G QSFP for simplicity. The size and form factor of QSFP56 optical modules closely resemble those of QSFP modules.Categorized by transmission distance, QSFP56 modules come in variants such as QSFP56 CR, SR, DR, FR, and LR, each catering to different distances over single-mode fiber (SMF) or multimode fiber (MMF).


Typically, a 200G link can be established by using two QSFP56 modules with an SMF or MMF. Alternatively, a 200G link can be achieved using QSFP56 AOC/DAC, simplifying the linking process by connecting QSFP56 ports on two devices. For bridging 200G QSFP56 ports with other speeds, options include 200G QSFP56 to 2x100G QSFP28 breakout cables and 200G QSFP56 to 4x50G SFP56 breakout cables, facilitating connections at 2x100G or 4x50G speeds.

Basic Parameters of QSFP56, QSFP28, and QSFP+.

When examining their industry designations, QSFP56, QSFP28, and QSFP+ exhibit notable similarities, primarily evident in their shared QSFP form factor as indicated by their postfixes. Additionally, they maintain identical physical dimensions. Despite these resemblances, distinctions arise in their respective data center functionalities and connectivity capabilities. The table below outlines the fundamental parameters of QSFP56, QSFP28, and QSFP+.

RatesBit Rate/LaneLanesModulation

The Future Landscape of QSFP56-QSFP56-DD (400G QSFP-DD)

The future landscape of networking anticipates a transformative shift with the introduction of Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable 56 Double Density (QSFP56-DD), commonly recognized as 400G QSFP-DD. This technological advancement represents a substantial leap in data transmission, reaching speeds of up to 400 gigabits per second (Gbps). The key innovation lies in the double density design, catering to the growing demand for increased port density and efficient space utilization.


QSFP56-DD builds on the success of its predecessors, QSFP56 and QSFP28 transceiver, ensuring backward compatibility and a seamless integration process. Positioned as a pivotal element in data centers and telecommunications networks, its heightened data transfer rates are tailored to address the requirements of a digitally-driven era.


While promising, the future landscape also poses challenges in implementation and cost considerations. Nonetheless, ongoing industry collaboration and continuous research and development underscore the potential of QSFP56-DD, signifying its role as a cornerstone in the evolution toward high-speed connectivity.


In the dynamic landscape of networking, the evolution of form factors is a testament to the industry's commitment to pushing boundaries. QSFP56 stands out as a revolutionary standard, offering unparalleled speed and efficiency while maintaining a compact form factor. As organizations weigh the benefits against challenges, the adoption of QSFP56 is poised to shape the future of high-speed networking.

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