Tag Archives: QSFP+

How to Convert a Port From QSFP+ to SFP+?


As data communications technology migrates from 10GbE to 40GbE and beyond, it is often necessary to connect 40GbE equipment with existing 10GbE equipment. As we know 40GbE NIC or switch usually equipped with QSFP+ ports, and 10GbE switch usually equipped with SFP+ ports. That is to say we must know how to convert a QSFP+ port to a SFP+ port. At present, there exists three ways to solve this problem. I will explain it in this blog.

QSFP+ to SFP+ Cable
As shown in the figure below, a QSFP+ to SFP+ cable consists of a QSFP+ transceiver on one end and four SFP+ transceivers on the other end. The QSFP+ transceiver connects directly into the QSFP+ access port on the switch. The cables use high-performance integrated duplex serial data links for bidirectional communication on four links simultaneously. The SFP+ links are designed for data rates up to 10 Gbps each. QSFP+ cable is available in passive and active two types. Passive QSFP+ cable has no signal amplification built into the cable assembly, therefore, their transmission distance is usually shorter than an active one.


CVR-QSFP-SFP10G: QSFP+ to SFP+ Adapter (QSA)
You can convert a QSFP+ port to a SFP+ port using the QSFP+ to SFP+ adapter. QSA provides smooth connectivity between devices that use 40G QSFP+ ports and 10G SFP+ ports. Using this adapter, you can effectively use a QSFP+ module to connect to a lower-end switch or server that uses a SFP+ based module. This adapter is very easy to use. As shown in the figure below, just plug one side of the QSA in your QSFP+ port, and plug a SFP+ module into another side of the QSA. Then you can convert a QSFP+ port to a SFP+ port easily.


QSFP+ Breakout Cable
As we know, parallel 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ modules use 8 out of 12 MPO/MTP interface fibers transmitting 4 x duplex (DX) channels (4 x transmit and 4 x receive). The QSFP+ breakout cable uses a pinless MTP connector on one end for interfacing with the QSFP port on the switch. The other end contains 4 duplex LC connectors, which provide connectivity to the SFP+ ports on the switch. Thus higher-speed equipment (40G QSFP+) can be connected to slower-speed equipment (10G SFP+) successfully.

QSFP+ Breakout Cable convert qsfp+ to sfp+

When you want to connect a QSFP+ port to a SFP+ port, you can use QSFP+ to SFP+ cable, QSFP+ to SFP+ adapter or QSFP+ breakout cable. All these three options can meet your needs. FS.COM provides a full range of compatible QSFP+ cable, which can be 100% compatible with your Cisco, Juniper, Arista and Brocade switches and routers. Or you want to use QSFP+ breakout cable, you can also find it in our Fiberstore.

Related Article: 10G SFP+ and 40G QSFP+ Transceivers Cabling Solutions

QSFP+ and QSFP28 Transceivers Cabling Solutions


The short range 40-Gigabit Ethernet QSFP+ and 100-Gigabit Ethernet QSFP28 transceivers that are widely used in today’s data center use 12-fiber patch cables with female MPO connectors. The fiber can be either OM3 or OM4. The long range QSFP+ and QSFP28 transceiver use single-mode fiber patch cables with duplex LC connectors. This article may introduce the cabling solutions for QSFP+ and QSFP28 transceiver to you.

QSFP+ and QSFP28 Transceiver Types
In terms of 40G QSFP+ transceivers, from short range to long range, they are available in 5 common types. The minimum transmission distance is 100m, and the max transmission distance is 40km. 100G QSFP28 transceivers are commonly avaiable in 100GBASE-SR4 and 100GBASE-LR4 two types. Detailed QSFP+ and QSFP28 transceiver specifications are displayed in following tables.

Transceiver Type Interface Standard Connector Type Fiber Type
QSFP+ 40GBASE-SR4 Female MTP/MPO, key up 12-fiber multi-mode fiber (MMF) (OM3 or OM4)
QSFP+ 40GBASE-PLRL4 Female MTP/MPO, key up 12-fiber single-mode fiber (SMF) 1km
QSFP+ 40GBASE-PLR4 Female MTP/MPO, key up 12-fiber SMF 10km
QSFP+ 40GBASE-LR4 LC duplex SMF 10km
QSFP+ 40GBASE-ER4 LC duplex SMF 40km
QSFP28 100GBASE-SR4 Female MTP/MPO, key up 12-fiber MMF (OM3 or OM4)
QSFP28 100GBASE-LR4 LC duplex SMF 10km

12-Fiber Patch Cables with MTP Connectors
12-fiber patch cables with MTP connectors can be used to connect two transceivers of the same type—40GBASE-SR4-to-40GBASESR4 or 100GBASE-SR4-to-100GBASE-SR4. You can also connect 4x10GBASE-LR transceivers such as 40GBASE-PLRL4 and 40GBASE-PLR4 using patch cables—4x10GBASE-LR-to-4x10GBASE-LR—instead of breaking the signal out into four separate signals. Ensure that you order cables with the correct polarity. The MTP connectors on the 12-fiber cables should be key up (sometimes referred to as latch up, Type B, or Method B). If you are using patch panels between two QSFP+ or QSFP28 transceivers, ensure that the proper polarity is maintained through the cable plant.

12-Fiber MTP Patch Cables

12-Fiber MPO Patch Cables

12-Fiber Breakout Cables with MTP-LC Duplex Connectors
12-fiber breakout cables with MTP-LC duplex connectors can be used to connect a 4x10GBASE-LR or 4x10GBASE-SR transceiver to four separate 10GBASE-LR or 10GBASE-SR SFP+ transceivers. The breakout cable is constructed out of a 12-ribbon fiber-optic cable. The breakout cable splits from a single cable with an MTP connector on one end, into 4 cable pairs with 4 LC duplex connectors on the opposite end.

40G QSFP+ and 100G QSFP28 transceivers solution

40G to 4×10G

LC Duplex Patch Cables
Single-mode patch cables with LC duplex connectors can be used to connect two transceivers of the same type—40GBASE-LR4-to-40GBASE-LR4 or 100GBASE-LR4-to100GBASE-LR4. The SMF patch cable is one fiber pair with two LC duplex connectors at opposite ends.

LC Duplex Patch Cables

Related Article: Can I Use the QSFP+ Optics on QSFP28 Port?

40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ Transceiver Links: CWDM and PSM


As we all know, 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ transceivers usually use a parallel multimode fiber (MMF) link to achieve 40G. It offers 4 independent transmit and receive channels, each capable of 10G operation for an aggregate data rate of 40G over 100 meters of OM3 MMF or 150 meters of OM4 MMF. However, for 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ transceivers, there are two kinds of links. One is coarse wavelength division multiplexing (CWDM) and the other is parallel single-mode fiber (PSM). What’s the difference between them? In this article, I will show their working principles to you respectively.

40GBASE-LR4 CWDM QSFP+ Transceiver
QSFP-40G-LR4The 40GBASE-LR4 CWDM QSFP+ transceiver, such as QSFP-40GE-LR4, is compliant to 40GBASE-LR4 of the IEEE P802.3ba standard. It contains a duplex LC connector for the optical interface. The maximum transmission distance of this transceiver is 10km. To minimize the optical dispersion in the long-haul system, single-mode fiber (SMF) has to be used. This transceiver converts 4 inputs channels of 10G electrical data to 4 CWDM optical signals by a driven 4-wavelength distributed feedback (DFB) laser array, and then multiplexes them into a single channel for 40G optical transmission, propagating out of the transmitter module from the SMF. Reversely, the receiver module accepts the 40G CWDM optical signals input, and demultiplexes it into 4 individual 10G channels with different wavelengths. The central wavelengths of the 4 CWDM channels are 1271, 1291, 1311 and 1331 nm as members of the CWDM wavelength grid defined in ITU-T G694.2. Each wavelength channel is collected by a discrete photo diode and output as electric data after being amplified by a transimpedance amplifier (TIA).


40GBASE-LR4 PSM QSFP+ Transceiver
40G-LR4 QSFPUnlike CWDM QSFP+ transceiver which uses a LC connector, PSM QSFP+ is a parallel single-mode optical transceiver with an MTP/MPO fiber ribbon connector. It also offers 4 independent transmit and receive channels, each capable of 10G operation for an aggregate data rate of 40G on 10km of single-mode fiber. Proper alignment is ensured by the guide pins inside the receptacle. The cable usually cannot be twisted for proper channel to channel alignment. In terms of a PSM QSFP+, the transmitter module accepts electrical input signals compatible with common mode logic (CML) levels. All input data signals are differential and internally terminated. The receiver module converts parallel optical input signals via a photo detector array into parallel electrical output signals. The receiver module outputs electrical signals are also voltage compatible with CML levels. All data signals are differential and support a data rates up to 10.3G per channel.


What’s the Difference?
From an optical transceiver module structure viewpoint, PSM seems more cost effective because it uses a single uncooled CW laser which splits its output power into four integrated silicon modulators. Besides, its array-fiber coupling to an MTP connector is relatively simple. However, from an infrastructure viewpoint, PSM would be more expensive when the link distance is long, mainly due to the fact that PSM uses 8 optical single-mode fibers while CWDM uses only 2 optical single-mode fibers. A summary table comparing the key differences between CWDM and PSM is shown below:

Optical TX 4 uncooled 1300nm CWDM directly-modulated laserswavelength spacing 20 nm 4 integrated silicon photonic modulators and one CW laseruncooled 1300nm DFB laser
4-wavelength CWDM multiplexer and demultiplexer Needed No need
Connector Duplex LC connector MTP/MPO fiber ribbon connector
Cable Via 2 optical single-mode fibers Via 8 optical single-mode fibers

In addition, the caveat is that the entire optical fiber infrastructure within a data center, including patch panels, has to be changed to accommodate MTP connectors and ribbon cables, which are more expensive than conventional LC connectors and regular SMF cables. What’s more, cleaning MTP connectors is not a straightforward task. Therefore, CWDM is a more profitable and popular 40G QSFP link.

For 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ transceivers, either CWDM link or PSM link, the maximum transmission distance is both 10km. 40GBASE-LR4 CWDM QSFP+ transceivers use a duplex LC connector via 2 optical single-mode fibers to achieve 40G. However, 40GBASE-LR4 PSM QSFP+ transceivers use an MTP/MPO fiber ribbon connector via 8 optical single-mode fibers to reach 40G. Therefore, CWDM QSFP+ enables data center operators to upgrade to 40G connectivity without making any changes to the previous 10G fiber cable plant, which is more cost-effective and widely used by people. Fiberstore provides wide brand compatible 40G CWDM QSFP+ transceivers, such as Juniper compatible JNP-QSFP-40G-LR4 and HP compatible JG661A. In Fiberstore, each fiber optic transceiver has been tested to ensure its compatibility and interoperability. Please rest assured to buy. For more information or quotation, please contact us via sales@fs.com.

Related Article: 40G Transceiver Module: QSFP+ Module And CFP Module