Tag Archives: QSFP-40G-LR4

What Is the Difference Between Singlemode QSFP+ and Multimode QSFP+?


The singlemode and multimode QSFP+ here mean the transceivers which work at different types of optical fibers, ie singlemode type will work with singlemode fiber, while multimode one will work with multimode fiber. So, what’s the different between them? And what should we notice when using them? Which one should I choose? In this article, we will have a discussion around this topic.

Singlemode vs. Multimode QSFP+

  • Singlemode

Singlemode fiber (SMF) has much tighter tolerances for optics used. The core is smaller and the laser wavelength is narrower. This means that SMF has the capability for higher bandwidth and much longer distances in transmission. Singlemode QSFP+ works mainly in 1310nm wavelength and is mostly used in long distances transmission. There are many different types of them, and different type can achieve different transmission distance, such as 500m, 1km, 2km, 10km and 40km. he color of compatible fiber optic patch cord is yellow. SMF QSFP+ usually uses duplex LC connector, but there also are some types use MPO/MTP connector.

Singlemode QSFP+

  • Multimode

Multimode fiber (MMF) uses a much bigger core and usually uses a longer wavelength of light. Because of this, the optics used in MMF have a higher capability to gather light from the laser. In practical terms, this means the optics are cheaper. The common multimode QSFP+ works in 850nm wavelength and is only used for short distance transmission reaching 100m and 500m. Though it’s not able to transport for long distance, it can transport many kind of optical signals. It usually uses MPO/MTP connector, but some SMF&MMF ones can also use duplex LC connector.

Multimode QSFP+

Choose a Singlemode or Multimode QSFP+?
SMF and MMF QSFP+ may have different transmission distance and connectors, which is the most important factors you should consider when to make a decision. In the table below, I display the specifications of some main SMF and MMF 40G modules. Hope to help you to choose the right one for your network.

Type Wavelength Fiber and Distance Connector Original model
40GBASE-SR4  4x850nm 100m(OM3) 150m(OM4) Male MPO Cisco 40G-SR4
40GBASE-CSR4  4x850nm 300m(OM3) 400m(OM4) Male MPO Cisco 40G-CSR4
40GBASE-LX4  1270,1290,1310,1330 nm 100m(OM3) 150m(OM4) 2km(SMF) Duplex LC Juniper JNP-QSFP-40G-LX4
40GBASE Universal  1270,1290,1310,1330 nm 150m(OM3) 150m(OM4) 500m(SMF) Duplex LC Arista QSFP-40G-UNIV
40GBASE-PLRL4  4x1310nm 1km(SMF) Male MPO Arista QSFP-40G-PLRL4
4x10GBASE-LR Lite 4x1310nm 2km(SMF) Male MPO Finisar FTL4P1QL1C
40GBASE-LR4  1270,1290,1310,1330 nm 10km(SMF) Duplex LC Cisco 40G-LR4
40GBASE-LR4-Lite 1270,1290,1310,1330 nm 2km(SMF) Duplex LC Finisar FTL4C1QL1C
40GBASE-LRL4  1270,1290,1310,1330 nm 1km(SMF) Duplex LC Arista 40G-LRL4
40GBASE-PLR4  4x1310nm 10km(SMF) Male MPO Arista 40G-PLR4
40GBASE-ER4  1270,1290,1310,1330 nm 40km(SMF) Duplex LC Cisco 40G-ER4

What Should We Notice When Using Singlemode & Multimode QSFP+

  • Ensure that the transceiver in both ends of the fiber patch cord are of the same wavelength. A simple method is that the color of the modules must be consistent.
  • In general, to ensure the data accuracy, short-wave QSFP+ modules use with multimode fibers (ie. aqua OM3 or OM4 fiber patch cord), while long-wave modules use with single-mode fiber (ie. yellow fiber patch cord).
  • Do not over bend or winding fiber optic cables when using them. This will increase the attenuation of light in transit.
  • If you don’t use this module, you must use the dust plug to protect the optical bore.

When we choosing the QSFP module, we must confirm the transmission distance and wavelength we want to use in. This will help us to choose the right QSFP modules more efficiently. In addition, the costs for transceiver modules which keep adding up over time will be a budget pressure for many users. To save more, we can choose the compatible module without sacrificing any quality or reliability but only with a low cost. Fiberstore, an excellent supplier, supplies 100% compatible fiber optic transceiver modules of many brands, such as Cisco, HP, Juniper, Brocade, Finisar etc. with a incredible discount that may be a good choice for you.

Related Article: QSFP BiDi – 40GbE Over LC Duplex Multimode Fiber

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

Differences Between 40G QSFP LRL4 and PLRL4 Modules


Data centers regularly undertake their own great migration, to ever-higher-speed networks. Since IEEE 802.3ba Ethernet standard introduced the 40 Gigabit Ethernet in 2010, 40G has been an unstoppable tendency in the future. At present, QSFP, CXP and CFP are three 40G transceiver module options. Among QSFP is the most common one. In terms of 40G QSFP modules, there are many different types available, such as QSFP-40G-CSR4, QSFP-40G-LR4, QSFP-40G-SR4, QSFP-40G-LRL4 and QSFP-40G-PLRL4 etc. We can see that QSFP-40G-LRL4 and QSFP-40G-PLRL4 look like similar. One difference is QSFP-40G-PLRL4 has a word “P”. So, what does this word mean? This passage will explain it and tell you some other differences between them.

In fact, QSFP PLRL4 refers to QSFP parallel LRL4. In general, digital data transmission can occur in two basic modes: serial or parallel. In parallel transmission, multiple bits are sent simultaneously on different channels within the same cable, or radio path, and synchronized to a clock. However, in serial transmission, bits are sent sequentially on the same channel which reduces costs for wire but also slows the speed of transmission. So 40G QSFP PLRL4 module uses parallel transmission which is achieved with MPO/MTP multifiber connectors. 40G QSFP LRL4 module uses serial transmission of which the connector is LC.


For these two modules both operate on 40GBASE-LRL4 standard, they actually both support link lengths of up to 1 kilometers over a standard pair of G.652 single-mode fiber. But besides the optical connectors they used, the wavelength and the interoperability of them are also different.

Wavelength (nm)

  • 40GBASE-LRL4 QSFP (Multiplexing and demultiplexing of the four wavelengths): 1270 nm, 1290 nm, 1310 nm, 1330 nm
  • 40GBASE-PLRL4 QSFP: 4 x 1310nm


  • For 40GBASE-LRL4 QSFP, the 40 Gigabit Ethernet signal is carried over four wavelengths. Multiplexing and demultiplexing of the four wavelengths are managed within the device.
  • For 40GBASE-PLRL4 QSFP, the 4x10G connectivity is achieved using an external 12-fiber parallel to 2-fiber duplex breakout cable, which connects the 40GBASE-LR4 module to four 10GBASE-LR optical interfaces. QSFP-40G-PLRL4 is optimized to guarantee interoperability with any IEEE 40GBase-LR4 and 10GBase-LR (in 4x10G mode).

All the comparisons between 40G QSFP LRL4 and PLRL4 modules above are listed in the following table. From this chart, you may get a more intuitive understanding.

Name Distance Wavelength Connector Interoperability
QSFP-40G-LRL4 1km (G.652) 1270nm, 1290nm, 1310nm, 1330nm LC 4-Channel CWDM Mux/Demux inside with SFP+ CWDM
QSFP-40G-PLRL4 1km (G.652) 4 x 1310nm MPO/MTP 4 x 10G operations on SMF with SFP+ LR

After reading this passage, you may know more about these two kinds of QSFP modules. Each one of them has their own features, which can satisfy different applications. You should choose the most suitable module for your use. fs.com has a large number of QSFP-40G-PLR4 and QSFP-40G-PLRL4 modules in stock with super quality and competitive price. You can visit that website to  choose your optics.

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