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100G QSFP28 CWDM4 vs. LR4 vs. PSM4 vs. ER4 vs. SR4 Transceiver

Posted on Oct 19, 2023 by
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FS 100G QSFP28 Transceiver

The world of data communications is evolving at an astonishing pace, with ever-increasing demands for faster and more efficient data transmission. As a result, high-speed transceivers have become a crucial part of data centers and telecommunications networks. In this article, we will explore and compare five different 100G transceiver modules: QSFP28 CWDM4, LR4, PSM4, ER4, and SR4. Each of these modules offers distinct features and advantages that cater to various network requirements.

Overview: Introducing 100G Transceiver Modules

Before diving into a detailed comparison, let's briefly introduce each of the five 100G transceiver modules.

QSFP28 CWDM4: This module stands for Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable 28, Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing 4. It uses CWDM technology to transmit data over a single optical fiber. CWDM4 can achieve a 100Gbps data rate, with a reach of up to 2 kilometers.

LR4: LR4, which means Long Range 4, is a 100G transceiver that employs four separate optical channels to transmit data over a longer distance. It can cover distances of up to 10 kilometers using a single-mode fiber.

PSM4: Parallel Single Mode 4, or PSM4, uses four parallel single-mode optical channels to transmit data over short distances. It's suitable for intra-data center connections, with a reach of up to 500 meters.

ER4: Extended Range 4, or ER4, is designed for long-distance connections. It uses four optical channels and can transmit data up to 40 kilometers over single-mode fiber.

SR4: SR4, or Short Range 4, is a short-distance 100G transceiver used primarily for connections within data centers. It uses four parallel multimode optical channels and has a reach of up to 100 meters.

100G QSFP28 CWDM4 vs. LR4 vs. PSM4 vs. ER4 vs. SR4

Now, let's delve into the comparison of these 100G transceiver modules based on several key aspects.

100G QSFP28 CWDM4 vs. LR4 vs. PSM4 vs. ER4 vs. SR4 Transceiver

Features

  • QSFP28 CWDM4 offers a balanced solution for medium distances, with a reach of up to 2 kilometers. Its main advantage is its use of Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM), which allows multiple data streams to be transmitted over a single fiber by assigning different wavelengths to each. This technology maximizes the utilization of existing fiber infrastructure, reducing the need for additional cabling.

  • LR4 is specifically tailored for long-distance connections, reaching up to 10 kilometers. It is ideal for connecting data centers situated farther apart or for extending networks over considerable geographic areas. LR4 achieves this by using four separate optical channels, ensuring signal integrity over extended distances.

  • PSM4 is primarily designed for short-reach connections within a data center, with a reach of up to 500 meters. Its parallel single-mode design allows for high-speed communication within the data center, making it a suitable choice for applications where short-distance, high-capacity connections are required.

  • ER4 is engineered for long-haul connections, capable of reaching up to 40 kilometers. It offers an extended range while maintaining high data rates, making it suitable for use in metropolitan or regional networks where long-distance data transmission is required.

  • SR4 is intended for short-range connections within data centers, covering up to 100 meters. It employs parallel multimode fiber, making it a cost-effective choice for high-speed connections over short distances. SR4 is commonly used for intra-rack and intra-data center links.

Operating Principle

The key differentiator among these transceiver modules lies in their operating principles:

  • QSFP28 CWDM4: Uses Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing to transmit four separate data channels over a single fiber. Each channel operates at 25Gbps.

  • LR4: Employs four separate optical channels to transmit data over long distances. It operates by using a combination of wavelength division multiplexing (WDM) and coherent technology to achieve the 100Gbps data rate.

  • PSM4: Utilizes four separate parallel single-mode optical channels to transmit data over short distances. Each channel operates at 25Gbps.

  • ER4: Employs four optical channels and complex modulation techniques to transmit data at high speeds over an extended range, making it suitable for long-distance data transmission.

  • SR4: Uses four parallel multimode optical channels to transmit data over short distances. Each channel operates at 25Gbps.

Cost Differences

Cost is a significant factor when choosing a transceiver module, and it varies based on several factors, including the complexity of the technology and the reach of the module:

  • QSFP28 CWDM4: Offers a balanced solution between reach and cost. The use of CWDM technology can reduce the need for additional fiber cabling, making it a cost-effective choice for medium distances.

  • LR4: Being designed for long-range applications, LR4 tends to be more expensive due to the advanced technology required for maintaining signal integrity over longer distances.

  • PSM4: PSM4 is relatively cost-effective for short-distance connections within data centers. Its parallel single-mode design keeps costs down while providing high-speed connectivity.

  • ER4: Due to its extended range capabilities, ER4 modules are typically among the more expensive options in this lineup. They are designed for long-haul networks where quality and reach are paramount.

  • SR4: SR4 is often the most cost-effective choice, especially for short-range connections within data centers. It uses parallel multimode fiber, which is generally more affordable compared to single-mode fiber.

Technology

The choice of technology in a transceiver module affects its performance, reach, and capabilities:

  • QSFP28 CWDM4 leverages CWDM technology to transmit data using different wavelengths over a single fiber. This technology provides an efficient means of maximizing fiber capacity without the need for additional cabling.

  • LR4 uses WDM and coherent technology to transmit data over long distances. These advanced techniques ensure that the signal remains intact even when traveling extended distances.

  • PSM4 utilizes parallel single-mode technology to enable high-speed connections within data centers. It offers a straightforward and cost-effective solution for short-distance links.

  • ER4 employs complex modulation and advanced technologies to achieve a 40-kilometer reach. It's designed for long-distance, high-speed data transmission, typically used in regional and metropolitan networks.

  • SR4 uses parallel multimode technology, which is cost-effective and well-suited for short-range data center connections. It provides a straightforward, affordable solution for high-speed, short-distance links.

Conclusion

In the world of high-speed data communication, selecting the right transceiver module is crucial for meeting the specific needs of your network. The choice among 100G transceivers, including QSFP28 CWDM4, LR4, PSM4, ER4, and SR4, should be based on various factors, such as reach, cost, technology, and application requirements.

  • QSFP28 CWDM4 offers a balance between reach and cost, making it an excellent choice for medium-distance connections. Its use of Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM) technology optimizes existing fiber infrastructure, reducing the need for additional cabling and making it a cost-effective solution for modern data centers.

  • LR4 excels in long-distance connections, providing a reach of up to 10 kilometers. Its use of advanced WDM and coherent technology ensures signal integrity over extended distances, but this comes at a higher cost. LR4 is ideal for connecting data centers across longer geographic spans.

  • PSM4 is tailored for short-reach connections within data centers, covering distances of up to 500 meters. Its parallel single-mode design is cost-effective and offers high-speed connectivity. This makes it the go-to choice for applications requiring short-distance, high-capacity connections within a data center.

  • ER4 is the solution for an extended range, with a reach of up to 40 kilometers. Its advanced technology and extended range capabilities come at a higher cost, but it's an essential component for metropolitan and regional networks that require long-distance data transmission.

  • SR4 is designed for short-range connections within data centers, with a reach of up to 100 meters. The use of parallel multimode fiber keeps costs down and is an economical solution for high-speed, short-distance links within data center environments.

In conclusion, the choice between these 100G transceiver modules depends on the specific needs and requirements of your network. Consider factors such as distance, cost, technology, and application to determine which module aligns best with your network's goals and budget. As technology continues to evolve, new options and advancements may further shape the landscape of high-speed data transmission, offering even more tailored solutions to meet the ever-increasing demands of data communication.

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