800G Transceiver: Driving Next-Gen DCI to A New Era

Posted on Sep 4, 2023

In today's digital age, the demand for high-speed and reliable data exchange has never been more critical. As data volumes continue to soar, traditional communication technologies struggle to keep up. However, a breakthrough has emerged in the form of the 800G transceiver, promising to revolutionize the optical communication industry with its exceptional speed and capacity. This paper discusses the Ethernet status, exploring the standard specifications, advantages, and challenges of the 800G transceiver, along with its market trend in DCI.

Status of 800G Transceivers in Telecom

In 2023, the data communication market has the fastest growth and has become the largest market compared with telecom market and emerging market, accounting for 67.4%. Ethernet optical modules dominate the data communications market with a majority share of 59.6%. At present, the 100G Ethernet module is the mainstream choice for high-speed data transmission in data centers and enterprise networks for its cost-effectiveness, and 400G Ethernet modules are gaining momentum, especially in large-scale data centers and cloud environments. There is also a growing trend towards the use of pluggable optical modules with the needs to be easily replaced or upgraded, and improving power efficiency of optical modules. With the expansion of market scale and the increase of large-capacity demand, high-speed optical module products represented by 800g optical transceiver will gradually replace 200G and 400G products in the following years.


800G Transceiver Standards: QSFP-DD800 MSA & OSFP MSA

With the deployment of 400G QSFP-DD transceivers underway, the industry is currently attracted by the development of 800G optical modules. Two MSA organizations are working on standardizing the 800G optical transceiver under the QSFP-DD and OSFP specifications.


The QSFP-DD800 Multi-Source Agreement (MSA), launched by eight founding members, focuses on defining the specifications for the 800G module and connector systems. In March 2020, they released the first edition of the QSFP-DD800 transceiver hardware specification, which addresses the major challenges of improving signal integrity and heat dissipation in high-power modules. The transceiver pads have been optimized to improve signal integrity for 100-Gbits/s performance per lane without affecting backward compatibility. Besides, the new specification defines a novel 2 × 1 connector/cage (see the picture below), with cabled upper ports as an option to address signal loss issues associated with traditional PCBs. The common 800G QSFP-DD transceivers are QSFP-DD FR4, DR8 .



In 2021, the OSFP MSA organization released the OSFP version 4.0 specification for defining 800G transceivers. The specification adds new 2x400G and 8X100G module definitions selected using dual-channel LC, dual-channel Mini-LC, dual-channel MPO, and eight-channel SN/MDC fiber connectors. The small form factor of 800G OSFP module meets the need for higher port density and increased scalability in networking devices. It is about the same size as QSFP modules but offers double the data transmission capacity. Additionally, OSFP modules support hot-pluggable functionality and advanced thermal management features to ensure reliable performance and prevent overheating.


800G Optical Module Advantages

High-Speed Networking: The 800G transceiver provides data transfer rates of 800 Gbps, making it one of the fastest optical modules on the market. This breakthrough enables faster downloads, seamless streaming, and superior network performance.

Maximizing Signal Density: 800G modules can achieve higher signal transmission density due to the integration of multiple channels and higher modulation modes.

Minimizing Energy Usage: The 800G optical module adopts more advanced technology and design to reduce power consumption and improve energy efficiency.

Exceptional Reliability: The 800G transceiver has high-quality optical devices and circuit design to ensure long-term stable operation of the product.

Seamless Compatibility: 800G optical modules are usually compatible with various types of optical fibers and transmission protocols, such as single-mode optical fibers, multi-mode optical fibers, Ethernet, optical switching, etc.


Challenges for 800g Optical Transceiver

Speed and Data Capacity: Increasing the baud rate can effectively improve the 800G per-channel data rate, allowing faster transmission of symbols through the channel and thus potentially increasing signal quality. However, a lower error margin and tighter thresholds are critical issues while increasing the pulse amplitude modulation scheme (PAM) to send more bits per symbol.

Bit Error: The FEC algorithm is usually good at recovering data frames when random errors occur, but is less effective for burst errors when the entire frame is lost. In a 224 Gb/s system, more sophisticated FEC algorithms are needed to minimize burst errors.

Power Efficiency: Co-packaged optics(CPO) have the potential for the lowest power consumption, moving the optical module to an ASIC, eliminating the optical retimers, and performing photoelectric conversion within the package. However, new cooling solutions are required with power consumption concentrated inside the ASIC package.


DCI Market Trends of 800G Transceivers

The future of the data center transceiver market is promising, and the 800G data center interconnection and internal connection applications are full of opportunities. From 2023 to 2028, the global optical module market data center is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.5%, and the global optical module data center market size is expected to reach USD 5 billion by 2028. Besides, Asia Pacific is expected to witness the highest growth during the forecast period due to the growing demand for optical modules from data centers, 5G, cloud technologies, and the ongoing development of digital infrastructure in the region. The major factors driving the growth of the DCI market are the growing number of internet users, the adoption of fiber optic technology, and the demand for high-capacity data transmission from the networking industry. However, traditional cloud data centers will still be dominated by 400GB in 2024, and 800G is expected to increase in 2025 on the scale of data center clients.


The 800G transceiver represents a new era in communications development, addressing the ever-growing demands for higher speeds and larger capacities. Its advantages, such as exceptional speed and enhanced capacity, offer tremendous opportunities for various industries. However, several challenges like power efficiency must be overcome to unlock the full potential of this groundbreaking technology. As the DCI market continues to expand, the adoption of 800G transceivers will propel the evolution of data centers and enable seamless communication across vast distances. With ongoing research and technological advancements, we are poised to witness even greater strides in communication technologies, transforming the way we connect, share, and access information in the digital age.

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