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How does QSFP-DD work?
Knowledge Base + 2024.01.10

QSFP-DD (Quad Small Form Factor Double Density) is a high-speed and high-density transceiver module that is designed to provide increased data rates and port density in data center and networking applications. The QSFP-DD form factor is an extension of the original QSFP form factor, with the main difference being the addition of a second row of contacts for more electrical lanes, allowing for higher data rates.

Here's a brief overview of how QSFP-DD works:

  1. Form Factor:

    • QSFP-DD modules have a compact form factor, similar to the original QSFP modules, but with additional contacts. The physical design allows for a higher density of ports on networking equipment, such as switches and routers.

  2. Electrical Lanes:

    • QSFP-DD supports up to eight electrical lanes, divided into two rows of four lanes each. This allows for increased data rates compared to the original QSFP, as each lane can carry data independently.

  3. Data Rates:

    • QSFP-DD is designed to support higher data rates. The standard supports various data rates, including 200 Gbps and 400 Gbps. Each lane typically operates at 25 Gbps or 50 Gbps, depending on the specific implementation.

  4. Connectivity:

    • QSFP-DD modules are designed for both backward compatibility and future scalability. The modules can be plugged into QSFP ports, providing compatibility with existing infrastructure. However, the additional electrical lanes and increased data rates require QSFP-DD ports on networking equipment to take full advantage of the capabilities.

  5. Applications:

    • QSFP-DD modules are used in high-performance data center and networking environments where increased bandwidth and port density are essential. They are commonly employed for high-speed interconnects between switches, routers, and other networking devices.

  6. Optical and Copper Variants:

    • QSFP-DD modules can support both optical and copper connectivity. Optical modules use fiber optic cables for transmission, while copper modules use copper cables for shorter-distance connections.

  7. Hot-Pluggable:

    • QSFP-DD modules are hot-pluggable, meaning they can be inserted or removed from a network device without shutting down the system. This feature enhances flexibility and ease of maintenance in data center environments.

In summary, QSFP-DD works by providing a high-density, high-speed solution for data transmission in data centers and networking applications. It achieves this through a compact form factor, increased electrical lanes, and support for higher data rates, making it suitable for evolving network requirements.