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Is SFP DD backwards compatible?
Knowledge Base + 2024.01.12

QSFP-DD (Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable Double Density) is a form factor for high-speed transceiver modules used in data center and networking applications. The backward compatibility of QSFP-DD depends on the specific design and implementation by the manufacturer. Generally, QSFP-DD is designed to provide a level of backward compatibility with QSFP28, the preceding form factor for 100 Gigabit Ethernet (100GbE) applications.

Here are some key points regarding backward compatibility:

  1. Physical Compatibility:

    • QSFP-DD modules have a similar form factor to QSFP28, but they are larger to accommodate additional electrical lanes for higher data rates. QSFP-DD ports can often accept QSFP28 modules mechanically, allowing for physical compatibility.

  2. Electrical Compatibility:

    • QSFP-DD modules can support different electrical configurations, including those compatible with QSFP28. This allows for backward compatibility in terms of the electrical interface.

  3. Data Rate Compatibility:

    • QSFP-DD modules are designed to support higher data rates, such as 200 Gigabit Ethernet (200GbE) and 400 Gigabit Ethernet (400GbE). However, they are often configured to operate at lower data rates, including 100GbE, making them compatible with QSFP28 specifications.

  4. Mating Adapters and Cables:

    • Mating adapters and cables designed for QSFP-DD ports may also be backward compatible with QSFP28 ports, facilitating the use of existing infrastructure.

  5. Implementation-Specific Considerations:

    • The specific backward compatibility features may vary among different vendors and implementations. It's essential to check the documentation and specifications provided by the manufacturer for details on backward compatibility.

It's worth noting that while there is a degree of backward compatibility, QSFP-DD is primarily designed to support higher data rates and increased density. When planning to use QSFP-DD modules in a network with existing QSFP28 infrastructure, it's crucial to verify the level of compatibility and ensure that the devices and modules are interoperable. Always refer to the documentation provided by the specific vendor for accurate information on compatibility.