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What is the difference between 40GBASE-SR4 and 40GBASE CR4?
Knowledge Base + 2024.01.08

40GBASE-SR4 and 40GBASE-CR4 are two different physical layer specifications within the Ethernet standard, each designed for specific network deployment scenarios. Here are the key differences between them:

  1. Medium:

    • 40GBASE-SR4: This standard uses multimode fiber optics as the transmission medium. SR stands for Short Range, and 40GBASE-SR4 is designed for relatively short-distance connections within data centers.

    • 40GBASE-CR4: This standard uses copper twin-axial cables as the transmission medium. CR stands for Copper, and 40GBASE-CR4 is intended for short-distance connections within data center environments using copper cabling.

  2. Reach:

    • 40GBASE-SR4: Typically used for short-distance connections, such as within the same data center. The reach is limited, usually within tens of meters to a few hundred meters.

    • 40GBASE-CR4: Also designed for short-distance connections, with a similar reach to 40GBASE-SR4, suitable for connections within a rack or between adjacent racks.

  3. Connectors:

    • 40GBASE-SR4: Typically uses MTP/MPO connectors for fiber optic connections.

    • 40GBASE-CR4: Uses copper connectors, often RJ-45 or modified versions designed for higher data rates.

  4. Cost and Power Consumption:

    • 40GBASE-SR4: Generally involves the cost of optical transceivers and multimode fiber infrastructure. Optical solutions can consume more power compared to copper solutions.

    • 40GBASE-CR4: Copper solutions may be more cost-effective than optical solutions. Additionally, copper solutions might have lower power consumption compared to optical solutions.

  5. Interoperability:

    • 40GBASE-SR4: Can be more common in scenarios where fiber optics are prevalent, but it requires the appropriate fiber optic cabling infrastructure.

    • 40GBASE-CR4: Can be more straightforward in environments where copper cabling is already in use.

Ultimately, the choice between 40GBASE-SR4 and 40GBASE-CR4 depends on the specific requirements and existing infrastructure of the data center or network where they are being deployed.