Data center traffic is expected to quadruple in the next five years as IoT and big data applications take off. At the same time, we’ll see growth in distributed databases and applications, increasing virtualization and virtual machine density. And all this comes with more complex and unpredictable traffic flows. With all this going on, the time is ripe for 100G data rate links inside the data center.

And ripe it is. 100G adoption in short reach links for data centers is progressing at an impressive clip. At Cisco Live 2018 in Orlando last month, I had the pleasure of meeting customers and hearing about their upgrades or their plans to do so. Many raved about the benefits of the dual-rate 40/100G QSFP BiDi before I even had a chance to give them my pitch.

My fellow product manager Craig Pasek asked me about it in this video:


Recall that BiDi optics offer agility and flexibility in data center upgrades, which helps when you’re addressing growing traffic demands but need to worry about deployment cost and time. It does this by allowing you to upgrade incrementally. That is, you don’t have to replace all your gear all at once.

Without QSFP BiDi transceivers, the challenge of upgrading of short reach 10G interconnects arises from the fact that the transition from 10GBASE-SR to 40GBASE-SR4 or 100GBASE-SR4 requires MPO connectors and additional fiber. This means that you need a large investment to upgrade both ends of your links simultaneously.

But with BiDi, especially the dual-rate 40/100G BiDi, life is easier because it eliminates the need for new fiber, reduces deployment time, and allows you to distribute your upgrades (and their costs) over multiple refresh cycles. And you can keep using the LC connector infrastructure that you like so much. No MPO.


Pat Chou

Product Manager

Service Provider - Transceiver Modules Group