When it comes to network deployment strategies, you may be accustomed to treating pluggable optics as an afterthought. But over the past several years, higher data rate pluggable optics have been developed to keep up with bandwidth demands in data centers and service provider networks. And with those higher data rates comes increased complexity in transceiver module design and their interactions with switch and router host ports. Today we’re at the point where 100G optics are a consideration in your network hardware cost and fiber infrastructure design.

Cisco’s vision is to simplify 100G pluggable optics. With fewer components in the pluggable module, we can scale manufacturing volume and cost to the level of today’s 10G SFP+ optics. Through silicon photonics and signal processing technology, Cisco has taken the first step toward that vision: single – lambda 100G optics.  When new generation form factors are available, you’ll be able to re-use the first generation and transition gradually. It will also allow you to upgrade to 400G host platforms one site at a time. As a network operator, you can always count on Cisco to focus on optics solutions that provide real world benefits such as these.

The first product in Cisco’s line of single-lambda 100G optics is the 100G FR (Product ID QSFP-100G-FR-S). It’s a 100G pluggable optical transceiver in a QSFP28 form factor that performs PAM4 modulation, among other things, inside the module. It complies with the 100G Lambda MSA’s 100G-FR specification, which has a reach of 2km over duplex SMF and uses duplex LC connectors. This is the same reach, fiber, and connector as CWDM4 which has been very popular in data centers. You can use FR in any application that CWDM4 has been used.

We’ve mentioned this technology before in a previous blog post, and demostrated it at OFC 2019. More on this technology in upcoming posts. Stay tuned!


Pat Chou

Product Manager

Service Provider - Transceiver Modules Group