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Defining specification for new small form-factor pluggable interface

01 August 2017

The SFP-DD Multi-Source Agreement (MSA) Group announced intent to develop the specification for a high-speed, double-density small form-factor pluggable (SFP-DD) interface.

Under the MSA, participating companies will address the technical challenges of achieving a double-density SFP interface and ensuring mechanical interoperability for module components produced by different manufacturers. New SFP-DD based networking equipment will support legacy SFP modules and cables, as well as new double density products.

The SFP-DD MSA founding members include Alibaba, Broadcom, Brocade, Cisco, Dell EMC, Finisar, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Huawei, Intel, Juniper Networks, Lumentum, Mellanox Technologies, Molex, and TE Connectivity. 

Members of the MSA will develop operating parameters, signal transmission speed goals, and protocols for the SFP-DD interface, which expands on the SFP pluggable form factor, a widely adopted electrical interface used in datacenters and other networking platforms. Multi-vendor SFP modules and assemblies are available today in a range of data rate speeds and reaches to support data transmission applications including hubs, switches, routers and servers.

The SFP interface’s single electrical lane operates up to 25Gbps NRZ or 56Gbps PAM4. The new SFP-DD electrical interfaces will be designed to support two lanes that operate up to 25Gbps NRZ or 56Gbps PAM4 per lane, providing solutions up to 50Gbps or 112Gbps PAM4 aggregate. By doubling the lane density and data speed of SFP transceivers, the SFP-DD specification will address increased port density and scalability in next-generation applications, with a primary focus on the server side interconnect. An SFP-DD server port along with QSFP-DD switch ports provides an overall doubling of the port density in network applications.

Participation of industry leaders in the SFP-DD MSA will enable faster adoption and ease of operation of a new pluggable interface. Systems designed for SFP-DD modules will be backward compatible with SFP modules to provide maximum flexibility for end users, network platform designers and integrators.

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