Which 10G SFP+ Optics Are Compatible with Intel X520 Adapter?

The escalating deployments of servers with multi-core processors and demanding applications are driving the need for 10 Gbps connections. Intel X520 10 GbE Adapter is the most flexible and scalable Ethernet adapters for today’s demanding data center environments. At the same time, 10G SFP+ optics play the most important role for its 10G connectivity. But seriously, do you know which 10G SFP+ optics are compatible with the Intel Ethernet converged network adapter X520 series? This blog will give you solutions.

Intel X520 Adapter

Intel X520 adapter is powered by reliable and proven 10G Ethernet technology, which offers high performance for high-IO intensive applications and showcase the next generation in 10 GbE networking features for the enterprise network and data center. It is designed for multi-core processors, which supports for technologies such as multiple queues, receive-side scaling, multiple MSI-X vectors and Low Latency Interrupts. It addresses the demanding needs of the next-generation data center by running mission-critical applications in virtualized and unified storage environments. In a multicore platform, the Intel X520 adapter supports Intel I/O Virtualization Technology (IOVT), which helps accelerate data across the platform, therefore improving application response times. For virtualized environments, it offers advanced features with VMDq (Virtual Machine Device Queues) that lower processor utilization and increase I/O performance.

Intel X520 Dual Port 10GbE SFP+ Adapter

Figure 1. Intel X520 Dual Port 10GbE SFP+ Adapter

The Intel X520 adapter provides SFP+ based connectivity options (fiber or DAC cabling). Intel X520 adapters are provided with 7 models: X520-QDA1, X520-DA2, X520-SR1, X520-SR2, X520-DA1OCP, X520-DA2OCP and X520-LR1. X520-SR1 is shipped with 1 SR SFP+ Optic,  X520-SR2 has dual-port and is shipped with 2 SR SFP+ Optics, X520-LR1 has single-port and is shipped with 1 LR SFP+ Optic, and X520-DA2 has dual-port and does not ship with any optics or cables, which is the most suitable one for 10G SFP+ Optics and the most popular one on the market. The following table lists the detailed information of Intel X520 adapter series in Table 1.

Intel X520 Adapter Product Code Connector and Cable Cable Type Ports
X520-QDA1 QSFP+ direct attach copper (4x10GbE mode) QSFP+ direct attached twinaxial cabling up to 10m Single port
X520-SR1 Fiber optic MMF up to 300 m Single port
X520-SR2 Fiber optic MMF up to 300 m Dual port
X520-DA2 SFP+ direct attach copper SFP+ direct attached twinaxial cabling up to 10 m Dual port
X520- LR1 Fiber optic SMF up to 10 km Single port
X520-DA1OCP SFP+ direct attach copper SFP+ direct attached twinaxial cabling up to 10 m Single port
X520-DA2OCP Copper SFP+ direct attached twinaxial cabling up to 10 m Dual port

Table 1: Intel X520 Series Adapters

10G SFP+ Optics for Intel X520 Adapter

A 10 Gigabit Ethernet network is essential for businesses that demand high bandwidth for virtualization and fast backup and restore for an ever-growing amount of data. To ensure maximum flexibility, Intel X520 adapters supports the ability to mix any combination of the SFP+ optical modules, direct attach copper cables or 1000BASE-T SFP modules. Besides, 10G SFP+ Optics are available in both short range (SR) 850 nm and long range (LR) 1310 nm options. This enables customers to create the configuration that meets the needs of their data center environment.

10G SFP+ Optical Modules

Intel Ethernet SFP+ SR optics and Intel Ethernet SFP+ LR optics are the only 10 Gbps optical modules supported. Other brands of SFP+ modules are not allowed and can’t be used with the X520 adapters. The following table lists the supported 10Gb Ethernet SFP+ optical transceivers for Intel X520 adapters in Table 2. (Note: Other brands of SFP+ optical modules will not work with the Intel Ethernet Server Adapter X520 Series.)

10G SFP+ Optical Modules
Name Intel Product Code (MFG PART#) FS P/N Type
Intel 10G SFP+ SR Optical module E10GSFPSR SFP-10GSR-85 Dual Rate 10GBASE-SR/1000BASE-SX
Intel 10G SFP+ LR Optical module E10GSFPLR SFP-10GLR-31 Dual Rate 10GBASE-LR/1000BASE-LX

Table 2: 10G SFP+ Optical Transceivers for Intel X520 Adapters

1000BASE-T SFP Modules

Some 1000BASE-LX and 1000BASE-SX modules can work with Intel Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X520 series. These modules referred to only highlight specifications and compatibility with Intel Ethernet server adapter X520 series. The table lists tested modules in Table 3. Other similar modules may work but have not been tested (many similar modules can be purchased in FS.COM). Remind you to use your own discretion and diligence to purchase modules with suggested specifications from any third party.

1000BASE-T SFP Modules
Name Intel Product Code (MFG PART#) FS P/N Type
Avago Gigabit Ethernet Module ABCU-5710RZ SFP-GB-GE-T 1000BASE-SX
Intel Gigabit Ethernet Module TXN22120 SFP1G-LX-31 1000BASE-LX

Table 3: 1000BASE-T SFP Modules for Intel X520 Adapters

10G SFP+ Direct Attach Copper Cables (10G SFP+Cu)

A direct attach twinaxial cable is a 2-pair shielded copper cabling terminated with SFP+ electrical modules. Intel X520 Adapters require that any SFP+ passive or active limiting direct attach copper cable should comply with the SFF-8431 v4.1 and SFF-8472 v10.4 specifications. SFF-8472 Identifier must have value 03h (You can verify the value with the cable manufacturer). Maximum cable length for passive cables is 7 meters. Support for active cables requires Intel Network Connections software version 15.3 or later. The following table lists the fully compatible 10Gb DAC cables for Intel Ethernet server adapter X520 series in Table 4.

10G SFP+ DAC Cables
Name Product Code (MFG PART#) FS P/N Type
Intel Ethernet SFP+ Twinaxial Cable, 1 meter XDACBL1M SFP-10G-DAC 10G SFP+ Passive Direct Attach Copper Twinax Cable
Intel Ethernet SFP+ Twinaxial Cable, 3 meter XDACBL3M SFP-10G-DAC 10G SFP+ Passive Direct Attach Copper Twinax Cable
Intel Ethernet SFP+ Twinaxial Cable, 5 meter XDACBL5M SFP-10G-DAC 10G SFP+ Passive Direct Attach Copper Twinax Cable

Table 4: 10G DAC cables for Intel X520 Adapters

QSFP+ Breakout Cables

The new QSFP+ single-port X520-QDA1 can connect the server to the latest 40GbE switches with a single cable operating in 4x10GbE mode. This adapter can also utilize existing 10GbE SFP+ switches using the QSFP+ to 4xSFP+ breakout cable. The QSFP+ adapter supports direct attach copper cables and Intel Ethernet QSFP+ SR optical transceivers. Intel Ethernet QSFP+ breakout cables have one QSFP+ connector on one end and break out into four SFP+ connectors on the other end for direct attachment to SFP+ cages. The following table lists the Intel Ethernet QSFP+ breakout cables for Intel adapter X520-QDA1 in Table 5.

Intel Ethernet QSFP+ Breakout Cables for Intel Adapter X520-QDA1
Name Product Code (MFG PART#) FS P/N
Intel Ethernet QSFP+ breakout cable, 1 meter QSFP-4SFP10G-CU1M QSFP-4SFP10G-DAC
Intel Ethernet QSFP+ breakout cable, 3 meter QSFP-4SFP10G-CU3M QSFP-4SFP10G-DAC
Intel Ethernet QSFP+ breakout cable, 5 meter QSFP-4SFP10G-CU5M QSFP-4SFP10G-DAC

Table 5: QSFP+ Breakout Cables for Intel Adapter X520-QDA1

Summary

From what we have discussed, 10G SFP+optics are determined to the data transmission of Intel X520 adapters. SFP+ SR Optics, SFP+ LR optics, 1000BASE-T SFP modules, 10G SFP+ direct attach copper cables and QSFP+ breakout cables are available stock in FS.COM. All SFP+ cables are 100% tested to ensure the compatible and quality. Welcome to visit www.fs.com.

Getting to Know About QSFP-40G-UNIV Transceiver

As the switching applications requiring higher bandwidth increased, the need to upgrade from 10G to dense 40 Gigabit Ethernet switching connection also goes on rise. But the optical transceivers widely used at present require to redesign the data center layout if migrating to 40G, for the existing fiber infrastructure cannot satisfy this migration requirement. However, the QSFP-40G-UNIV transceiver can solve this problem perfectly. Why QSFP-40G-UNIV transceiver can resolve the problem successfully? Let’s first to know the basics about it.

Basics of QSFP-40G-UNIV Transceiver

The “UNIV” in item “QSFP-40G-UNIV” means “Universal”. As we all know, common optical transceiver only can operate either on single-mode fiber (SMF) or multimode fiber (MMF), but the QSFP-40G-UNIV transceiver can work on both types of fibers. Therefore, QSFP-40G-UNIV transceiver is also called SMF&MMF 40G transceiver or QSFP 40G universal transceiver. This transceiver is a pluggable optical transceiver in an industry standard QSFP+ form factor. It has four channels of 10G multiplexed inside the module to transmit and receive an aggregate 40G signal over a single pair of single-mode or multimode fiber. And it uses a duplex LC connector that makes it work with a wide range of fiber optic cables, including multi-mode OM3 and OM4 and single mode (OS1). Besides, QSFP-40G-UNIV transceiver supports distances up to 150 m over OM3 or OM4 multimode fiber and up to 500 m over single-mode fiber (different vendor may have different specifications).

ariste-qsfp-40g-univ-transceiver-1

Differences and Advantages of QSFP-40G-UNIV Transceiver

There are various types of short reach QSFP transceivers such as QSFP-40G-SR4 and QSFP-40G-XSR4. The longest reach of them on OM3 is 300m. And most of them use MPO-12 connectors and ribbon fiber infrastructure. As a result, if users have to deploy new fiber to upgrade from 10G to 40G or to install MTP/MPO fiber systems, they have to invest more money to change the existing network systems. However, QSFP-40G-UNIV transceiver is different. It has LC connectors and supports several types of cables, allowing for seamless migrations from existing 10 to 40GbE networking without requiring a redesign or expansion of the fiber network.

Here are the advantages of QSFP-40G-UNIV transceiver.

  • Uses existing duplex fiber infrastructure for 40G
  • Identical transceiver for both multi-mode and single-mode fiber for simplified operations and investment protection
  • Support for Digital Optical Monitoring (DOM) and passive network Taps for link quality monitoring and passive data analysis
  • Optically interoperable with IEEE 40GBASE-LR4 and 40G-LRL4 for easy connection to routers and switches in existing networks
  • Supported QSFP+ ports on switches without restrictions
Applications of QSFP-40G-UNIV Transceiver

As have mentioned above, QSFP-40G-UNIV transceiver is a kind of optical transceiver that can be used for both single-mode and multimode fibers. With this unique design, QSFP-40G-UNIV transceiver offers a cost-effective connectivity for data centers’ migration. Here is a simple illustration of the applications using QSFP-40G-UNIV transceivers.

Multimode Direct Connections for Cisco Switches

The following figure shows the simplest and cost-effective way to connect two Cisco Nexus 9396PX switches with Cisco compatible QSFP-40G-UNIV transceivers for multi-mode fiber infrastructure. In this connection, except for the required transceivers, an LC to LC duplex multimode fiber patch cable is also needed to link the two QSFP-40G-UNIV transceivers directly.

ci-qsfp-univ-transceiver

Single-mode 40GbE Interconnection Solution Using QSFP-40G-UNIV Transceivers

With the special characteristic, the use of Cisco compatible QSFP-40G-UNIV transceiver can help network administrators take greatly advantage of reducing deployment and support. The following figure shows a low cost single-mode 40GbE Interconnection solution. QSFP-40G-UNIV transceivers are connected with LC duplex SMF fiber patch cables. And two fiber enclosures loaded with MTP LGX cassettes and MTP/MPO trunk cables are also needed to realize this connection.

ci-qsfp-univ-transceiver-2

Conclusion

Without having to redesign or change the existing cable infrastructure, QSFP-40G-UNIV transceivers enable data centers to run at 10G today and to seamlessly upgrade to 40G. It offers a transition path between single-mode and multimode optics with lower cost and more conveniences. FS.COM supplies 40G QSFP transceivers compatible with other major brands including Cisco, Brocade, Juniper, Arista, HPE, etc. And those transceivers are 100% tested to provide a satisfying working performance. You can visit FS.COM or contact sales@fs.com for more detailed information.

Things to Know About 40G QSFP+ AOC

As the demand for reliable, efficient and fast data transfer continues to heat up, the need for a more capable alternative to traditional copper cables also grows parallel with it. Achievements in network technologies have ushered in a new era with higher speed connectivity, thus migration from 10G to 40G nowadays is no longer a fresh topic but an irresistible trend. The active optical cable (AOC), since it was introduced in 2007, has been considered to be an optimum option for 40G support connectivity. This article will explain some vital elements in related to 40G QSFP+ AOC in detail.

40G QSFP+ AOC Description

40G QSFP+ AOC, as the name indicates, is a type of active optical cable used for 40G networks and applications. It is terminated with 40G QSFP+ connector on one end, and on the other end, it can be terminated with QSFP+ connector, SFP+ connector or LC connector etc. The QSFP+ optical modules provide four parallel full-duplex transmit and receive channels, each capable of 10Gbps operation and in total 40Gbps aggregate bandwidth of at least 100 m over multimode fiber.

With a bit error rate (BER) exponentially better than that of copper cables, along with being lighter and with a tighter bend angle, AOCs have since become mass-produced for data centers and server rooms all over the world.

40G QSFP+ AOC

How Does AOC Work?

The feature that distinguishes AOCs from traditional types of connectors is the fact that data passes through optical fiber lanes as opposed to copper, while maintaining a traditional electrical connectivity interface. Besides, optical cable possess a greater capability to carry a high-speed signal over longer distances than any other types of cable, without compromising signal integrity. Not to mention that it ensures data security and non-conductivity.

All active optical cables are comprised of four main functional parts:

1. High-density connector: The form factor of the connector equipped to either side of the optical fiber cable can come in many variants to fulfill a variety of functions, whether in QSFP+ format for data centers and server rooms or HDMI format for consumer entertainment.

2. Ribbon optical fiber cable: A multi-channeled optical fiber cable (that could come in multi or single-mode) ranging from 1 to 100 meters in length.

3. Full-duplex AOC transceiver: An optical transceiver is embedded into either side of the optical cable, two optical-electrical and electrical-optical converters on either side of the cable.

4. MPO optical connector: A connector that is permanently fixed to the form factor shell and fiber, designed to shield the optical interface from external interference.

Diagram of AOC

Comparison Between 40G QSFP+ AOC and QSFP+ Optics

Currently, 40G QSFP+ AOC is becoming increasingly popular in data centers, especially those are supposed to accommodate massive and high density bandwidth. Then, how dose 40G QSFP+ AOC differ from standard QSFP+ optics? And what we can benefit from employing 40G QSFP+ AOC? Here, we simply make a comparison between them from the perspective of total cost, insertion loss and return loss.

Cost—by adopting 40G QSFP+ AOC to your existing infrastructure, there is no need to use extra fiber patch cables. So, it generally costs less when compared with QSFP+ optic modules. Let’s just take QSFP+ to QSFP+ AOCs for example, it is usually employed to very short distance data transmission while offers a rather cost-effective way to establish 40G links between QSFP ports of switches within racks and across adjacent racks. Moreover, with 40G QSFP+ AOC, you will be free from cleaning the optical connectors as well as from termination plug and test when troubleshooting, which is time-saving and cost-efficient.

Insertion loss and return loss—when considering the repeatability and interchangeability performances within the same transmission distance, 40G QSFP+ AOC is superior to that of QSFP+ optics. Because when different fiber optic patch cables plug into the module, it will have the different insertion loss and return loss, which is the same even for the same module. However, an AOC is more stable and has better swing performance than other QSFP+ optics in this situation.

Conclusion

The 40G QSFP+ AOC is a high performance, low power consumption integrated cable for short-range multi-lane data transmission and interconnect applications. It has been widely used in high-density connectivity data centers to upgrade the current network equipment. 40G QSFP+ AOC also offers an optimum solution for high-performance computing and storage applications. So one can rely on 40G QSFP+ AOCs when designing for higher speed and more reliable network connectivity. For more detailed products information and interconnect solutions, please visit www.fs.com.

40G QSFP+ Modules for High-speed Connection Networks

Are you still worrying about your network speed? Actually, there is no need to worry about this. The dramatic growth in bandwidth requirements has led to the increasing worldwide use of higher-performance optical products. Like 40G QSFP+ modules, they support 40G network and allow data rates of 4×10 Gbit/s to be enjoyed by users in better-performance data transmission. This article introduces 40G QSFP+ modules in details, which include 40G QSFP+ transceivers and 40G QSFP+ cables.

40G QSFP+ Modules Introduction

40G QSFP+ module is a compact, hot-pluggable transceiver used for data communications applications. QSFP+ transceivers are designed to carry Serial Attached SCSI, 40G Ethernet, QDR (40G) and FDR (56G) Infiniband, and other communications standards. QSFP+ modules increase the port-density by 3x-4x compared to SFP+ modules.

Main Features of 40G QSFP+ Modules
  • Support for 40GBASE Ethernet;
  • Flexibility of interface choice;
  • Interfaces available in various form factors;
  • Certified and tested on QSFP 40G ports for superior performance, quality, and reliability;
40G QSFP+ Transceivers Overview

40G QSFP+ pluggable transceivers are high-density interfaces addressing deployment of high-performance computing in data center clouds. 40GBASE QSFP+ modules in this article are mainly introduced in two different flavors: 40G LR4 QSFP+ transceiver, and 40G SR4 QSFP+ transceiver.

40G LR4 QSFP+ Transceiver—40GBASE-LR4 (“long range”) is a port type for single-mode fiber and uses 1300nm lasers. 40G LR4 QSFP+ transceiver supports 40GBASE Ethernet rate. The 40 Gigabit Ethernet signal is carried over four wavelengths. Multiplexing and demultiplexing of the four wavelengths are managed within the device.

40G SR4 QSFP+ Transceiver—40GBASE-SR4 (“short range”) is a port type for multi-mode fiber and uses 850nm lasers. Take HP 720187-B21 transceiver for example, Fiberstore compatible HP 720187-B21 enables high-bandwidth 40G optical links and support link lengths of 100m and 150m respectively, on OM3 and OM4 multimode fibers at a wavelength of 850nm.

40G QSFP+ Cables Details

Just like 10GbE optics, there are also direct attach cables(DAC) available for 40GbE modules when short distance (within the same rack) is needed. A variety of short-reach copper options are made available to enable 40GbE connection networks.

Direct Attach Copper Cable Reaches for 40GbE

Direct attach copper cables are designed in either active or passive versions. Both are widely used for 40G QSFP+ module solutions. For example, Juniper JNP-QSFP-DAC-7MA runs over active copper cable for very short distances. And Fiberstore compatible Juniper JNP-QSFP-DAC-7MA offers a very cost-effective way to establish a 40gigabit link between QSFP ports of Juniper switches within racks and across adjacent racks.

There are also active optical cables available for 40GbE, like FCBG410QB1C10. This transceiver runs over active optical cable for 40GBASE Ethernet.

Summary

40GbE ports are capable of running in a 4x 10GbE mode, allowing for easy 10GbE/40GbE mixed media deployments. Fiberstore offers a broad selection of 40G QSFP modules for high-speed network connections, including the above-mentioned HP 720187-B21 and Juniper JNP-QSFP-DAC-7MA. For more information about 40G QSFP+ transceivers and 40G QSFP+ cables, you can visit Fiberstore.