40G QSFP+ Transceiver Fiber Optic Transceiver

Can 40GBASE-LR4 Be Used for 4x10G?

We know that 40GBASE-SR4 QSFP+ transceiver can be used for 4x10G SFP+ connections, because it offers 4 independent transmit and receive channels, each capable of 10G operation for an aggregate data rate of 40G over 100 meters of OM3 MMF or 150 meters of OM4 MMF. However, for 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ transceiver, it is commonly utilized over long transmission distance of SMF in 40G network applications. Can 40GBASE-LR4 be used for 4x10G? The answer depends and this article will focus on this question.

40GBASE-LR4 CWDM QSFP+ Transceiver Cannot Be Used for 4x10G

The 40GBASE-LR4 CWDM QSFP+ transceiver, such as QSFP-40GE-LR4, is compliant to 40GBASE-LR4 of the IEEE P802.3ba standard. It contains a duplex LC connector for the optical interface. The maximum transmission distance of the transceiver is 10km over SMF. In the transmit side, the transceiver converts 4 inputs channels of 10G electrical data to 4 CWDM optical signals by a driven 4-wavelength distributed feedback (DFB) laser array, and then multiplexes them into a single channel for 40G optical transmission, propagating out of the transmitter module from the SMF. Reversely, the receiver side accepts the 40G CWDM optical signals input, and demultiplexes it into 4 individual 10G channels with different wavelengths. Each wavelength channel is collected by a discrete photo diode and output as electric data after being amplified by a transimpedance amplifier (TIA). Therefore, 40GBASE-LR4 CWDM QSFP+ transceiver cannot be used for 4x10G. It cannot be split into 4x10G, because it uses 4 wavelengths on a pair of single-mode fiber with LC duplex connector, and does not allow itself to split into 4 pairs without substantial complexity to split out the wavelengths.

Working Principle of 40GBASE-LR4 CWDM QSFP+ Transceiver

40GBASE-LR4 PSM QSFP+ Transceiver Can Be Used for 4x10G

The 40GBASE-LR4 PSM QSFP+ transceiver is a parallel single-mode optical transceiver with an MTP/MPO fiber ribbon connector. It also offers 4 independent transmit and receive channels, each capable of 10G operation for an aggregate data rate of 40G on 10km of single-mode fiber. The transmitter side accepts electrical input signals compatible with common mode logic (CML) levels. All input data signals are differential and internally terminated. The receiver side converts parallel optical input signals via a photo detector array into parallel electrical output signals. That’s to say, the parallel optical signals are transmitted parallelly through 8 single mode fibers. As a result, 40GBASE-LR4 PSM QSFP+ transceiver can be used for 4x10G, because it uses parallel (ribbon) fiber with MTP/MPO connector, which allows the creation of 4 fiber pairs.

Working Principle of 40GBASE-LR4 PSM QSFP+ Transceiver

Note: From an optical transceiver module structure viewpoint, PSM uses a single uncooled CW laser which splits its output power into four integrated silicon modulators. Therefore, it allows for splitting into 4x10G (single-mode).


In a world, the answer of question “Can 40GBASE-LR4 be used for 4x10G?” depends. The 40GBASE-LR4 CWDM QSFP+ transceiver cannot be split into 4x10G, while for 40GBASE-LR4 PSM QSFP+ transceiver, it cab be used for 4x10G. To put it simply, 40G QSFP+ transceiver which is with MTP/MPO interface can be used for 4x10G connections, otherwise, it can only support 40G link.

Originally published at http://www.china-cable-suppliers.com/can-40gbase-lr4-used-4x10g.html

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