Fiber Optics Transmission – Acronyms & Terminology

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Fiber optic transmission

Acronyms and Terminology for the Fiber Optics Novice

Gbit/s or Gbps – Gigabits per second indicates bandwidth.  The guiding principle is the higher the bandwidth, the more data the link can transmit.

MSA: Multi-source agreement

EOL:  End of life, i.e. when a product is being phased out and vendors no longer carry it.

Hot pluggable:  Hot-pluggable devices are devices you can remove and install while the server is running without disruption.

Hot-swappable:  A transceiver that can be easily inserted into the port to connect with its motherboard. A hardware component that can be changed in this manner, without disrupting operations, is known as hot-swappable.

SFP:  Small form-factor pluggable. These devices use hot-swappable interfaces and can be found in network and storage switches. The SFP ports on a switch and SFP modules enable the switch to connect to fiber and Ethernet cables of different types and speeds.

Quad:  Means four.  When part of the name of a transceiver, it means four bidirectional optical paths.  The presence of four paths optimizes the speed of data transmission.

QSFP: Quad small form factor pluggables

QSFP-DD:  Quad small form factor double density

CSFP: Compact small form-factor pluggable or compact SFP

WDM: Wavelength Division Multiplexing. A communications technology that transmits several wavelengths of light (lambdas) simultaneously over a single optical fiber. WDM has dramatically increased the carrying capacity of the fiber infrastructure of telephone companies and other carriers.

 DWDM:  Dense wavelength division multiplexing

CWDM:  Coarse wave division multiplexing

For a more detailed explanation, read this article, CWDM or DWDM, which is best for you?

NRZ: non-return to zero, a two-level binary modulation format

PAM4: four-level pulse amplitude modulation. PAM4 contains twice the amount of data without requiring significant increase in the speed of the optical components.

Single Lambda: An innovation developed by fiber optics engineering to accommodate faster data transmission and higher bandwidth mostly for 100G transceiver speeds. The single-lambda approach uses PAM4 (four-level pulse amplitude modulation). Prior to this, nearly all 100G optical specifications incorporated NRZ (non-return to zero), which is a two-level binary modulation format. The full 100G data stream is transmitted by a single laser. That means no WDM or parallel fiber.

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