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800G Optical Modules: Everything You Need to Know in This Article

written by Asterfuison

July 11, 2024

In an AI era marked by remarkable technological advancements, a groundbreaking innovation has emerged: 800G optical transceivers. This high-end equipment is set to revolutionize the way data is transmitted and received, heralding a new era in data communication.

This article delves into the complexities of the 800G optical module landscape, where AI and high-performance computing (HPC) requirements and technological advances converge to shape the future of data communications. We will explore the emergence, technical standards, packaging, types, and applications of 800G modules, and answer common questions to help you make informed decisions when selecting 800G optical modules.

What is 800G Optical Module?

An 800G module is a high-speed transmission module commonly used in data centers, communication networks, and other areas requiring high-density data transmission and high-speed data processing. It boasts the extraordinary ability to process 8 billion bits per second, more than doubling the capacity of its predecessor, the 400G optical module.

Requirements for the Development of 800G Module Technology

The development of 800G modules is closely tied to advancements in switch chip technology. The 800G chip market is gradually maturing, with companies like Marvell, Cisco, and Broadcom releasing 51.2T switch chips. All major network vendors are also gradually releasing their 51.2T switches. As a result, 800G optical modules are being deployed on a large scale, with industry standards being implemented and major vendors capable of mass production.

Standardization and Specification of 800G Modules

Several standards organizations are working on 800 Gbps standardization. The IEEE802.3 Working Group, OIF, and other organizations have established projects for 800Gb/s direct matching, testing, and coherent solutions. They are formulating related specifications and defining application scenarios and interface specifications for 800Gb/s optical modules. The 800G Pluggable MSA has released specifications for low-cost, short-distance transmission and longer-distance requirements. Additionally, the Optical Module MSA Working Group has formulated the first 800G QSFP-DD800 optical module standard .

  • OIF Common Electrical I/O (CEI)-112G and Common Electrical I/O (CEI)-224G
  • IEEE 802.3 Beyond 400 Gb/s Ethernet Study Group
  • 800G Pluggable MSA (Multi-Source Agreement)
  • OSFP MSA 200G/lane Electrical Signaling Group

Breakthroughs in Key 800G Technologies

The transition from 10G to 800G, from SFP to QSFP double density 800 MSA, is driven by three key technological advances:

optical module rate changes
  1. Increased Baud Rate: Enhancing the baud rate significantly improves each channel’s ability to transmit data, allowing for large data transfers and reduced latency.
  2. Modulation Advancement: 800G optical modules use PAM4 modulation, which supports higher data rates and improves network performance compared to traditional NRZ modulation.
  3. Increased Channel Capacity: Higher data rates are achieved by using parallel channels or increasing the number of fibers in the cable, further boosting the overall data transmission capability of the 800G optical module .

800G Module Packaging and Types

In the rapidly evolving world of data communication, 800G optical modules are at the forefront of innovation. Currently, there are two mainstream packaging types for these modules: QSFP-DD and OSFP. Let’s explore each in detail.


QSFP-DD Packaging

QSFP-DD (Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable Double Density) utilizes a dual-density, four-channel small hot-swappable optical module packaging. It adheres to IEEE802.3bs and QSFP-DD MSA standards. The electrical interface of this package features 8 channels, each capable of rates up to 25Gb/s (NRZ modulation) or 50Gb/s (PAM4 modulation), providing aggregated solutions of up to 200Gb/s or 400Gb/s. This makes it ideal for high-speed data transmission applications.

Advantages of 800G QSFP-DD:

  1. Backward Compatibility: Compatible with QSFP+/QSFP28/QSFP56 packaging, ensuring seamless integration with existing infrastructure.
  2. Integrated Cage Connector: Utilizes a 2×1 stacked integrated cage connector, supporting both single-height and double-height systems.
  3. Thermal Capacity: The SMT connector and 1xN cage can achieve a thermal capacity of at least 12 watts per module, reducing heat dissipation requirements and associated costs.
  4. Flexible Design: The MSA working group designed QSFP-DD with user flexibility in mind, adopting ASIC design and supporting multiple interface rates, which reduces port and equipment deployment costs.

OSFP Packaging

OSFP (Octal Small Form-Factor Pluggable) is a newer pluggable package, slightly larger than QSFP-DD. It features 8 high-speed electrical channels and supports 200G, 400G, and 800G rates. Common interfaces include LC and MPO, with variations in the OSFP package shell, such as versions with a heat sink and those with a flat top.

Advantages of 800G OSFP:

  1. Higher Bandwidth Density: Designed with 8 channels, directly supporting a total throughput of up to 800G.
  2. Enhanced Performance: Supports higher data transmission rates and longer transmission distances.
  3. Superior Heat Dissipation: Excellent heat dissipation design, capable of handling higher power consumption.
  4. Future-Proof Design: Larger size allows for higher power consumption, supporting future rates such as 1.6T or higher.

Comparison of QSFP-DD and OSFP

QSFP-DD is typically preferred in telecommunications applications, while OSFP is more suitable for data center environments. Here are the main differences:

  1. Size: OSFP is slightly larger than QSFP-DD.
  2. Power Consumption: OSFP has slightly higher power consumption compared to QSFP-DD.
  3. Compatibility: QSFP-DD is perfectly compatible with QSFP28 and QSFP+, whereas OSFP is not.

Types of 800G Optical Modules

800G optical modules represent the next generation of high-speed data transmission technology, crucial for modern data centers and communication networks. These modules can be categorized based on their single-channel rates into two main types: single-channel 100G and single-channel 200G. Single-channel 100G modules are easier to implement, while 200G modules demand more advanced optical devices and require gearbox conversion due to the 112Gbps PAM4 electrical interface limit.

Types of 800G Optical Modules: single-channel 100G and single-channel 200G

Multi-Mode 800G Optical Modules

For multi-mode applications, there are two primary standards for 800G optical modules, designed for transmission distances under 100 meters:

  • Technology: Utilizes VCSEL (Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser) technology.
  • Wavelength: 850nm.
  • Single-Channel Rate: 100Gbps PAM4.
  • Optical Fibers: Requires 16 optical fibers.
  • Interface: MPO-16 or dual-row MPO-12 connectors.
  • Description: This is an enhanced version of the 400G SR4, doubling the number of channels.
Asterfusion 800G SR8 Module Block Diagram
Asterfusion 800G OSFP SR8 Module Block Diagram

800G SR4.2

  • Technology: Employs bi-directional transmission using two wavelengths (850nm and 910nm) within a single optical fiber.
  • Single-Channel Rate: 100Gbps PAM4.
  • Optical Fibers: Requires 8 optical fibers.
  • Interface: MPO-12 connectors.
  • Description: This solution reduces the number of required optical fibers by half compared to SR8, using DeMux to split the wavelengths.
Block diagram for 800G-VR4.2 / 800G-SR4.2 transmit and receive paths
Block diagram for 800G-VR4.2 / 800G-SR4.2 transmit and receive paths

Single-Mode 800G Optical Modules

For single-mode applications, several standards exist, each catering to different transmission distances and requirements:

  • Architecture: All three standards feature 8 Tx and 8 Rx channels with a single-channel rate of 100Gbps.
  • Optical Fibers: Requires 16 optical fibers.
  • Transmission Distance: PSM8 supports up to 100m, while DR8 and 2xDR4 support up to 500m.
  • Interface: DR8 and PSM8 use MPO-16 connectors, while 2xDR4 uses dual MPO-12 connectors, facilitating data center upgrades by interconnecting with 400G DR4 modules.
DR8 Module Block Diagram
Asterfusion 800G OSFP DR8 Module Block Diagram
  • Architecture: Both standards use 4 wavelengths with a single-channel rate of 100Gbps, reducing the number of optical fibers to 4 through Mux.
  • Transmission Distance: 2xFR4 supports up to 2km, and 2xLR4 supports up to 10km.
  • Interface: Dual CS or dual duplex LC connectors.
  • Description: These are upgrades to the 400G FR4 and LR4 modules, using CWDM4 wavelengths (1271/1291/1311/1331nm).

800G FR4

  • Technology: Utilizes four wavelengths with a single-channel rate of 200Gbps.
  • Optical Fibers: Requires 2 optical fibers.
  • Transmission Distance: Supports up to 2km.
  • Interface: Duplex LC connectors.

800G FR8

  • Technology: Uses eight wavelengths, each with a rate of 100Gbps.
  • Optical Fibers: Requires 2 optical fibers.
  • Transmission Distance: Supports up to 2km.
  • Wavelength Channels: 1271/1291/1311/1331/1351/1371/1391/1411nm.
800G FR8

Now that you’ve got a handle on the various 800G modules and their nifty features and perks in both QSFP-DD and OSFP packages, you’re all set to make a savvy choice. Whether you’re diving into telecom or data center applications, this understanding will help you pick out the perfect 800G optical module tailored to your specific requirements.

Application Areas of 800G Optical Modules

The emergence of 800G optical modules is set to revolutionize various industries, offering ultra-high-speed data transmission capabilities. These modules are poised to play a pivotal role in a wide range of scenarios where 800G networks are essential. Let’s explore some of the key application areas where 800G optical modules are expected to make a significant impact:

1. Data Centers

  • Data Center Interconnect (DCI): 800G optical modules are essential for data center interconnects, enabling seamless communication between data centers. These modules support Ultra Ethernet, forming the backbone of modern interconnect infrastructure.
  • AI Data Centers: The training of artificial intelligence models requires substantial data transmission and computing power. 800G Ethernet can connect GPU clusters and data storage, facilitating the training and inference of deep learning models.
  • Ultra-High-Density Data Storage: Data centers demand large storage capacities and rapid data transmission to manage growing data volumes. 800G Ethernet connects storage servers, enabling ultra-high-density data storage, which is crucial for large social media companies managing vast amounts of user-generated content.
  • Virtualization and Containerization: Technologies like virtualization and containerization require swift data transmission to share resources between virtual machines or containers. 800G Ethernet provides the necessary bandwidth for virtual machine migration and container communication, supporting cloud service providers in managing virtualized workloads.

2. Cloud Computing

  • Elastic Computing Resources: Cloud computing offers elastic computing resources, necessitating high-speed network connections. 800G Ethernet facilitates rapid data transmission between cloud computing users, enabling scientific research institutions to run complex simulations and data analysis tasks in the cloud.
  • Cloud Storage and Backup: Cloud storage and backup services require significant capacity and high-speed transmission to ensure data security and availability. 800G Ethernet connects cloud storage devices and data backup servers, allowing enterprises to back up critical business data efficiently.

3. High-Performance Computing (HPC)

High-performance computing applications, such as scientific computing and computational model training, require high-speed data transmission and processing capabilities. 800G networks enhance data transmission speeds and network performance, crucial for scientific research, big data analysis, and intelligent computing training. These modules ensure fast data transmission, reduce latency, and optimize overall system performance.

4. Big Data

  • Data Transfer and Analysis: Big data analysis demands extensive data transmission and processing power. 800G Ethernet can transfer large-scale data sets from sources to analysis platforms, accelerating data processing. For instance, healthcare organizations can use these networks to analyze vast amounts of patient medical records, improving diagnosis and treatment.
  • Real-Time Data Streaming: Real-time data streaming requires extremely low latency in data transmission. 800G Ethernet supports real-time data stream applications, such as financial transaction monitoring and smart city surveillance. Financial institutions can use these networks to monitor and analyze extensive transaction data to detect potential fraud.

5. Internet of Things (IoT)

800G Ethernet can connect a large number of IoT devices and sensors, enabling large-scale device interconnection. This enhances the scalability and capabilities of IoT solutions, fostering innovative applications in smart cities, smart transportation, smart manufacturing, and other fields.

6. Autonomous Vehicles

  • High-Definition Maps and Sensor Data: Autonomous vehicles require high-resolution maps and sensor data for accurate positioning and environmental perception. 800G Ethernet technologies transmit these large-scale data, enhancing the safety and reliability of autonomous driving.
  • Vehicle Communications: Communication between vehicles and with infrastructure is key for autonomous driving. 800G Ethernet supports real-time communication between vehicles, helping to prevent collisions and improve traffic efficiency.

7. 5G and Communication Networks

The surge in 5G and communication networks demands not only speed but also reliability. 800G QSFP and QSFP-DD optical modules are designed to meet the needs of next-generation communication networks. Their advanced features support 5G architecture, ensuring the stability and responsiveness of network infrastructure.

Asterfusion 800G Optical Transceivers

TypeOSFPMax Distance
Single ModeOSFP-800G-DR8-SM 500m
Single ModeOSFP-800G-FR8-SM2km
Single ModeOSFP-800G-LR8-SM10km

About 800G Ethernet Standard & Asterfusion 800 Ethernet Switch

Unraveling the Potential of 800G Ethernet: A Concise Overview


Q1: Can an OSFP interface module be plugged into a QSFP-DD interface?

A1: No. OSFP and QSFP-DD interface types are different in physical size and connection methods, so they cannot be plugged into each other.

Q2: Can an OSFP at one end of an 800G link interoperate with a QSFP-DD at the other end?

A2: Yes. OSFP and QSFP-DD refer to the physical form factors of the module. If the Ethernet media type is the same, OSFP and QSFP-DD modules can interoperate with each other.

Q3:Does Asterfusion sell the corresponding 800G/51.2T switch? Can I learn more about it?

A3: Yes, Asterfusion does sell the corresponding 800G switch. We self-develop our own 800G/51.2T switch equipped with our own enterprise version of SONiC NOS-AsterNOS. This switch is designed to meet the demanding requirements of various scenarios, including AI,ML, data centers, enterprise, HPC and distributed storage. For more information, you can visit Asterfusion’s product page


Gazettabyte – Home – Companies gear up to make 800 Gig modules a reality

400G BiDi MSA 400G-BD4.2 Technical Specification Rev 1.0 (

OSFP_Module_Specification_Rev4_1.pdf (

800G Optics Options (

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