10GbE vs 25GbE vs 40Gbe vs 100GbE Cabling

Born in the 1970s, Ethernet technology has  continually evolved in order to meet the ever-growing requirement for faster  rates of data transmission. Through this ongoing evolution, it has matured into  the foremost technology standard for local area networks (LANs) as newer,  higher performing iterations, from 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE), 25 Gigabit  Ethernet (25GbE) and 40 Gigabit Ethernet (40GbE), to 100 Gigabit Ethernet  (100GbE), all these high speed Gigabit Ethernets become more commonplace.
 The demand for faster application speeds  has also spurred technological evolution on data carrying techniques. As such,  copper cable and fiber cable transmission standards have progressed, providing  greater bandwidth for transporting data over Ethernet architectures with  reduced cost and complexity. In older posts, we have introduced the 100GbE, 40GbE and 10GbE before, now  in this article, we would like to introduce the 100GbE cabling, 40GbE  cabling, 10GbE cabling, and 25 Gigabit Ethernet and the 25GbE cabling.

10GbE  Cabling Overview

 Like previous versions of Ethernet, 10GbE  can use either copper or fiber cabling. However, due to the copper cables’  specifications, higher-grade copper cables are required for the 10GbE bandwidth  requirements, like category 6a or Class F/Category 7 cables for links up to  100m. And it is more usual to see the fiber cabling for 10GbE nowadays. Below  are the 10GbE cabling overview including the 10GbE standard, cabling standard,  cabling type and maximum reach.

IEEE standard

Cabling Standard

Cabling Type

Max Reach



62.5µ multimode fiber
 50µ multimode fiber

OM3: 300m
OM4: 400m



9µ single-mode fiber

10 km



9µ single-mode fiber

40 km

None 802.3ae


9µ single-mode fiber

80 km



9µ single-mode fiber
 62.5µ multimode fiber
 50µ multimode fiber

300m (multi-mode)
 10km (single-mode)



9µ single-mode fiber




8 pair, 100 ohm twinaxial cabling


Besides the 10GbE cables, the 10GbE optical  transceiver modules are also important for 10 Gigabit Ethernet, as well as  switches and other components.
10GbE  Optical Transceiver Modules and Cables
 There are several standard form factors of 10GbE optical transceivers in the  whole evolution. XENPAK was the first MSA for 10GbE and had the largest form  factor. X2 and XPAK were later competing standards with smaller form factors,  but these two have not been as successful in the market as XENPAK. XFP came  after X2 and XPAK and it is also smaller. The newest 10GbE module standard is  the enhanced small form-factor pluggable transceiver, or called SFP+, which is  based on the small form-factor pluggable transceiver (SFP) and it is the  smallest of 10GbE form factors. Read the SFP vs SFP+ vs XFP  comparison for more details.

25GbE Cabling Overview

 Utilizing 25GbE results in a single-lane  connection similar to existing 10GbE technology—but it delivers 2.5 times more  data. Compared to 40GbE solutions, 25GbE technology provides superior switch  port density by requiring just one lane (vs. four with 40GbE), along with lower  costs and power requirements. The 25GbE specification will enable network  bandwidth to be cost-effectively scaled in support of next-generation server  and storage solutions residing in cloud and web-scale data center environments.
 IEEE 802.3 Standard Interfaces that Specify  25GbE

Physical    Layer


MMF Optics


Direct Attach Copper


Direct Attach Copper


Electrical Backplane


Electrical Backplane


Twisted Pair


25GbE Optical Transceiver Modules and  Cables
Like 10GbE, the 25GbE physical interface  specification supports a variety of form factors, including SFP28 (1x25 Gbps)  and QSFP28 (4x25 Gbps), which is also used for 100GbE.
The DataComm 25GBASE-SR SFP28 and 25GBASE-LR SFP28 are two popular  25GbE optical transceiver modules available in the market, the former supports  up to 100m link length while the latter allows a maximum transmission distance  of 10 km. Because the switches that are currently available do not support  direct 25GbE connections using an SFP28 direct attach copper (DAC) cable. It is  recommended to use a breakout cable that allows four 25GbE ports to connect to  a 100GbE QFSFP28 switch  port. DAC cable lengths are limited to three meters for 25GbE. And if you  prefer a longer length, the 25GbE  active optic cable (AOC) solutions are good recommendations.

40GbE Cabling Overview

 There are several standard form factors of  40GbE transceivers in the whole evolution and the most used is the quad small  form-factor pluggable (QSFP). The form factor and electrical interface are  specified by a multi-source agreement (MSA) under the auspices of the Small  Form Factor Committee. It interfaces networking hardware to a fiber optic cable  or active or passive electrical copper connection.

Physical Layer


Improved    Backplane


7 m over    twinax copper cable


30 m over    "Cat.8" twisted pair


100 m over OM3    MMF


125 m over OM4    MMF

2 km over SMF,    serial


10 km over SMF


40 km over SMF


40GbE Optical Transceiver Modules and  Cables
 DataComm supports a full range of both 40GbE optical fiber cables and 40GbE optical transceiver modules,  compliant to the IEEE standards. For copper both QSFP+ to QSFP+ (40G to 40G)  and QSFP+ to SFP+ (40G to 4x10G) cables enable short reach options. For longer  distances DataComm offers a wide range of optical transceivers for various fiber  types and reach requirements, for example, the 40GBASE-LR4 QSFP+ optical transceivers support up to 10km link length and the 40GBASE-ER4 QSFP+ optical modules allow a maximum transmission distance of 30 km.

100GbE Cabling Overview

The 100 Gigabit Ethernet family of physical  layer specifications will be growing, as the IEEE has initiated the IEEE  P802.3bj 100 Gbps Backplane and Copper Cable Task Force. This project will  specify 100 Gigabit Ethernet over backplanes and copper cabling via a 4-lane 25  Gbps electrical signaling approach. In developing these new specifications, the  IEEE Task Force will explore several options to overcome the challenge of  increasing the signaling rate across a given lane from 10 Gbps to 25 Gbps.

Physical layer

100 Gigabit Ethernet



Improved Backplane


7 m over twinax copper cable


100 m over OM3 MMF


125 m over OM4 MMF


2 km over SMF, serial


10 km over SMF


40 km over SMF


100GbE Optical Transceiver Modules and Cables
 DataComm supports a full range of fiber optical cables and optical  transceivers for 100GbE, compliant to the IEEE standards. DataComm offers  QSFP28 to QSF28 Direct Attach  Passive Copper Cables and Active  Optical Cables, to enable short reach options, as well as a wide range of  optical transceivers in CFP2 and QSFP28 form factors for various fiber types  and reach requirements.

 If you need the 10G, 25G, 40G or 100G optical transceiver modules and cables, please contact us at sales@datacommun.com.

6/29/2016 4:17:50 AM

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