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The Difference Between SFP+ And QSFP+

The enhanced small form-factor pluggable (SFP+) is an enhanced version of the SFP that supports data rates up to 16 Gbit/s. The SFP+ specification was first published on May 9, 2006, and version 4.1 published on July 6, 2009. SFP+ supports 8 Gbit/s Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Optical Transport Network standard OTU2. It is a popular industry format supported by many network component vendors. 10 Gbit/s SFP+ modules are exactly the same dimensions as regular SFPs, allowing the equipment manufacturer to re-use existing physical designs for 24 and 48-port switches and modular linecards.

QSFP is short for quad (4-channel) small form-factor pluggable. It is a compact, hot-pluggable transceiver also used for data communications applications. QSFP+ evolved as the standard to support 10Gb/s data rates per SFF-8436. Compared with QSFP+, QSFP products support Quarter Small Form-factor Pluggable with the different data rate so that there is no change in the product solution. Nowadays, QSFP+ gradually replace QSFP and is widely used by people as it can provide higher bandwidth.

Difference Between SFP+ And QSFP+

SFP+ 10G

  • 8GFC and 10Gbit/s 8.5G data rate
  • SFP+ MSA Compliant
  • Very low power consumption (<1W)
  • With digital diagnostic monitor interface
  • Operating temperature range 0 to 70 degrees Celsius
  • 10G serial Electrical I/F


  • QSFP+ MSA, SFF-8436 compatible
  • Four independently addressable transmit and receive channels
  • Highly compact: savings of 60% on edge and board usage compared to four comparable SFP+ modules
  • Electrically hot-pluggable
  • XFP-like latch mechanism for ease-of-insertion
  • Digital Diagnostics Monitoring Interface. allows customer management and monitoring of key modules parameters, analogous to SFP+
  • Optical connectivity via industry standard MPO/MTP terminated fiber ribbon


SFP transceivers are expected to perform at data speeds of up to five gigabits per second (5 Gbps), and possibly higher. Because SFP Modules can be easily interchanged, electro-optical or fiber optic networks can be upgraded and maintained more conveniently than has been the case with traditional soldered-in modules. Rather than replacing an entire circuit board containing several soldered-in modules, a single module can be removed and replaced for repair or upgrading. This can result in a substantial cost savings, both in maintenance and in upgrading efforts.

The QSFP specification supports Ethernet, Fibre Channel, InfiniBand and SONET/SDH standards with different data rate options. QSFP+ transceivers are designed to support 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. The (QSFP+) interconnect solution is designed for a multitude of markets and applications including switches, routers, Host Bus Adapters (HBAs), enterprise data centres, high-performance computing (HPC) and storage.


SFP+ has a more compact form factor package than X2 and XFP. It can connect with the same type of XFP, X2 and XENPAK directly. The cost of SFP+ is lower than XFP, X2 and XENPAK. SFP+ modules can be described as ‘limiting’ or ‘linear’ types; this describes the functionality of the inbuilt electronics. Limiting SFP+ modules include a signal amplifier to re-shape the (degraded) received signal whereas linear ones do not. Linear modules are mainly used with the low bandwidth standards such as 10GBASE-LRM; otherwise, limiting modules are preferred. SFP+ also introduces Direct Attach for connecting two SFP+ ports without dedicated transceivers.

QSFP+ is an evolution of QSFP to support four 10 Gbit/sec channels carrying 10 Gigabit Ethernet, 10GFC FiberChannel, or QDR InfiniBand. The 4 channels can also be combined into a single 40 Gigabit Ethernet link.


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