The differences between QSFP, QSFP+ and QSFP28

5 December 2017

QSFP, QSFP+ and QSFP28 transceivers look very similar because they all share the same small form-factor, but their data rate and breakout connection capabilities are quite different. If you have ever wondered whether QSFP, QSFP+ and QSFP28 modules are right for your network and what the differences between them are, then this article is for you.



QSFP stands for Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable.

The QSFP specification supports Ethernet, Fibre Channel, InfiniBand and SONET/SDH standards.

The transceivers support the network link over single-mode or multi-mode fibre patch cable.

QSFP supports 4x1G data rate channels.



The QSFP+ is an evolution of QSFP.

QSFP+ supports 4x10G channels carrying 10G Ethernet, 10G Fibre Channel, or QDR InfiniBand.

The 4 channels can also be combined into a single 40G Ethernet link.



The QSFP28 pluggable optic differs from QSFP and QSFP+ in that each lane can support up to 4x28G data rate. QSFP28 are also capable of handling 100G traffic.

QSFP28 can do 4x25G breakout connection, 2x50G, or 1x100G depending on the transceiver used.

Usually QSFP28 modules can’t breakout into 10G links. But if a QSFP28 module is inserted into a QSFP+ port, a QSFP28 can break out into 4x10G.


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