New Industry Group forms multi-source agreement for shortwave WDM optical standards to operate over duplex multimode fiber
Monday, Mar 20, 2017
New industry MSA publishes optical specifications defining 40 and 100 Gb/s transceivers for enterprise and cloud data center applications

The SWDM MSA (Shortwave Wavelength Division Multiplexed Multi-Source Agreement) Group announced its formation as an industry consortium to define optical specifications and promote adoption of shortwave WDM standards for use in data center and enterprise campus applications that deploy duplex multimode fiber (MMF). The SWDM MSA announced publication of its first two standards, defining optical specifications for four-wavelength SWDM to transmit 40 Gb/s and 100 Gb/s Ethernet signals (“40 GE SWDM4” and “100 GE SWDM4,” respectively).

MMF is by far the most common type of fiber deployed in data centers because it allows for the use of low cost, VCSEL-based transceivers. Most data centers originally deployed 10 Gb/s optics with duplex MMF, and this paradigm is now being continued with 40 and 100 Gb/s signals. Use of SWDM allows the same type of duplex MMF infrastructure to be used for higher data rates, greatly simplifying the upgrade of data rates at both enterprise and cloud data centers.

The SWDM specifications announced support transmission over duplex OM3, OM4, and OM5 MMF types. Maximum reaches vary from 75 to 440 meters, depending on data rate and fiber type. In the future, SWDM technology could be leveraged to enable 200, 400, and 800 Gb/s Ethernet traffic on MMF cabling as well.

The founding members of the SWDM MSA are CommScope, Finisar, Lumentum, Hisense, OFS, and Prysmian. The SWDM MSA is affiliated with the SWDM Alliance, an industry group dedicated to the adoption of SWDM technology in data centers. The SWDM Alliance also includes Anritsu, Corning, Dell EMC, H3C, Huawei, Juniper Networks, Panduit, Suruga Seiki, and YOFC.

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