Cisco QSFP-DD800 MSA

The Digital Era and the Crucial Role of Cisco QSFP-DD800 MSA in Data Centres

In today’s digital landscape, data centres serve as the backbone of our interconnected world. They are the powerhouses that house servers, storing and processing vast amounts of data that fuel our digital interactions and services. As our reliance on digital platforms grows, the demand for more efficient, high-speed data centres becomes increasingly paramount.

According to Cisco’s VNI Global IP Traffic Forecast, traffic growth from 2017 to 2024 will have a compounded annual growth of 26%. The number of devices connected to IP networks will increase to more than 28 billion. That’s over 3.5 per capita worldwide!

Enter the cutting-edge technology of 800G links and the game-changing Cisco QSFP-DD800 MSA, poised to redefine data centre connectivity.

Meeting the Insatiable Need for Speed: 800G Links

Clearly, the need for higher bandwidth networking equipment and connections will continue to be led by market forces.

The exponential surge in data consumption, driven by cloud services, IoT devices, and transformative technologies such as 5G and AI, has spurred an unprecedented surge in data traffic. To cope with this mounting demand, data centres are compelled to constantly upgrade their network infrastructure. Enter the 800G links, promising lightning-fast data transmission speeds.

The initial iteration of 800G technology, utilising 112 Gbps per lane, ushers in the era of 200/400/800G links. Looking ahead, the upcoming second generation is projected to raise the bar further with 224 Gbps per lane, potentially offering up to 1.6T links. The imminent arrival of 800G signifies a paradigm shift in client optics, poised to revolutionise hyperscale data centres and set new benchmarks for data transmission efficiency.

The Revolutionary Cisco QSFP-DD800 MSA

At the forefront of this revolution stands the Cisco QSFP-DD800 MSA, a pioneering 2x400G pluggable transceiver module adopting the QSFP-DD form factor. This technological marvel not only boasts the industry’s highest bandwidth density within a transceiver module but also ensures seamless backward compatibility with lower-speed QSFP pluggable modules and cables.

Remarkably, the QSFP-DD800 MSA is spearheading the effort to establish baseline specifications for modules, connectors, and stacked connectors. Additionally, its innovation extends to defining a hybrid connector—a BiPass/Flyover variant designed to mitigate signal losses on traditional PCBs, further enhancing data transmission efficiency.

In preparation for the inevitable growth, Cisco along with other along with other industry leaders (Broadcom, Finisar, Intel, Juniper Networks, Marvell, Molex and Samtec) have formed the QSFP-DD800 MSA group to extend the bandwidth of the QSFP-DD pluggable module form factor from 400Gb/s to 800Gb/s. Leveraging the success of the QSFP-DD pluggable form factor for 400Gb/s applications, the new module will continue to be backward compatible with all other generations of QSFP modules including QSFP+, QSFP28, QSFP56 and 400G QSFP-DD. The industry has already invested approximately $9B in QSFP modules over the years. Ports that are backward compatible with lower speed modules give network operators the option to re-use modules they have already invested in. Furthermore, they can aggregate traffic from lower speed ports and manage the migration to next generation equipment without the need to purchase additional port adapters or new modules.

The European Data Centre Landscape and Its Evolution

Europe stands as a significant hub for data centres, with Germany alone boasting 487 data centres as of October 2022—the highest count among European nations. The European Data Centre Market encompasses a vast network of 1047 data centres operated by 303 providers, underscoring the region’s pivotal role in the global data infrastructure.

The integration of 800G links and the Cisco QSFP-DD800 MSA within European data centres is poised to revolutionise their operations. This technological leap empowers these centres to handle the burgeoning data traffic with unprecedented efficiency, elevating the speed and reliability of services offered to end-users across the continent.

The Impact of 800G Links on Data Center Architecture

The introduction of 800G links will have a profound impact on data center architecture. Data centers will need to be redesigned to accommodate the increased bandwidth and power requirements of these new links. This will involve upgrading network switches, routers, and cabling, as well as implementing new cooling and power distribution systems.

Data center operators will also need to consider the impact of 800G links on their network management and monitoring tools. These tools will need to be able to handle the increased traffic and provide real-time visibility into network performance.

The Challenges of Deploying 800G Links

Despite the benefits of 800G links, there are also some challenges that need to be addressed before they can be widely deployed. One challenge is the cost of the equipment. 800G transceivers and other components are significantly more expensive than their 400G counterparts. Additionally, data centers will need to invest in new infrastructure to support the increased bandwidth and power requirements of 800G links.

Another challenge is the complexity of deploying and managing 800G links. Data center operators will need to carefully plan and execute their deployments to ensure that the new links are integrated seamlessly into their existing networks. They will also need to train their staff on how to manage and troubleshoot 800G links.

In Conclusion: Unveiling the Future of Data Centre Connectivity

In summary, the Cisco QSFP-DD800 MSA, in tandem with the revolutionary 800G links, marks the inception of a new era in high-speed data centre connectivity. By harnessing the potential of 800G links, data centres are equipped to not only meet but surpass the escalating demands of the digital age, fostering innovation and driving progress to new heights.

The Future of Data Center Connectivity

The introduction of 800G links is a major milestone in the evolution of data center networking. These new links will provide data centers with the bandwidth they need to support the growing demand for data and applications. However, there are still some challenges that need to be addressed before 800G links can be widely deployed.

Looking ahead, the industry is already working on the next generation of data center connectivity, which is expected to offer even higher bandwidths of 1.6T and beyond. These new links will be essential for supporting the next wave of data-driven applications, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things.

Broadening Perspectives and Expanding Horizons:

The transition to 800G links and the development of advanced transceiver modules represent a monumental stride in data infrastructure evolution. Beyond the sheer augmentation of data transmission speeds, these advancements promise unparalleled efficiency and scalability—imperative requisites in a digital realm governed by relentless data proliferation and real-time demands.

The ripple effects of these technological advancements extend far beyond the confines of data centres, permeating various sectors reliant on seamless data transmission, from telecommunications to the frontiers of AI and machine learning.

This remarkable progression is a testament to technology’s ceaseless evolution, catering to the ever-expanding demands of an interconnected world. It heralds a new chapter of innovation, paving the way for continued advancements in digital connectivity and efficiency.

Traffic across IP networks continues to grow, and networks continue to evolve to manage new traffic patterns and demands. This has always been the case, and the industry has a long history of developing new standards through various organizations, such as the IEEE and ITU, and through multi-source agreement (MSA) groups. These standards enable component suppliers, equipment manufacturers, and service providers to interconnect and link networks together as seamlessly as possible. The latest MSA, QSFP-DD800, lays the foundation for 800G Ethernet pluggable optics.

In my next blog, I’ll share developments in signalling standards. In the meantime, you can find Other Networking Solutions Options on our website.


800G links represent a leap in data transmission speeds, offering unprecedented bandwidth and efficiency. These links enable faster processing and transfer of data within data centres, meeting the escalating demands of today's digital landscape.

The Cisco QSFP-DD800 MSA stands out due to its exceptional bandwidth density within a transceiver module and backward compatibility with lower-speed modules. Moreover, its focus on defining hybrid connectors and baseline specifications sets new standards for data transmission reliability

The integration of 800G links in European data centres will revolutionise their capabilities, allowing for more efficient handling of increasing data traffic. This integration will enhance the speed and reliability of services offered to users across Europe.

Beyond data centres, the introduction of 800G links has far-reaching implications, influencing various sectors dependent on rapid data transmission. These links are pivotal in advancing telecommunications, AI development, and the overall digital ecosystem.

800G links serve as a cornerstone for future technological innovations, fostering progress in data processing, IoT connectivity, and the development of transformative technologies like AI and 5G.

Adopting 800G technology entails challenges related to infrastructure upgrades, cost implications, and ensuring seamless integration with existing systems. However, the benefits in terms of enhanced speed and efficiency outweigh these challenges.

While the transition may involve infrastructure upgrades, data centres equipped with scalable architectures can adapt to accommodate 800G links. However, compatibility and capacity planning are crucial considerations for a smooth transition.

800G links bolster the evolution of cloud services by enabling faster data transfer within cloud infrastructures. This contributes to improved performance, scalability, and reliability of cloud-based applications and services.

While not directly related to cybersecurity, 800G links indirectly contribute by enabling faster data processing. Enhanced data processing capabilities can facilitate quicker threat detection and response, fortifying cybersecurity measures.

Beyond 800G, the industry is exploring even higher transmission speeds and novel technologies such as photonic integration, silicon photonics, and quantum communication, paving the way for even more advanced and efficient data centre connectivity.