Industry Group Forms Multi-Source Agreement for Shortwave WDM

16th March 2017

Multimode optical specification defines 40 and 100 Gb/s transceivers for enterprise and cloud datacentre applications


The SWDM MSA (Shortwave Wavelength Division Multiplexed Multi-Source Agreement) Group has announced its formation as an industry consortium to define optical specifications and promote adoption of shortwave WDM standards for use in datacentre and enterprise campus applications that deploy duplex multimode fibre (MMF). 

The SWDM MSA has published 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 fibre deployed in datacentres today because it allows for the use of low cost, VCSEL-based transceivers. Most datacentres 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 can allow 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 datacentres.

The new 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 fibre type. In the future, SWDM technology could be used to enable 200, 400, and 800 Gb/s Ethernet traffic on MMF cabling as well, according to the group.

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 datacentres.  The SWDM Alliance also includes Anritsu, Corning, Dell EMC, H3C, Huawei, Juniper Networks, Panduit, Suruga Seiki, and YOFC.

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