cSFP Compact Size SFP

Compact SFP (CSFP) – What it is and when it is used?

SFP type and BiDi SFP type optical modules are very popular and widely used in optical communication while CSFP (Compact Small Form-Factor Pluggable) optical transceivers are much more rare. In this article we would like to explain main difference between SFP, BiDi SFP and Compact SFP, mention in which scenarios Compact SFPs are mostly used, which vendors in which platforms support them and how it relates back to EDGE Optical Solutions CSFP portfolio.

SFP, BiDi SFP and Compact SFP (CSFP) differences.

As an old Chinese proverb goes: “One Picture is Worth Ten Thousand Words” let’s start with a Picture where we can see detailed differences between SFP, BiDi SFP and Compact SFP (CSFP) optical modules link construction principles:

cSFP Principle

SFP principle:

We know that for one of most widely used product types in our industry SFP we have 2 ports one is TX which is used to transmit the signal and other port is RX which is used to receive the signal. This communication require 2 optical fiber connection. To make connection we simply use 2pcs of this product type put in Site A and in Site B, correctly plug optical cables and we will get the link up and communication can start.

BiDi SFP principle:

If we go further BiDi SFP modules are as well very popular, key advantage for BiDi SFP comparing to regular SFP is that we only need to use 1 optical fiber to make same 1xGE transfer. In situations where fiber resources are scarce or operator needs to rent out fiber, BiDi SFP brings significant benefit to the network design and can reduce the cost a lot. BiDi SFPs work in pairs, there are A side and B side modules. A side modules on standard distances 3-40km have Tx: 1310nm and Rx:1490nm or Tx:1310nm and Rx:1550nm, while B Side modules on standard distances will have Tx:1490nm Rx:1310nm or Tx:1550nm and Rx:1310nm. We should connect them accordingly in pairs Tx:1310nm/Rx:1490nm A side together with Tx:1490nm/Rx:1310nm B side OR Tx:1310nm/Rx:1550nm A side together with Tx:1550nm/Rx:1310nm B and we will get the link running.

Compact SFP (CSFP) principle:

Compact SFP (CSFP) goes even further, by using same SFP port we can have 2 BiDi bidirectional streams of traffic, thus we can get 2xGE out from one SFP port. Only thing which is required that equipment line card support CSFP and actually for this not so many vendor equipment has been designed to accept CSFP modules.

When Compact SFP (CSFP) is used?

Most commonly CSFP is used in Central Office/Aggregation site operating at Tx1&Tx2:1490nm Rx1&Rx2:1310nm and it get’s connected to 2 CPE sites which have simple BiDi SFP operating in Tx:1310nm Rx:1490 at each site. Compact SFP (CSFP) major application is to use it in FTTx scenario where we have (point-to-point) connections from Central Office/Aggregation Site to (CPE) Customer Premises Equipment. With help of CSFP we can double the Central Office/Aggregation Site port density (we can achieve 2xGE from one aggregation site port) and as well reduce power consumption in Central Office as we use 2 times less ports.

Which Vendor platforms support Compact SFP (CSFP)?

Most popular vendors which support Compact SFP are Cisco, Huawei and Nokia (ex. Alcatel) and here as well we need to be careful as not all Cisco, Huawei and Nokia (ex. Alcatel) platforms will support Compact SFPs.

Cisco Catalyst 4500 and GLC-2BX-D:

One of most popular Cisco platform which support CSFP optical modules is Cisco Catalyst 4500 Series which when used with X4640-CSFP-E line card accepts CSFP optical modules. Normally in this line card we can have 40xGE as 40 SFP ports are available, but if we use CSFP optical modules in same 40 SFP ports we can get 80xGE.

More details about this line card from Cisco Datasheet:

Table 6: Ordering Information

Cisco csfp part

Most popular Cisco Compact SFP (CSFP) product is: GLC-2BX-D

Cisco CSFP

Huawei S5700-LI Series and CSFP-GE-FE-BXD1:

If we check Huawei then Huawei support CSFP in their S5700-LI Series Gigabit Enterprise Switches. More particular in following model: S5700-52X-LI-48CS-AC it support 48xGE CSFP ports or 24xGE SFP ports, 4xCombo 10/100/1000Base-T Ethernet ports, 4x10GE SFP+ ports.Huawei S5700 CSFP

Link to Huawei Datasheet

Huawei MA5600T OLT as well can accept CSFP when equipped with H802OPGD or H802OPGE P2P Interface boards which by use of CSFP optical modules can achieve 48xGE instead of 24xGE in case SFP modules would be used. Huawei Compact SFP (CSFP) product code is: CSFP-GE-FE-BXD1 (part number: 02310TEE) (Datasheet).

Nokia (ex. Alcatel) and CSFP:

Nokia (ex. Alcatel) has several series with line cards which can be equipped with CSFP optical modules. For example Nokia 7750 Service Router and 7450 Ethernet Service Switch can support 160-port GE CSFP/SFP IMM interface card, which normally have 80xGE when used with SFP optical modules and we can get up to 160xGE per line card if we use CSFP optical modules. (Source)

As well Nokia XRS 7950 can be equipped with 36/72-port GE SFP/CSFP Compact XMA line card which will support CSFP optical modules. (Source)

Same goes for Nokia 7210 Service Access Switch series where we can use 11/22-port GE IMM-b line card and get up to 22 x cSFP 100/1000 Mb/s. (Source)

Other vendors and CSFP

There are as well other equipment manufacturers who have designed their equipment to be used with CSFP modules, such as:

Allied Telesis SwitchBlade x3106 is designed for high density FTTX support AT-SBx31GC40 line card which can be equipped with CSFP transceivers to increase the port density. Allied Telesis CSFP part number is AT-SPBD20DUAL-14 (for 20km) and AT-SPBD40DUAL-14 (for 40km version).

Zhone MXK Terabit Access Platform can be equipped with MXK-AEX20-FE/GE-CSFP Active Ethernet line card which support CSFP optical modules, more particular 3 types of CFP modules are available (Source):

Part Number Description
1000MBPS, TX 1490 RX 1310, 10KM, MSA COMPLIANT
1000MBPS, TX 1490 RX 1310, 20KM, MSA COMPLIANT
1000MBPS, TX 1550 RX 1310, 20KM, MSA COMPLIANT

Keymile has MileGate SUE16 line card designed for FTTH scenarios where we can use CSFP optical modules and can connect up to 480 subscribers from one MileGate 2510 subrack. (Source)

Calix E7-20 GPON system support E7-20 GE-24x P2P Ethernet line card support 12 CSFP sockets which when equipped with CSFP transceivers will help to improve the traffic density.

Zyxel CLC1320G-55 fiber based Gigabit Ethernet Line Card has 16 ports for SFP transceivers and 4 for CSFP/SFP.

Ceragon FiberAir IP-20 all outdoor Microwave series can be equipped with CSFP modules. Ceragon CSFP Module Recommendations (Source):

Part Number Marketing Model Description


Compact SFP (CSFP) in EDGE Optical Solutions portfolio?

In this table we have summarized EDGE Optical Solutions CSFP portfolio and matching relationship with other vendor CSFP optical modules and their part numbers. Many of the vendors follow MSA standard and EDGE CSFP modules can be easily used in their platforms. For detailed information, please click on Part Number.

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