C Form-Factor Pluggable (CFP)

Posted on Aug 19, 2009 in Knowledge Base

The C form-factor pluggable (CFP) is a multi-source agreement to produce a common form-factor for the transmission of high-speed digital signals. The c stands for the Latin letter C used to express the number 100 (centum), since the standard was primarily developed for 100 Gigabit Ethernet systems.

CFP standardization

The CFP transceiver is specified by a multi-source agreement (MSA) between competing manufacturers. The CFP was designed after the small form-factor pluggable transceiver (SFP) interface, but is significantly larger to support 100 Gbit/s. While the electrical connection of a CFP uses 10 x 10 Gbit/s lanes in each direction (RX, TX) the optical connection can support both 10 x 10 Gbit/s and 4 x 25 Gbit/s variants of 100 Gbit/s interconnects (typically referred to as 100GBASE-LR10 and 100GBASE-LR4 in 10 km reach, and 100GBASE-ER10 and 100GBASE-ER4 in 40 km reach respectively.)

In March 2009, Santur Corporation demonstrated a 100 Gigabit pluggable CFP transceiver prototype.

Supported signals

CFP transceivers can support a single 100 Gbit/s signal like 100GbE or OTU4 or one or more 40 Gbit/s signals like 40GbE, OTU3, or STM-256/OC-768.