400G Ethernet in Data Centers: Key Features and Benefits

Equal Optics

Data centers must stay at the forefront of network technology to keep up with growing bandwidth demands. While 100G was previously the industry standard, more and more data centers are moving to 400G. Learn more about what this fourfold upgrade means, why it’s an important migration, and the benefits of prompt migration for data centers.

What Is 400G?

Cloud infrastructure is constantly evolving, and 400G is the latest generation. It isn’t just a small step forward. It offers a dramatic increase in bandwidth and scalable capabilities. The term is most commonly used to describe the capacity of a single 400G wavelength but is sometimes used interchangeably with the following definitions:

  • 400Gb/s: This refers to the gigabytes of data transferred per second — a single optical wavelength can transfer 400 billion bits in a single second.
  • 400GbE: Based on IEEE 802.3bs standards, this term describes a single link’s capacity rate in Ethernet.

While migration involves several steps, the most important factors are optical transceivers and Ethernet cables. Review both components to see how data centers can adapt to crowd infrastructure changes.

400G Transceiver Modules

It takes optical transceiver modules to transmit rates of 400Gb/s. A 400G transceiver uses anywhere from four 100G lanes to sixteen 25G lanes to maintain a fast data rate. Many transceivers are no longer compatible with outdated optoelectronic interfaces, but you can typically find modules compatible with existing systems. Although different leading brands sell modules, Equal Optics will work directly with you to find the right solution.

400G Ethernet in Data Centers - Key Features and Benefits | Equal Optics

400G Ethernet

Once a data center migrates to 400GbE technology, it not only can process bits of information four times as fast, but it can do so with reduced interfaces and failure points. Ethernet is the information highway for transceiver modules, so having the correct cabling is important to make the migration efficient. Ask about quad small form factor pluggable double dentisty (QSFF-DD) cables for transmitting and receiving 400Gb/s and enabling connections within and between racks.

Data Use Trends That May Require 400G in Data Centers

Migration to 400G is a popular solution for data centers in a competitive environment, but why is a fourfold increase in cloud infrastructure necessary? From mobile gaming trends to the exploding growth of artificial intelligence (AI), below are several key reasons why data centers need to accommodate more bandwidth.

Mobile Activity

Browsing, streaming, gaming, and other mobile activities account for significant traffic. Mobile video data alone accounts for an estimated 78% of global traffic, and this trend will likely continue to increase over the coming years.

Video Calling and Conferencing

The specific amount of data used when video calling or conferencing depends on the number of people on the call, the quality of the video, and other factors. For example, Zoom estimates that a 1980p group conference call requires approximately 2.4Gb of data per hour. Covering everything from remote work to hybrid work to conference calls between in-house departments, video calling remains an essential feature in the workplace.

Video Streaming

From 2021 to 2023, the total time users spent streaming videos increased by 18%, according to Forbes. This translates to a nationwide total of 169.4 billion minutes per year of video streaming.

Artificial Intelligence

AI powers more products and services as users use AI prompts to search for solutions. Even as AI grows, its capabilities increase the demand for more network bandwidth and 400G data transfer speeds.

What Are the Benefits of 400G Ethernet?

At one time, link speeds were around 10G. This moved to 25G and eventually 100G. Today’s migration to 400G represents the latest step in delivering greater levels of connectivity within and between data centers. Here are a few benefits data centers can enjoy with this migration:

  • More power
  • Higher throughput
  • Increased space savings
  • Reduced price per bit
  • Simplified architecture
  • Increased transmission capacity

While it represents an investment, the ability to upgrade to fourfold data transfer is the future of the industry. Data centers may find this migration essential as demands continue to increase.

OFSP vs. QSFP-DD: Comparing Optical Form Factors

There are many different optical network options available, including octal small form factor pluggable (OFSP) and QSFP-DD. These preferred optical forms offer advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to compare them to find a way to move forward with your data center.


A larger module means greater power capabilities. OSFP modules offer improved signal integrity, space, and power. This is a competitive option if a data center is planning a full migration.

The main disadvantage of choosing OFSP is its lack of connectivity with legacy modules. It can be difficult to connect OSFP modules with existing 100G modules, making it a less-than-optimal choice if a data center is planning on progressively migrating to this technology or growing beyond.


Thanks to the many reach options available, QSFP-DD is a popular form factor for the client side. It combines transmission and switching into a unified box for a streamlined approach. QSFP-DD enjoys competitive market support and compatibility with connector types QSFP and QSFP28.

One limitation of this option, however, is its power dissipation. QSFP-DD is restricted to 12W, which is a lower power capability than other choices for data centers looking to migrate.

The Future of Data Centers

It’s clear that the future of data centers is greater connectivity and faster networking speeds. In 2011, the total amount of data created and stored worldwide was approximately two zettabytes. That number increased to approximately 100 zettabytes in 2022.

Today’s step is 400G Ethernet and optical transceivers. Whether choosing transceivers still compatible with 100G technology or making a full migration, data centers can remain competitive and dramatically expand their capabilities with a qualified networking solutions team.

Navigate the Future of 400G With Equal Optics

When it’s time to take the next step to 400G, it’s time to connect with the team of professionals. Equal Optics. Contact us to learn more about strategies to migrate your data center at competitive rates and the speed you deserve.







Reach out to us for a consultation today.

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