Altera's Stratix IV GT FPGAs Interoperate Directly with 40G QSFP Optical Modules

Stratix IV GT FPGA's Integrated 11.3-Gbps Transceivers Provide an Efficient Way to Bridge 40G Optical Modules in Line Cards

San Jose, Calif., -Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) today announced the interoperability of its Stratix® IV GT FPGAs with 40G Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable (QSFP) optical modules from Avago Technologies. QSFP optical modules provide 40-Gbps data rates across a single link of fiber-optic cable. Leveraging the 11.3-Gbps embedded transceivers featured in Stratix IV GT FPGAs, designers can now take advantage of the flexibility and performance benefits of FPGAs to bridge 40G QSFP optical modules to other devices in their line cards and increase overall system bandwidth.

QSFP is the next-generation hot-pluggable interface for high-performance switches, routers, servers and host bus adapters used in computing and telecommunication applications. The interface is currently the industry's most compact, 4-high-speed-channel, Z-axis pluggable interface supporting data rates up to 40 Gbps (4 lanes x 10 Gbps). The Stratix IV GT FPGA's 11.3-Gbps transceivers connect directly to the 40G QSFP optical module without the need of bridging chips.

"Stratix IV GT FPGAs provide an ideal solution to designers of high-performance networking and telecommunications systems who continue to push their system's bandwidth to new limits," said Luanne Schirrmeister, senior director of component product marketing at Altera. "The multiple 11.3-Gbps transceivers featured in Stratix IV GT FPGAs give designers the opportunity to connect eight QSFP optical modules to a single FPGA and transport up to 320 Gbps of aggregate data in their system. Obtaining this same level of performance using FPGAs with sub-10-Gbps transceivers requires the use of 32 SFP+ optical modules."

Altera achieved interoperability with 40G QSFP optical modules by using a Stratix IV GT FPGA development board. The transmitter and receiver in the development board connected via SMA cables to two QSFP boards featuring 40G QSFP modules from Avago Technologies. The QSFP modules are connected by 30 meters of OM2 multimode optical fiber cable assembly. After more than 100 hours of operation, zero errors were observed, resulting in a bit error rate (BER) exceeding 10E-16.


Stratix IV GT FPGAs are currently shipping. For more information on the devices, contact your local Altera® sales representative or visit To view a white paper that highlights how Altera's FPGAs enable 40G/100G applications, visit

About Altera

Altera's programmable solutions enable system and semiconductor companies to rapidly and cost-effectively innovate, differentiate, and win in their markets. Find out more about Altera's FPGA, CPLD and ASIC devices at Follow Altera via Facebook, RSS and Twitter.

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