Juniper Optics: Compatibility and Specifications

Guide to Juniper Optics Compatibility Standards and Specifications

At BrightStar Systems, we specialize in selling and buying high-quality pre-owned Juniper devices, including EX Series, MX Series, QFX Series and SRX Series hardware. But we also sell Juniper optical transceivers in a wide variety of form factors.

The form factors we stock that are compatible with Juniper routers, switches and gateways include CFP, CFP2, QSFP, QSFP+ and QSFP28 optics as well as SFP, SFP+ and XFP optics.

However, not every Juniper series supports every type of form factor. Optics compatibility is based on several specifications, such as maximum Ethernet speed, but it really comes down to what type of ports a device has, although — in some cases — you have control over that.

That being said, some port types — specifically those with shared names — support multiple form factors. For example, SFP+ ports also support SFP form factors, despite the fact SFP+ ports are designed to carry 10G Ethernet and SFP ports are made for 1G Ethernet.

Some form factors offer longevity and flexibility as well, as they support multiple Ethernet speeds and — in some cases — can be used to break out ports into multiple connections.

For example, with the right networking cables, QSFP+ optics can be broken out into four 10G Ethernet connections in place of the standard 40G Ethernet connection.

To help you determine which form factors are supported by each Juniper series, we’ve put together this in-depth guide breaking down which Juniper optics work with each device.

Optical Transceiver Form Factors Comparison

Before getting into which form factors are compatible with each Juniper series, it’s helpful to review all the different form factors that you can use with Juniper hardware. Some are more common on older — even end-of-life — products, while others are more commonly used now.

In general, older form factors support slower Ethernet speeds and are less efficient — mainly because the multi-source agreements the older form factors are based on don’t meet today’s network standards. An example of that is the SFP form factor and the SFP+ form factor.

But different networks have different requirements, and if you’re using legacy hardware — or plan on purchasing some — you’ll need to make sure you buy a compatible form factor.

SFP Form Factor

Small form-factor pluggable (SFP) optics are based on specifications established by a multi-source agreement that was developed by the Small Form Factor Committee.

The agreement standardized several specifications, such as the dimensions and the layout of the host board, so that the devices would be interoperable with common industry hardware.

SFP optics support up to 1G Ethernet, but since the form factor’s inception, several MSAs, including the SFP+ have been established with more up-to-date, advanced specification standards.

SFP+ Form Factor

The small form-factor pluggable, enhanced (SFP+) multi-source agreement, was created to accommodate advancements, particularly Ethernet speeds, in the optical transceiver industry. Devices that are compliant with the agreement, or SFP+ optics, support up to 10G Ethernet.

QSFP Form Factor

QSFP stands for Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable; another multi-source agreement that was developed by the Small Form Factor Committee. QSFP optics support up to 4G Ethernet on a single channel, but it also can be configured for four independent 1G channels.

QSFP+ Form Factor

As the demand for more bandwidth has grown, the QSFP+ form factor has become more common. The QSFP+ multi-source agreement was designed with 40G Ethernet, which is commonly supported on modern networking hardware applications, in mind.

Similar to the QSFP, the QSFP+ form factor can support either four different 10G Ethernet channels or a single 40G Ethernet channel.

QSFP28 Form Factor

The QSFP28 is similar to the QSFP form factors that came before it, but it’s made to carry 100G Ethernet, which is commonly used by large-scale hosting companies and service providers.

The QSFP28 supports up to four optical channels — just like the QSFP and QSFP+ form factors — but each one carries up to 28G Ethernet instead of only 1G or 10G Ethernet.

This form factor is known for its small size and low power consumption; it beats all other form factors for both of those optical transceiver specifications.

CFP/CFP2 Form Factors

The C form-factor pluggable (CFP) multi-source agreement standardized the first form factor for 100G Ethernet optical transceivers. CFP optics support two different channel setups: 10 channels divided into 10G signals and four channels divided into 25G signals.

Although transceivers made with the CFP form factor are larger than newer transceivers, CFPs are interoperable with other recent form factors, including CFP2 and Cisco’s CPAK optics.

The CFP2 is essentially an updated version of the multi-source agreement for the original CFP. It outlines specifications for 100G transceivers, but the dimensions are only half the size of the first generation CFP. It’s also twice as energy efficient.

All CFP2 optical transceivers are interoperable with older CFP-compliant transceivers and newer generation CFP4 optics, as well as Cisco’s CPAK transceivers.

XFP Form Factor

The XFP, another multi-source agreement, defines standards for 10G Ethernet transceivers. It was created by the XFP Multi Source Agreement group.

XFP optics are intended for similar networking environments as SFP+ optics, but has larger dimensions. The XFP form factor is also not as common as small form-factor pluggable transceivers.

Optical Transceiver Compatibility Standards for Juniper Devices

Each line of Juniper hardware, including routers, switches and gateways, and the devices within each line, support different optical transceivers. Below is a breakdown of which optics are compatible with some of the most popular Juniper networking equipment we sell.

EX Series Switches

Juniper’s EX Series is comprised of a wide range of Ethernet switches, from small, fixed switches to large, modular switches that offer flexibility and scalability.

The lower-tier switches, including the EX2200, the EX2300, the EX3300, the EX3400, the EX4200 and the EX4300, are all access level switches with fixed configurations.

These switches support 1G and 10G Juniper optics, mostly in the form of SFP and SFP+ ports. But the EX3400 and the EX4300 switches also have QSFP+ ports that support up to 40G Ethernet. In addition, the end-of-life EX3200 and EX4200 switches support XFP uplink modules.

Aggregate-level — or mid-tier — EX Series switches, which include the EX4550 and the EX4600, are designed with SFP, SFP+ and QSFP+ ports.

The highest performing and only core-level EX Series switch, the EX9200, is available in three different modular chassis: the EX9204, the EX9208 and the EX9214. It supports line cards with SFP, SFP+, QSFP+ and QSFP28 ports, covering the full spectrum of available Ethernet speeds.

MX Series Routers

The MX Series offers routers ranging from compact, 1 RU devices to large-scale devices that are the height of an entire rack.

Although the entry-level routers, like the MX5, MX10, MX40, MX80 and MX104, are fixed-configuration devices, they still offer some modularity in the form of modular interface card (MIC) slots. The MICs for those models are designed with SFP and XFP slots.

But the MX Series routers that offer the most flexibility are the ones that support modular port concentrators (MPC), which hold up to two MICs.

Only the most advanced MX Series routers, including the MX240, MX480 and MX960, as well as the MX2008, MX2010 and MX2020 support MPCs, which are available in different models featuring nearly every port type, including SFP, SFP+, QSFP+, QSFP28, XFP and more.

Only the MX150 and MX204 are entirely fixed-configuration routers; the MX150 supports SFP and SFP+ Juniper optics and the MX204 supports SFP, SFP+, QSFP+ and QSFP28 optics.

The MX Series sets itself apart because it supports nearly every optical transceiver form factor, including SFP, SFP+, XFP, QSFP+ and QSFP28. It even supports some other, less common optics, like CFP and CXP optical transceivers.

QFX Series Switches

Another diverse line of Juniper switches, the QFX Series is mostly made up of fixed configuration devices, including the QFX5100, the QFX5110, the QFX5120, the QFX5200, the QFX5210 and the QFX10000, which includes the QFX10002, QFX10008 and QFX10016 modular chassis. We also stock end-of-life QFX3500 switches.

With the exception of the QFX5100, all QFX Series switches support up to 100G Ethernet, and they’re designed with a combination of SFP, SFP+, QSFP+ and QSFP28 ports. The QFX5100 supports up to 40G Ethernet and is made with SFP, SFP+ and QSFP+ ports.

SRX Series Gateways

This is Juniper’s premier line of firewall hardware; these devices offer connectivity, in addition to security services. The SRX Series includes three groups: gateways for small enterprises, gateways for mid-size enterprises and gateways for data centers and service providers.

The gateways designed for small-scale enterprises have a maximum Ethernet speed of 1G.

Most of the gateways for mid-size enterprises, including the SRX1400, SRX1500, SRX3400 and SRX3600, and the SRX4100 and SRX4200 support up to 10G Ethernet. Those devices are compatible with SFP, SFP+ and XFP Juniper optics.

Although the SRX4600 is made for mid-size enterprise applications, it supports both 10G Ethernet and 100G Ethernet, so it’s designed with SFP+ and QSFP28 ports.

The Juniper SRX Series gateways designed for large-scale data centers and service providers include the SRX5400, the SRX5600 and the SRX5800. These devices support up to 100G Ethernet and the ports are determined by the I/O cards (IOC) inserted in the IOC slots.

In terms of optics, they’re some of the most flexible devices available. The IOCs for the high performing SRX devices support SFP, SFP+, QSFP, QSFP+, CFP and CFP2 Juniper optics.

BrightStar Systems is a Trusted Vendor of Pre-owned Juniper Equipment

As an experienced, independent reseller of used Juniper networking hardware, we believe it’s our job to not only offer high-quality devices at great prices, but to also make sure you’re able to make a smart, educated purchase that will help you get the most out of your network.

That’s why we’ve created this page, as well as other valuable networking hardware resource pages. But, if you have any questions related to Juniper optics compatibility that aren’t answered here, don’t hesitate to contact us, and one of our experienced sales professionals will assist you.

If you’re interested in selling pre-owned Juniper hardware, including routers, switches and gateways, or Juniper optics and cables, we also purchase used equipment in bulk from just about anywhere in the world. In fact, we’ll help you set up freight pickup for any equipment you sell us.

And don’t worry about testing your equipment to make sure it works either; we’ll do that using our rigorous testing procedure once it arrives at our facilities. We can pay you up front for your used Juniper equipment, or cut you a check once we’ve verified its in working condition.

Head to our Juniper product page to see all the pre-owned Juniper products we buy and sell. We also have Cisco and Arista pages if you’re interested in those products.