SFP Modules: A Beginners Guide

It is no doubt that the internet has gifted the world its much-needed digital eco-space. However, the curiosity of humans has added something more. Ever since its introduction in the late 90s, the word ‘internet’ has been closely associated with ‘speed’.

Today we can’t accept our data packets to go anywhere below 4G (4 Gigabytes of data packet transfer per second). However, have you ever wondered how or what makes such speedy transmission of data packets?

Thankfully, we have the answer – “fiber optics” or “optical fiber links” as most know and understand.  But there’s more than mere transfer and transmission of data at such high speeds. These networks need to connect in order to provide the seamless flow of data across them.

This is where SFP modules (Small Form-Factor Pluggable) come from. So now, we are going to look at what SFP fiber modules are and how they connect a port of a module to the optical fiber network.

What is SFP?

SFP (Small Form-Factor Pluggable) module, also known as mini GBIC, or gigabit interface converter, can be described as a re-sized transceiver module that is compact and can be easily plugged into the existing mainframe. SFP fiber modules are widely used in telecommunication and data industries as the SFP ports carry multi-functionality and allow both optical modules, as well as the copper cables, to maintain a seamless connection.

Considering its multi-support, SFP fiber modules are well-received across different business organizations as they are developed by many network component providers. Moreover, SFP transceiver modules are widely accepted due to their MSA (Multi-source Agreement) and for the fact that they are not made standard by any official body.

Besides supporting both copper and normal modules, the SFP module transceiver also supports other forms of network communications, like Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel, and SONET among other channels that work on communication standards. Moreover, thanks to its small and compact size, SFP modules have largely replaced the GBIC in most of its applications.

Different Types of SFP Modules

Similar to the internet needs of different organizations, SFP module transceivers come in different shapes and sizes, based on the requirements and different standards of classification.

To begin with, there are multimode and single-mode SFP modules, depending on the cable-type that is being used. The different types of modules allow different levels of accessibility to the businesses, allowing them to opt for the appropriate transceiver based on the demanded optical range of the given network.

Moreover, there is a wide variety of SFP modules, segregated on their transmission rate, and range between 100Mbps and 4Gbps, or even higher. Listed below are the different SFP modules, based on their transceiver and range type:

SFP Type

Transceiver Type

Distance

SFP Fiber Module

SX, EZX, BX, EX, MX, LX, ZX 

100 – 160 km 

SFP Fiber Module

DWDM/CWDM SFP

10 – 120 km

SFP Copper Module

1000BASE-T

100 metre over Copper Cable

SFP Copper Module

10/100BASE-T

100 metre over Copper Cable

SFP Copper Module

10/100/1000BASE-T

100 metre over Copper Cable

The connection distance of the SFP transceiver module can range between 500 meters and 100 kilometers. When it comes to using WDM links, one can also opt for CWDM & DWDM SFP modules as they provide similar functionality. Additionally, copper SFP module also allows seamless communications when compared to the networking cables that are present over the markets.

Usually, SFP’s over the eCommerce marketplaces usually come with ports that can be paired to the Ethernet switches, firewalls, NIC cards, and routers, allowing a seamless means to communicate without much hindrance. Moreover, SFP modules provide easy network connections, ranging from network devices to fiber or even copper network cables.

Things to Consider While Selecting Your SFP Module

When it comes to choosing SFP modules, people are generally confused with the type and requirements that they might need. However, thanks to the availability of different kinds of SFP modules, attaining your perfect requirement is no longer a mammoth task.

However, you should take a look at some points to consider at the time of choosing your third-party optical transceiver from either the commercial vendors or the ecommerce stores.

  • New SFP Module and Second-Hand SFP

Before you get on the search, make sure that you understand if you want a first or second hand SFP. Buying conditioned SFP’s saves you from the losses. But yes, make sure you test their optical power before you buy a used SFP module.

  • SFP Module Price

The availability of a wide number of vendors have given way to a number of SFP. We suggest you do a quick survey around all the products, their prices and the type of performance that these SFPs can survive.

  • Temperature Stability

Having SFPs with high temperature adjusting ability is always suggested. It is important that you consider the heat standing ability of your SFP.

Conclusion

Having the right SFP is a matter of choice and good selection. So, we recommend you go through all the possible vendors and consider the functionality of your SFP device before you finally decide to settle with one.

It is important for you to understand the functionality of the SFP before settling for one.

Josh Argenton

Josh Argenton is a well-known blogger who has been writing for the last several years. He has written blogs and articles on a wide range of topics including technology, health & beauty, sports, business, food, entertainment, home improvements and much more. His artistic background nurtures him in developing creative writing skills.