SFP Fibre Module explained

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What is an SFP Fibre Module?

The definition of an SFP Fibre module is a Small Form-factor Pluggable transceiver SFP!

A small form-factor pluggable (SFP) transceiver is known as a compact, hot-swappable, compact module that plugs into any SFP ports.

What this means is that an SFP fibre transceiver can interface between communication devices like switches and routers.

It’s role is to perform conversions between optical (fibre) and electrical signals (copper).

You can also refer to an SFP transceiver as a mini (GBIC)  gigabit interface converter because its function is the same as the GBIC transceiver.

It just has much smaller dimensions than a GBIC.





Even though there are no official standards for SFP fibre transceivers, there is what they call a multi-source agreement (MSA) among competing manufacturers. This MSA agreement allows manufacturers to produce SFP fibre transceivers that are compatible with each other which makes life much easier for you the consumer as well.

SFP compatibility with your network device is essential for faultless operation.


What are some of the benefits of an SFP Fibre Module?

–   One of the real benefits is that they are compact hot-pluggable which means you can interchange them on a wide range of products.

– Small form factor gives them additional flexibility.

  – Moderate in cost.

  – Low profile.

  – Capacity to provide a connection to single-mode fiber or multi mode fiber.

  – Ability to also provide a connection to copper cable.

  – Little electromagnetic emission.

  – Data range from a few metres to many kilometres.

  – Data rates from 10mbps to 100Gb Ethernet.

  – Effortless fit into SFP sockets in Ethernet ports on switches or routers.


An important thing to note here is that there are copper, single-mode and Multi-mode SFP modules to choose from.

So the choice of copper or fiber network equipment needs to be made from the start. You will require an SFP port cable to suit the mode chosen.

You need to match the SFP to the fibre optic cable that has been used in the link so that everything is compatible with each other.




What else do we need to know about SFP Fibre Modules?

As you can see with all the varying data ranges, data rates and fibre optic cable types there is a requirement for many different types of SFP transceivers in the marketplace.

For an example of some of the different SFP’s available in the 1G range check out this page

Most fibre‐based devices are defined by speed and protocol.  If a gigabit network switch has a fibre interface on it, and it is labelled a GBIC, it must be connected to an Ethernet device that is capable of gigabit speed as well.

The SFP transceivers typically come with an LC Duplex port but again there can be variations to this. For example; a simplex SC port or a simplex LC Port. The Simplex SFP LC module would indicate that this SFP will be working in a Bi-directional environment.

Fibre devices are normally incompatible with equipment that is designed to communicate at a different speed. What this means is that you cannot plug a 10Gb SFP into a 1GB switch, there is no way this will work.



With the SFP Fibre transceivers being hot-swappable, having high data rates and shorter distances and long distances as part of their features is there any wonder they have become so popular?