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Tunable DWDM transceivers enable users to adjust the wavelength of the transceiver according to their network demand. These transceivers help in overall cost reduction by limiting the number of transceivers. Moreover, tunable transceiver offers great flexibility as they can be can adapt to the demands of a growing network. These days 25G SFP28, 10G XFP, SFP+ tunable DWDM transceivers are readily available on the market. In this post, we are going to provide you with comprehensive information on the differences between standard and tunable DWDM modules.

Tunable Vs. Fixed-wavelength DWDM Transceivers

The above mentioned two types of transceivers are different in terms of working principle, cost, and applications.


Working Principle

Fixed-wavelength DWDM transceivers are designed to operate within the band of a specific wavelength. So, fixed type modules are preferred in scenarios where transmission through a specific wavelength is required.

In simple words, tunable optical transceivers allow you to select the color of the emitting LASER. This flexibility reduces the requirement of multiple fixed-wavelength modules.

As an example, consider an SFP+ type C21 transceiver that can be deployed to work with the C21 port on a DWDM MUX. On the other hand, a tunable SFP+ fiber module can be coupled with any port of the DQDM MUX through compatible, optical fiber cables as the wavelength of a tunable transceiver can be tuned to operate the desired wavelength.


Tunable DWDM transceivers are widely used in the data communication and networking industry. Unlike conventional or standard modules, the tunable modules are deployed in dynamic networking environments where future modifications cannot be ruled out.

Tunable transceivers are a great choice for those operating a large scale DWDM network with multiple nodes. Let’s suppose that you are using as many as 80 different wavelengths. In this case, you would require a huge stockpile of spares so to replace a faulty fixed-wavelength transceiver with a new one, promptly. Tunable transceivers are a great solution for better stock management in such cases. A single tunable transceiver can be stocked as a replacement part for almost any fixed-wavelength optical transceiver.

Types of Tunable Transceivers

There are two common types of tunable transceivers and we are going to discuss each type in the following paragraphs;

XFP Tunable Transceiver
Tunable XFP Transceivers comes with an integrated, tunable C-Band transmitter and high-performance receiver. Thus, you can configure these modules to operate over any wavelength in the 50GHz DWDM grid. With single-mode fiber, tunable types of XFP transceivers can offer links distances up to 80km.

 SFP+ Tunable Transceivers
SFP+ Tunable Transceivers are serial optical devices with full-duplex capability/ both the transmitter and receiver of these modules are contained within a single casing that offers a high-speed serial link at signaling rates between 9.95Gbps to 11.3Gbps. in terms of link distances, the SFP+ tunable transceivers are equally effective to XFP tunable transceivers.

Tunable Modules & Cost

Yes! Tunable modules do cost more than the fixed-wavelength module. However, these modules can help you in mitigating the extensive cost of spares management. As we have discussed earlier, a single tunable DWDM module can replace almost any conventional or standard DWDM module. so, these modules come at a higher upfront cost but it's going to be a wise investment for network operators.

Tunable Transceivers - Benefits

  • Extensive tuning range
  • Compatible with 100G systems
  • Better spare management
  • Software adjustable wavelength
  • Cost-effective on a long-term basis


DWDM tunable transceivers offer similar functions just like traditional DWDM transceivers. These modules are designed to operate at user-defined and user-defined wavelengths. Tunable transceivers have a higher upfront cost but they can prove to be very beneficial for high-density, large DWDM networks where tens of dozens of fixed-length transceivers are used. A single tunable transceiver.