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IIn today’s networking world and technology the demand for higher speeds and lower cost is increasing. The leading networking equipment vendors are working on producing the future components of networking. They are mainly concentrating on the Fiber Optic Solutions that are driving the leading Service Providers and Datacenters in the world. Because of increasing data traffic from day to day the need for stable, fast and scalable network architecture has become essential.

How optical transceivers work

One of the main parts of a high performance and stable Optical Network Architecture are the transceivers. They are essential to the Optical Network Architecture because they are the components that are transmitting and converting the optical light down the cable. They are made to transmit light on one end of the cable and receive light on the other end of the cable. Most commonly these transceivers operate in transmitting light on one optical fiber and receiving light on another fiber for duplex operation. However this operation is happening in the same compact module. The transceiver converts the electrical input and converts it into optical light and then sends it down the optical cable with the help of laser transmitters or LEDs. On the other side the receiver converts the optical light into electrical input.

What are the main components of optical transceivers?

The components that are in charge of driving the light through the optical cable are also called light sources for Fiber Optic transceivers. The most commonly used light sources are LEDs and VCSELs (vertical cavity surface-emitting lasers). Even though they have the same purpose of converting electrical signals into optical light and vice-versa, they are very different in their functioning. They are in fact small semiconductor chips and they are emitting light from the surface of the chip.

LED as Light Source in Optical transceivers

LEDs have limited bandwidth and distance and they have less power than the VCSELs mainly because of their larger core. Because of their larger core they emit a very broad spectral light which then suffer from chromatic dispersion in the fiber itself. Because of this they are limited for use only in Multi- mode Fibers.

VCSEL as Light Source in Optical transceivers

VCSELs on the other hand have a smaller core that emits a tighter light that doesn’t suffer from chromatic dispersion which makes them optimal for use with Single-mode Fibers. The manufacturing process of these two types is fairly similar. However manufacturing VCSELs is more expensive because of the difficulty to create the laser cavity inside of the component itself. While manufacturing the VCSELs the chip must be separated from the semiconductor wafer and each end has to be coated before the laser can be tested.

Form Factors of Optical Transceiver Modules

transceivers are divided in a couple of form factors that come in fairly similar standardized package, but they are fundamentally different in their functioning and characteristics.

All CBO BlueOptics© transceivers are manufactured by the highest industry standards. Their internal components are manufactured by the industry leading manufacturers for optical equipment like Maxim Integrated, Avago and Mitsubishi Electric for optical lasers and NTT Electronic and others for integrated circuits. CBO BlueOptics transceivers can be made compatible to network equipment of over a hundred vendors including the leading network equipment manufacturers Cisco, HP, Juniper and IBM. They have a 5 year warranty and a lifetime support for any issues that may come along the way. CBO BlueOptics transceivers are designed for transmission speeds of up to 100GB/s and cover a distance up to 2 Kilometers for Multi-mode Fibers and 160 Kilometers for Single-mode Fibers. All CBO BlueOptics transceivers are capable of giving out the maximum performance even in the harshest parts of the world. They can function properly in temperature ranges from -40°C to +85°C.

BlueOptics transceivers are available in several form factors:

Let’s have a more detailed look at their characteristics:

SFP Transceiver

SFP Transceivers

SFP or Small Factor Pluggable Transceiver is a small and compact optical transceiver engineered for providing reliable optical connection for network speeds from 100Mb/s up to 4GB/s. These transceivers offer easier troubleshooting and maintenance through the optional Digital Diagnostics Monitoring (DDM) / Digital Optical Monitoring (DOM) interface. This interface offers a real-time monitoring options for monitoring the Laser Bias Current, the Supply Voltage and the Laser Power and Temperature. CBO BlueOptics SFP transceivers are designed for a long life operation with approximately 3.000.000 MTBF hours. CBO BlueOptics SFP transceivers are available as Duplex, Copper, BIDI, CWDM, DWDM and CWDM BIDI variants.

SFP+ Transceivers

SFP+ is an enhanced version of the SFP transceiver capable for network speeds up to 10GB/s. Although the SFP+ official documentation doesn’t mention using it for 16GB/s data rates, experience shows that SFP+ supports 16GB/s data rates for fibre channel applications. SFP+ modules use amplifier to re-shape the degraded received optical light. SFP+ solutions are also available for the connection of two SFP+ ports with the help of Direct Attach Cables. CBO BlueOptics SFP+ transceivers are available as Duplex, BIDI, Copper, CWDM and DWDM variant.

SFP+ Transceiver

cSFP Transceiver

cSFP Transceivers

The cSFP Transceiver is another version of the popular SFP transceiver that offers two independent bidirectional channels per port. It is most commonly used to decrease the fiber usage.

SFP28 Transceivers

SFP28 is another version of the SFP module designed for network speeds up to 25GB/s. They are suitable for use in the optical windows of 850nm or 1310nm. Most commonly they also transmit and receive light through one optical fiber and also have a Duplex connector. They also provide the Digital Diagnostics Monitoring (DDM) / Digital Optical Monitoring (DOM) interface for easier troubleshooting. This type of transceiver is commonly implemented with 4 data lanes each of 25GB/s for reaching 100GB/s solution.

SFP28 Transceiver

QSFP Transceiver

QSFP Transceivers

QSFP or the Quad Small Form-Factor Pluggable is a transceiver that provides speeds from 40GB/s up to 56GB/s. These transceivers are mainly used in Data Center environments and provide high performance computing networks. They use the 40GBASE technology defined in the IEEE 802.3bm standard where single-mode versions transmit via WDM over the wavelengths 1271nm, 1291nm, 1311nm and 1331nm. The connection takes place via a LC duplex connection. Multimode versions transmit 4x 850nm signals over a parallel optical MPO / MTP Connector.

QSFP28 Transceivers

QSFP28 transceivers are used mainly to provide 100GB/s Ethernet solutions. These transceivers are also available as Direct Attach Cable Solution. Besides the Multimode Type this transceiver also is available with the capability of reaching the mark of 10 kilometers distance with the help of G.652 fiber link for 100G links..

QSFP28 Transceiver

CFP Transceiver

CFP Transceivers

The CBO BlueOptics CFP transceiver is designed for long range 100GB/s Ethernet connections over a Single-mode fiber cable. However it can also support one or more 40GB/s links. This CFP module and its specifications have been developed in the time when the 10GB Ethernet solutions were more frequent than the faster ones. Today this transceiver has been swapped with the CFP2 and CFP4 specifications.

CFP2 Transceivers

CFP2 transceivers are also designed for long range Single-mode fibers connectivity. They have Duplex connectors. CFP2 are smaller in size than the CFP transceivers but both are constructed in metal containers. Like the original CFP developed and the CFP4, CFP2 transceivers are not interchangeable.

CFP2 Transceiver

CFP4 Transceiver

CFP4 Transceivers

CFP4 transceivers are the most modern C-Form-Factor Pluggable (CFP) transceivers. They are the smallest of all the CFP transceivers which makes them easier to handle and install. They also come with a Duplex connector and can reach distances of up to 10 kilometers.

X2 Transceivers

X2 transceivers are a standardized type of transceivers used mainly in the elder 10GB Ethernet solutions. They can be used both in Ethernet and Fiber Channel versions and are used in Datacenter environments rather than Service Provider environments. They come in Duplex, BIDI, CWDM and DWDM variants.

X2 Transceiver

XFP Transceiver

XENPAK Transceivers

XENPAK transceivers come with Duplex, CWDM and DWDM connectors. They are the predecessor of the X2 and bigger than the X2 transceivers in size. They also provide speeds from 1GB/s up to 10GB/s with Multi- or Single-mode Fibers.

XFP Transceivers

The XFP Transceiver is the predecessor of the SFP+ transceiver and has been developed in the year 2002. It is a slightly larger in size than the Small Form-Factor Pluggable transceivers. They are hot swappable and are available as Duplex, BIDI, CWDM and DWDM variant. They are protocol independent and multirate capable for data rates of up to 11.3 Gigabit per second. Most commonly they operate with 10 Gigabit at 850nm, 1310nm or 1550nm wavelengths.

XFP Transceiver

GBIC Transceiver

GBIC Transceivers

GBIC stands for Gigabit Interface Converter and is most commonly used before the SFP transceiver for speeds from 100MB/s up to 4GB/s. It can operate with Copper, Single-mode or Multi- mode Fibers. It comes with Duplex, CWDM, DWDM and Copper connectors.


All CBO BlueOptics transceivers are developed by the latest standards and they are fully MSA compliant. The MSA standard is a Multi-Source Agreement under which the various manufacturers of networking equipment determine the standardizations of their transceivers. All CBO BlueOptics transceivers also meet the latest industrial standards CE and RoHS. This guarantees for steady and constant quality of each CBO BlueOptics component manufactured. All CBO BlueOptics transceivers are capable for the Digital Diagnostics Monitoring (DDM) / Digital Optical Monitoring (DOM) interface for easier troubleshooting and maintenance. Choosing wisely the correct Transceiver and reducing costs at the same time is the optimal recipe for future network growth.