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Why are SFP+ transceivers so popular

The small form-factor pluggable modules are the most popular family of fiber optic transceivers. SFP+ transceivers are used in almost all fiber optic networks. The main reason for using fiber optic cable in campus networks is the distance limitation of unshielded copper cables. The advantages of SFP+ transceivers are outlined below, these advantages are the basis of the extensive popularity of the SFP+ transceivers.

  • Size and dimensions
  • Maximum link length
  • Operability with single-mode and multi-mode fiber optic cable
  • Pay-As-You-Grow model
  • Hot swappable
  • Protocol Independence
  • Backwards compatibility

Let us discuss the above mentioned advantages of SFP+ transceivers in detail.

Size and Dimensions of SFP+ Transceivers

SFP+ transceivers are the smallest industry-standard form-factor available in the market that supports 10 Gbps Ethernet. SFP+ transceivers are almost half the size of the older GBIC transceivers. The small size of the SFP+ transceiver results in higher port density per switch and increases the overall efficiency of any data network. In the latest network switches, the port density can be as high as 48 SFP+ ports in a 1 rack unit (1 RU) configuration. The small size of the SFP+ transceivers is the main reason for their popularity.

SFP+ Transceiver Link Length

Fiber optic cable is used in networks where the distance between two connecting end points increases the maximum supported distance by the copper cables. For 10 Gbps networks, copper cables have very limited reach. The maximum link length that can be achieved by using copper cables is 10~15 meters. SFP+ transceivers provide the opportunity to extend this distance considerably. Single-mode fiber optic cable can be used for a link length of up to 80 kilometers and multi-mode fiber optic cable can be used for a link length of up to 400 meters. This long distance reach enables to achieve higher bandwidths in a large-area network and is also a considerable factor in the popularity of SFP+ transceivers.

SFP+ Compatibility with Single-Mode and Multi-Mode Fiber Optic Cables

SFP+ transceivers help in cost optimization and maximum budget utilization in any organization. SFP+ transceivers can be procured as and when needed. SFP+ transceivers can be installed in the already available SFP+ sockets available in the communication equipment. Additional links can be established with ease and the hassle to procure new equipment altogether is greatly reduced. The cost is also optimized by procuring that much SFP+ transceivers which are required for the network rather than having a 48-port switch and utilizing just 4~6 ports in it. This feature of the SFP+ transceivers is an excellent advantage for IT managers across the world.

Hot Swappable

SFP+ transceivers are hot swappable transceivers, they are plug-and-play devices that require no configuration on the equipment. SFP+ transceivers can be easily removed and installed without switching off the equipment. This helps in avoiding the network down-time.

Protocol Independence

SFP+ transceivers are physical layer devices, hence they are independent of the network protocol being used to transfer and receive the data packets. The main functionality of SFP+ transceivers is to convert the electrical signals to optical signals and vice versa. The protocol working at the link layer and network layer of the OSI model takes care of packet encapsulation. This feature brings the ease of mind in selecting the SFP+ transceivers regardless of the protocol.

Backwards Compatibility

SFP+ is fully backwards compatible. 1 Gbps SFP transceiver can be installed in the SFP+ socket in the communication equipment. Thus if the far-end equipment doesn’t support 10 Gbps Ethernet, the SFP+ port can be still used with an SFP transceiver installed in it. This enables the network administrators to go for 10 Gbps switches and install the appropriate transceivers as per the network requirement.

Summary

To summarize the above mentioned benefits of using the SFP+ transceivers, we can safely comment that they provide various added advantages over the other classes of transceivers. SFP+ transceivers are so popular because of their small size, high bandwidth, scalability, protocol independence and backwards compatibility.