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Can the 10G SFP+ RJ45 Copper Transceiver be a Game Changer in 10GBASE-T?

Right from the unveiling of the, then, new IEEE standard for 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GbE), mostly known as IEEE Standard 802.3ae, large corporations started preparing their network infrastructures for the much needed performance boost and almost immediately they started deploying the new standard in their backbones, Datacenters, and server farms with a single and very important goal at their mind, to evolve their network and make it capable of supporting the growing number and demand of business and mission-critical applications. Today we can safely say that the 10GbE standard evolved in a main competitor when it comes to achieving a reliable, affordable, and simple network architecture.

Even though the 10GbE standard is significantly cheaper to deploy today than when it first came up, many leading corporations are still trying to find a way to reduce costs while gaining performance. Mainly they focus their attention on the copper part of the 10GbE and rely on the proven characteristics of copper transceivers in the past couple of years.

When it comes to transceiver and cabling options, 10GbE has you covered in every single aspect of your network. It can work with either copper of fiber solutions and it offers a wide range of distances for your convenience. With the latest trends in the networking world and the noticeable improving switching technologies, copper solutions are gaining speed and popularity. Currently the most important 10GbE copper technologies are shown in the table below:

Medientyp

Maximale Distanz

Durchschnittliche Latenzzeit

SFP+

30 Meter

0.1 µs

CX4

15 Meter

0.1 µs

10GBase-T

100 Meter

>1 µs


The 10GBase-CX4 is the first ever 10GbE copper standard introduced in 2004. Even though it offered low latency for a very low cost, the main disadvantage was its unusually large form factor which was causing high density configurations to be almost impossible.

The CX4 standard has now been replaced with the latest SFP+ standard. This standard offers the same latency characteristics, over longer distances. Together with the small form factor these characteristics make it one of the favorite transceivers used in today’s demanding networks.

The 10GBase SFP+ copper transceiver has been developed for greatness. It offers a high performance bi-directional communication over the cheaper and widely deployed standard twisted pair copper cables. In order to achieve the maximum performance, the use of Cat 6a or Cat 7 copper cable is a must. One of the crucial points in its advantage is the low power consumption. When properly deployed and maintained the SFP+ copper transceiver can save 0.5W per port compared to an embedded 10GBASE-T RJ45 port. This is especially noticeable with distances up to 30 meters. In addition with the base of its technology being the copper, you can worry no more for any performance loss if the cable is not positioned straight.

When planning your network infrastructure it is important to make sure that the physical infrastructure will support future application needs, and future technology developments. This is proving to be the main challenge of 10GbE copper transceivers even though they use the traditional RJ45 connector which is the most widely used and known connector in the world. However new dynamics in Datacenters and Service Providers mandate that the cable infrastructure handles latency sensitive applications anywhere in the network architecture. This leaves the impression that when comparing 10GBase-T technology with the alternative SFP+ technology, it is evident that SFP+ is the right technology to choose to ensure optimal performance with lowest latency in the Datacenter and will for sure become the leading transceiver to use when deploying a high performance network architecture.