SFP+ and XFP Transceivers: The Difference You Have to Know

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Type Of TransceiverIndustries that need to have a networking environment capable of up to 10GbE (where E stands for Ethernet) can choose between two types of transceivers: the SFP+ and the XFP.

Understanding how they differ from each other will help you invest in the most appropriate module for all your networking requirements.

What is SFP+ module in the first place?

SFP+ transceivers are basically the more innovative and advanced form of the small form-factor pluggable devices. SFP+ modules, such as those manufactured by Cisco, can support 6.5 to 8 Gbit/s Fiber Channel. They also have SFP+ transceivers best applicable for 10 GB Ethernet as well as Optical Transport Network standard OTU2 applications.

Compared to XFP, SFP+ transceivers have a design that allows them to leave a greater amount of circuitry that the host board can implement rather than leaving the task for the module’s interior to handle.

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Based on your requirements, you have two options: a limiting or a linear module. When your operations require linear, check out the Cisco SFP-10G-LRM datasheet, as these modules are best for linear modules.

How about XFP?

Protocol-reliant and hot-swappable, XFP transceivers usually in wavelengths almost like infrared (colors of 850 nm, 1310 nm or 1550 nm). Apart from its use for 10GbE applications, you can also use them for 10 Gbit/s Fiber Channel, 10 Gbit/s Optical Transport Network (OTN) OTU-2, and parallel optics links among several other applications.

Primary distinguishing features and advantages of SFP+ from XFP

First off is size. SFP+ modules have a smaller size compared to XFP. SFP+ is now also the industry’s standard design for transceivers. And while it comes in a more compact form factor package, you can still connect it with the same type various other transceivers, including XFP, X2, and even XENPA. Lastly, the overall cost, including installation and maintenance, is much lower than XFP.

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Although SFP+ and XFP modules have their own sets of benefits, clearly, the former outweighs the latter.