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What Kind of Switches and Patch Cables Should I Choose for SFP Transceiver?

Gigabit Ethernet has supplanted Fast Ethernet in wired local networks and becomes ubiquitous throughout the world, serving as one of the most prevalent enterprise communication standard. The Gigabit Ethernet standard supports a maximum data rate of 1 gigabit per second (Gbps)(1000 Mbps), 10 times faster than Fast Ethernet, yet is compatible with existing Ethernet. To link your switches and routers to a Gigabit Ethernet network, you need a Gigabit Ethernet transceiver as a transmission medium. This article intends to introduce the most commonly used one—SFP transceivers.


What Is SFP Transceiver?

SFP, short for small form-factor pluggable is a compact, hot-pluggable transceiver used for both telecommunication and data communications applications. SFP transceiver can be regarded as the upgrade version of GBIC module. Unlike GBIC with SC fiber optic interface, SFP module is with LC interface and the main body size of SFP is only about half of GBIC so that it can save more space. SFP interfaces a network device mother board (for a router, switch, media converter or similar devices) to a fiber optic or copper networking cable. It is designed to support SONET, Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel, and other communications standards.

Types & Applications of SFP transceivers

SFP transceivers are available with various transmitter and receiver types, which facilitates users to select the appropriate optical transceiver for different optical reach and optical fiber type (single-mode fiber or multimode fiber) required by different link. SFP transceiver modules can be divided into several different categories:

Types Transmission Medium Wavelength Distance
1000BASE-T SFP Twisted-pair cabling / 100 m
1000BASE-SX SFP Multimode fiber 770-860 nm OM1-275 m/OM2-550 m
1000BASE-LX/LH SFP SMF & MMF 1270-1355 nm MMF-550 m/SMF-5 km
1000BASE-ZX SFP Single mode fiber 1550 nm 70 km
1000BASE-EX SFP Single mode fiber 1310 nm 40 km
1000BASE-BX10 SFP Single mode fiber 1480-1500 nm downstream, 1260-1,360 nm upstream 10 km
CWDM and DWDM SFP Single optical fiber various wavelengths various maximum distances

SFP transceivers are found in Ethernet switches, routers, firewalls and network interface cards. Storage interface cards, also called HBAs or Fibre Channel storage switches, also make use of these modules. Because of their low cost, low profile, and ability to provide a connection to different types of optical fiber, SFP transceiver provides such equipment with enhanced flexibility.

FS.COM Compatible SFP Transceivers for Popular Switches

FS.COM offers a full range of SFP transceivers compatible with major brands, such as Cisco, Juniper, Arista, Brocade, HPE, etc. All of these cost-effective compatible SFPs have been strictly tested to make sure 100% compatibility. The table below listed a small part of compatible SFPs supported on major branded switches.

Brand Switch Series Model Port Description
Cisco Catalyst 6500 Series WS-SUP720-3BXL 2 SFP Port
VS-S720-10G-3C 4 SFP Port
WS-X6724-SFP 24 SFP Port
Nexus 9000 Series N9K-C9396PX 48 SFP Port
IE3010 Series IE-3010-24TC 2 SFP Port
ASR 9000 Series Router A9K-MPA-20X1GE 20 SFP Port
Juniper EX 4200 Series EX4200-24T 2 SFP Port
EX4200-48T 4 SFP Port
EX4200-24T-DC 2 SFP Port
MX480 Router MX480 Router 4 SFP Port
SRX Series SRX210 1 SFP Port (Option)
QFX 5100 QFX5100-48S 48 SFP Port
Arista 7500 Series DCS-7504 48 SFP Port (Option)
DCS-7508 48 SFP Port (Option)
7050SX Series 7050SX-64 48 SFP Port
7100 Series DCS-7124S 24 SFP Port
Brocade VDX 6720 BR-VDX6720-16-R 16 SFP Port
BR-VDX6720-24-F 24 SFP Port
BR-VDX6720-40-F 40 SFP Port
SX Series SX-424F 24 SFP Port
SX-FI12GM-4-PREM 12 SFP Port
Brocade BI-RX-8 NI-MLX-1Gx20-SFP 20 SFP Port
HPE ProCurve 5400zl Series J8697A 2 SFP Port
J9548A 144 SFP Port
FlexFabric 5800 Series JC101B 4 SFP Port
JG225B 6 SFP Port
5400R zl2 Series J9584A 24 SFP Port
StorageWorks edge 2/12 348406-B21 12 SFP Port

FS.COM Patch Cables for SFP Transceivers

FS.COM offers comprehensive fiber patch cables for common and special types of SFPs, including singlemode & multimode, simplex & duplex, UPC & APC, lengths from 1 meter to 30 meters in large stocks. We also provides Cat 5e patch cables for 10/100/1000BASE-T SFPs.

Fiber Mode Connector Jacket
9/125 SMF LC Simplex PVC/LSZH
9/125 SMF SC Simplex PVC/LSZH
50/125 OM2 LC Duplex PVC/LSZH
62.5/125 OM1 LC Duplex PVC
Cat5e Patch Cables Max Distance Data Rate
Unshielded (UTP) 100m 1000Mbps
Shielded (FTP) 100m 1000Mbps


This article offers switch and fiber patch cabling solution for SFP transceivers. Besides the major brands mentioned above, we also provide SFP transceivers compatible with other brands, such as Dell, Extreme, H3C, Huawei, Intel, IBM, Netgear, Ciena, D-Link, Avago, and so on. As to special requirements, please contact Sales@fs.com for suggestion.

ABCs of Optical Switch

Optical networking technology has solved the problem of increasing demand for higher transfer data rates and larger bandwidths. In optical network, optical fiber is the fundamental medium of transmission. However, switching, signaling and processing functions are accomplished electronically. So optical switches are naturally developed. Optical switches are widely used for optical protection, test systems (as shown in the following figure), and remotely reconfigurable add-drop multiplexers, etc.


Figure 1. Switch for FS.COM transceiver compatibility test

Two Types of Optical Switches

An optical switch is simply a switch which accepts a photonic signal at one of its ports and send it out through another port based on the routing decision made. There are two kinds of optical switches, including O-E-O (optical–electrical–optical) and the O-O-O (optical–optical–optical) also called all optical switch. OEO switch requires the analogue light signal first converted to a digital form to be processed and routed before being converted back to an analogue light signal. While OOO switching is done purely through photonic means.

oeo and ooo

Advantages of Optical Switches

Compared with electrical switches, optical switches have many advantages.

On one hand, optical switches can save floor space and power consumption significantly. They can save up to 92 percent space and 96 percent power. If translating power savings into cost, it means 3 kw can be reduced for each rack. This can save the carrier from expensive diesel power generators, rectifiers and batteries, the monthly maintenance costs for these devices and the purchasing and maintenance of cooling equipment for these devices.

On the other hand, optical switches are a lot more scalable and faster than electric switches, as all-optical switches are protocol and bit rate independent. Because of the scalability and flexibility all-optical switches have, so transfer rates will not be affected bit rate limitations of switching equipment.

Problems of Optical Switches

Despite those advantages, optical switches still have some problems.

Current optical switching technology can’t realize the technology that photonic signals can be as stored as easily as electrical signals. It is possible to store them using fiber delay lines, as light take a certain time to travel through lengths fiber (200,000 km per second in silica). That means a 10000 bit frame traveling at 10G b/s requires 200m of fiber. This is both expensive and impractical. And once a signal is put through a delay line, it cannot be processed until it comes back out. A solution to this is through adding switches within the lines, but that needs more costs.

The other problem with all – optical switching is that it cannot process header information of packets, especially at such high speed which the signals travel at. The maximum speed electronic routers currently can operate is at 10 Gb/s while optical signals can travel up to 40/100G or even higher. Thus, the routers will not be able to process the signals as fast as the transmission.

Applications of Optical Switches

Optical switches are widely applied in the network.

First, optical switches are used in high speed network which requires very high switching speeds and also requires very large switches to handle the amount of traffic. So switches are likely used within optical cross-connects (OXC). OXC are similar to electronic routers which forward data using switches. An OXC may contain a whole series of optical switches.

Second, optical switches are used for switching protection. If a fiber fails, the switch allows the signal to be rerouted to another fiber before the problem occurs. But this will take milliseconds including detecting the failure, informing the network and switching. Normally this operation requires a 1×2 switch but with complicated cross-connects hundreds may be required.

Third, optical switches can be also used for external modulators, OADM (optical add-drop multiplexers), network monitors and fiber optic component testing.


As the demand for video and audio increasing the challenge of data capabilities and high bandwidth of networks, optical network is absolutely the most cost-effective solution. Optical switches can provide the customers with significant power, space and cost savings. Today, the optical switch market is dominated by several companies, such as Cisco, HP, Arista, Juniper. In early days, original optical transceivers were required to be plugged into these switches. Later, to save the cost, third-party optical transceivers were produced. If you need optical transceivers compliant with these switches, please visit FS.COM.