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What Is The Difference: SFP vs SFP+

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As we know, a SFP module just looks the same as the SFP+ module. And most switches can both support SFP module and SFP+ module. So, do these two modules really refer to the same one? What’s the difference between SFP vs SFP+?

SFP vs SFP+

SFP vs SFP+: SFP Definition
SFP stands for Small Form-factor Pluggable. It is a hot-pluggable transceiver that plugs into the SFP port of a network switch and supports SONET, Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel, and other communications standards. SFP specifications are based on IEEE802.3 and SFF-8472. They are capable of supporting speeds up to 4.25 Gbps. Due to its smaller size, SFP replaces the formerly common gigabit interface converter (GBIC). Therefore SFP is also called Mini-GBIC. By choosing different SFP module, the same electrical port on the switch can connect to different fiber types (multimode or single-mode) and different wavelengths.

SFP module Cisco

SFP vs SFP+: SFP+ Definition
Since SFP supports only up to 4.25 Gbps, SFP+ that supports data rates up to 16 Gbps was later introduced. In fact, SFP+ is an enhanced version of the SFP. The SFP+ specifications are based on SFF-8431. In today’s most applications, SFP+ module usually supports 8 Gbit/s Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Optical Transport Network standard OTU2. In comparison to earlier 10 Gigabit Ethernet XENPAK or XFP modules, SFP+ module is smaller and becomes the most popular 10 Gigabit Ethernet module in the market.

SFP+ module Cisco

SFP vs SFP+
Review the SFP and SFP+ definition mentioned above, we can know that the main difference between SFP and SFP+ is the data rate. And due to different data rate, the applications and transmission distance is also different.

Ethernet Application

SFP (1Gbps) SFP+ (10Gbps)
1000BASE-SX SFP 850nm 550m

1000BASE-LX/LH SFP 1310nm 20km

1000BASE-EX SFP 1310nm 40km

1000BASE-ZX SFP 1550nm 80km

10GBASE-SR SFP+ 850nm 300m

10GBASE-LRM SFP+ 1310nm 220m

10GBASE-LR SFP+ 1310nm 10km

10GBASE-ER SFP+ 1550nm 40km

10GBASE-ZR SFP+ 1550nm 100km

Fiber Channel Application

SFP (2G, 4G) SFP+ (8G)
2.125Gbps:

2G Fibre Channel SFP 1310nm 2km/15km/20km/40km

2G Fibre Channel SFP 1510nm 80km

4.25Gbps:

4G Fibre Channel SFP 850nm 150m

4G Fibre Channel SFP 1310nm 5km/10km/15km/20km

8.5Gbps:

8G Fibre Channel SFP+ 850nm 150m

8G Fibre Channel SFP+ 1310mn 10km/20km/40km

8G Fibre Channel SFP+ 1510nm 80km

SONET/SDH Application

SFP (155Mbps, 622Mbps, 2.5Gbps) SFP+ (10G)
155Mbps:

OC-3/STM-1 1310nm 2km/15km/40km

OC-3/STM-1 1510nm 80km

622Mbps:

OC-12/STM-4 1310nm 500m/2km/15km/40km

OC-12/STM-4 1510nm 80km

2.5Gbps:

OC-48/STM-16 1310nm 2km/15km/40km

OC-48/STM-16 1510nm 80km

OC-192/STM-64 850nm 300m

OC-192/STM-64 1310nm 2km/10km/20km/40km

OC-192/STM-64 1510nm 80km

As we’ve explained the difference of SFP vs SFP+. Usually, SFP module plugs into SFP port of the switch and SFP+ module plugs into SFP+ port of the switch. But, sometimes SFP module can also be plugged into SFP+ port. Which SFP or SFP+ module should you choose all depends on your switch types. Fiberstore is a reliable SFP transceiver module manufactures, all SFP module and SFP+ module types are available in FS.COM. Besides, SFP+ cable is also provided. What’s more, the price of SFP module and SFP+ module is lower than many other manufactures. SFP test is strict in FS.COM. Matching fiber patch cable is also available.

Related Article: Compatible SFPs for Ubiquiti EdgeSwitch and UniFi switch

Related Article: SFP Module: What’s It and How to Choose It?

Related Article: Understanding Video SFP Transceivers

Three Types Physical Media Systems For 10 Gigabit Ethernet

Overview

Dramatic growth in data center throughput has led to the increasing usage and demand for higher-performance servers, storage and interconnects. As a result, we are seeing the expansion of higher speed Ethernet solutions, specifically 10 and 40 gigabit Ethernet. This text will take an overview of 10 gigabit ethernet as well as introducing some common 10-gigabit physical media systems: fiber optic media systems, DAC cable media systems and twisted-pair media systems.

Introduction of 10 Gigabit Ethernet

10 Gigabit Ethernet is a group of computer networking technologies for transmitting Ethernet frames at a rate of 10 gigabits per second. It was first defined by the IEEE 802.3ae-2002 standard. Unlike previous Ethernet standards, 10 Gigabit Ethernet defines only full duplex point-to-point links which are generally connected by network switches. Like previous versions of Ethernet, 10GbE can use either copper or fiber cabling. However, the 10 Gigabit Ethernet standard encompasses a number of different physical layer (PHY) standards. A networking device may have different PHY types through pluggable PHY modules, such as those based on XENPAK, XFP and SFP+.

Classification of 10 Gigabit Ethernet

When comes to 10 gigabit Ethernet (10GbE), IT managers are now faced with the challenge of selecting the appropriate 10-gigabit physical media. Broadly, this media is usually offered in the following three categories:

10 Gigabit Ethernet Fiber Optic Media Systems Solution

There are two classifications for optical fiber: single-mode (SMF) and multimode (MMF). SMF is used for long distance communication and MMF is used for distances of less than 300 m. There are also active optical cables (AOC). These have the optical electronics already connected eliminating the connectors between the cable and the optical module. They plug into standard optical module sockets. They are lower cost than other optical solutions because the manufacturer can match the electronics to the required length and type of cable. AOC Cable provides very short distance (same shelf) inexpensive connectivity at 10G rates between two 10G data ports. The following picture shows the SFP+ active optical cables (AOC):

SFP-10G-AOC3M

NOTE: Dramatically reducing 10G interconnectivity costs, the 10G cables can provide inexpensive and reliable 10G speed connections using either copper cables with distances reaching up to 15 meters or active optical cables reaching even 100 meters.

10 Gigabit Ethernet Copper Direct Attach Cable Media Systems (10GSFP+Cu) Solution

SFP+ direct attach cable (DAC), also known as 10GSFP+Cu, is a copper 10GBASE Twinax Cable which comes in either an active or passive twinax cable assembly and connects directly into an SFP+ housing. SFP+ direct attach cable has a fixed-length cable, typically 1 to 7 m (passive cables) or up to 15 m (active cables) in length. And like 10GBASE-CX4, is low-power, low-cost and low-latency with the added advantages of using less bulky cables and of having the small form factor of SFP+. Besides, SFP+ direct attached Twinax copper today is tremendously popular, with more ports installed than 10GBASE-SR. The following picture shows the SFP+ passive direct attach cable(DAC):

passive SFP+ cable

10 Gigabit Ethernet Twisted-Pair Media Systems (10GBASE-T) Solution

10GBASE-T is a standard released in 2006 to provide 10 Gbit/s connections over unshielded or shielded twisted pair cables, over distances up to 100 metres. 10GBASE-T cable solution can also be used for 1000BASE-T allowing a gradual upgrade from 1000BASE-T using auto negotiation to select which speed to use. 10GBASE-T uses the IEC 60603-7 8P8C (commonly known as RJ45) connectors already widely used with Ethernet. Transmission characteristics are now specified to 500 MHz. To reach this frequency Category 6A or better balanced twisted pair cables are needed to carry 10GBASE-T up to distances of 100m. The following picture shows the Category 6A cable:

Cat 6a cable for 10 gigabit ethernet