In the past, because of low cost and compatibility with existing LANs, 100Mb/s Ethernet was very popular. As people’s increasing demands for faster delivery of information, high bandwidth Ethernet LAN is evolving. 1000BASE (1 Gbps Gigabit Ethernet) came around and brought Ethernet technology to a new stage. Gigabit Ethernet, as the new networking techology was a viable solution for increased bandwidth requirements. Early implementation of the technology will be in high-speed backbones and specialized workgroups. The initial standards of 1000BASE were created and maintained by the 802.3z working group of the IEEE LAN-MAN Standards Committee in June 1998.
Now that 1000Mb/s Ethernet has been applied generally, the corresponding equipment like the cable and transceiver are needed to make the network the most effective.
Before 2000, SFP optical transceiver module combines transmit and receive functions in a compact, low power, low cost package format. Now it’s widely applied in Fibre Channel, Gigabit Ethernet (GbE), and SONET/SDH and supports data rates between 125 Mb/s and 4 Gb/s. Later some manufacturers make SFP ports with copper transceivers. The copper small form factor pluggable (SFP) transceiver can maintain both configuration flexibility and high port utilization with low cost for optical networks. Due to these advantages, the need for copper SFP transceivers increases obviously.
Configuration Flexibility with High Port-level
When there is no copper transceiver, users who want to support Ethernet traffic over both copper and fiber should offer two different line cards dedicated to one media or the other or, alternatively, hybrid cards with a fixed number of copper ports and optical cages. But this way is not very efficient because the available ports for each type of media rarely matched the network’s constantly evolving topologies.
In today’s network environments, systems must deal with the ongoing convergence of data, voice, and video traffic as well as topologies that mix Internet Protocol (IP) with legacy PDH traffic and integrate specialized requirements such as Fibre Channel or ATM. As GbE switches, routers, and multi-service provisioning platforms (MSPPs), for example, must provide port-level flexibility for handling both fiber and copper interfaces, thus copper SFP transceiver becomes the best way to optimize port-level flexibility.
A Cisco copper SFP and an optical SFP provide exactly the same physical and electrical interface for any port on the line card. This just needs a single line card design that can handle the entire spectrum of copper and fiber connections. The port utilization copper SFP transceiver can more efficiently to accommodate the changing network requirements.
The traditional dedicated line card approach increases inventory costs because it has low level of field reconfiguration. Copper SFP transceiver and a common line card design for all ports clearly reduce the inventory costs as well as complete the copper to fiber reconfiguration.
All in all, copper SFP transceiver has the advantages such as increased port density, improved system utilization, and low overall costs. Copper SFP transceiver offers users a level of flexibility that did not exist before. So Copper SFP transceiver will still gain its popularity.