The word SFP is an IT industry term which stands for Small Form Factor Pluggable. An SFP is a variety of Optical Transceiver, which is designed to convert serial electric signals into serial optical signals. SFP modules are typically inserted into a network switch in order to connect a Fiber Optic system with an Ethernet system. The most common applications where SFP modules are used include Fibre Channel and Gigabit Ethernet.
Industry specifications for the SFP transceiver have been standardized by an agreement called the MSA or Multi Source Agreement between competing manufacturers. The MSA guarantees inter-compatibility between vendor products. The SFP was designed as a predecessor to the GBIC interface, and supports a greater number of transceivers per inch than the GBIC, which is why the SFP is also known as Mini GBIC.
SFP transceivers can be acquired with a variety of receiver and transmitter types. Users can choose the appropriate SFP transceiver for each Fiber Optic link they are deploying to provide the required reach depending on the type of optical fiber they are using (i.e Multi Mode or Single Mode Fiber). SFP transceivers are available in several different categories including 850 nm 550m MMF (SX), 1310 nm 10 km SMF (LX), 80 km (ZX), 120 km (EX or EZX), CWDM and DWDM. SFP transceivers are also available with a copper cable interface to connect to unshielded twisted pair networking cable.