SFP – Small Form-Factor Pluggable Module
SFP, small form-factor pluggable for short, is a compact, hot-pluggable transceiver module used for both telecommunication and data communications applications. SFP transceiver can be regarded as the upgrade version of GBIC module. SFP most often used for Fast Ethernet of Gigabit Ethernet applications. They are efficiently supporting speeds up to 4.25 Gbps.
The SFP transceiver is not standardized by any official standards body, but rather is specified by a multi-source agreement (MSA) among competing manufacturers.
SFP + – Small Form-Factor Pluggable Module
SFP+ is an enhanced version of the SFP that supports data rates up to 16 Gbps. SFP+ supports 8 Gbit/s Fibre Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Optical Transport Network standard OTU2. It is a popular industry format supported by many network component vendors. Although the SFP+ standard does not include mention of 16G Fibre Channel it can be used at this speed. Besides the data rate, the big difference between 8G Fibre Channel and 16G Fibre Channel is the encoding method. 64b/66b encoding used for 16G is a more efficient encoding mechanism than 8b/10b used for 8G, and allows for the data rate to double without doubling the line rate. The result is the 14.025 Gbit/s line rate for 16G Fibre Channel.
Should I use compatible SFP or SFP+ ? YES ! Why not ?
Many manufacturers restrict their devices to accept only original SFP modules of the same brand, as identified by their vendor ID. Due to sometimes significant price differences between original and generic or compatible modules, there is a large market of “compatible” or “third party” modules that are programmed to show the appropriate vendor. Third-party SFP manufacturers have introduced SFPs with “blank” programmable EEPROMs which may be reprogrammed to match any vendor ID. When it is plugged into a Catalyst’s SFP port the first time, the Catalyst queries this chip for its credentials. If it’s not Cisco, your Cisco Catalyst switches would be configured by default not to work with the 3rd party (non-Cisco) SFPs, so the Catalyst would automatically shut the port down entirely.
Cisco wants their customers buying only Cisco hardware, which is -to say the least- more expensive than anyone else on the market. They make their own optical transceivers, and try very hard to convince buyers that only official Cisco hardware will work. Since SFPs aren’t overseen by a central standards body -unlike WiFi, for example- there’s no one around to tell Cisco not to do it. The primary benefit is the cost savings. The difference in price often exceeds 80 percent or more. Because transceiver costs are a significant part of the total system cost, it is important for designers to minimize these costs.
Of course, the other concern is the warranty. Most manufacturers offer short-term warranties, but consider buying from a vendor that throws longer service and support terms into the deal. A quality third party SFP should be able to provide years of performance, and be able to move across several pieces of hardware as your needs change over the years
Testing & Verification
There are methods to test and verify the 3rd-party transceiver modules, but it’s not always as easy as it seems. We can conduct some of the following tests.
Test for an Acceptable Bit-Error Ratio
Test to Determine Interoperability With a Worst-Case Transmitter
Determine the Minimal Power Level & Jitter Level
Try Performing the Optical Eye-Mask Tests
Verify Compliance With Multiple Samples
Know About Instrumentation Effects
BlueOptics high availability SFP+ Transceivers meet or exceed industrial standards, such as CE and RoHS as well as the regulations of the FCC. Through continuous monitoring before, during and after the production process, according to ISO9001, CBO reaches a steady quality of each BlueOptics SFP+ Transceiver. Another feature available when purchasing from CBO-TEchnology is the telephone support call. If you run into trouble with your unit, you can get in touch with our support center for help.
If you’re still hesitant about trying compatible optics from a third party manufacturer, the best way to ensure that you’re getting a reliable product at a good deal is to choose us as a vendor you trust, as we have a proven track record of quality products and great customer service. Ask us to send you samples to test to your specifications to find out whether the units live up to your standards, and get your network running without unnecessarily straining your budget.