Know the Methods of Transceiver Port Conversion

Transceiver modules are an integral part of a network and play a crucial role in data transfer in telecom as well as video, audio, and text communication applications. These are used to connect to a switch or a cable in a network. There are various types of transceiver modules. SFP or Small Form Factor Pluggable modules are the most widely used. Most of these modules support 10/100/1000 Base T Ethernet as well as fiber ports. Some of these are interconvertible; for instance, SFP+ can be converted to QSFP as the latter is a newer version, and so on. This post discusses various methods of converting these transceiver modules.

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Difference Between SFP, SFP+, QSFP, and QSFP+ Transceiver Modules

Here are a few pointers to indicate the differences in these transceiver modules.
  • SFP Modules: Small form factor pluggable or SFP transceiver module is a type of module, which supports Ethernet as well as fiber ports. These may be different for single mode and multimode modules. Their data rates vary based upon the cable type and geographical distance. These transceiver modules are designed based on EEE802. 3 and SFF-8472 standards.
  • SFP+ Modules: This is an advanced version of SFP although the two may seem quite similar in terms of physical features. It supports a data rate up to 16 Gbits/s.
  • QSFP Modules: Quad small form factor pluggable or QSFP transceiver module supports fiber, Ethernet, Sonet, and so on and with various data rate categories. It is a hot-pluggable, compact device used for bulky data applications. This has 4 channels with each supporting a data rate of 1 Gbits/s. li>
  • QSFP+ Modules: This is an advanced version of QSFP, and supports 4 channels with each supporting a data rate of 10Gbits/s. Additionally, all these 4 channels can be combined into one big link supporting Gigabit Ethernet.

Know the Methods of Port Conversion

High speed data transfer is a requisite for many crucial applications across industries. With the current network setup of copper cables offering a data rate of 10Gpbs, it may not be possible to achieve speeds as high as 40 or 50 Gbps. To achieve high speed and seamless connectivity in legacy networks, installing devices such as transceivers, media converters, and Ethernet and fiber network switches are crucial. This is when you can also consider migrating from one port to another. Here are some methods by which you can migrate from one port to another.
  • Migrating from QSFP+ to SFP+ Port: A very simple method is to directly connect using a QSFP+ breakout cable which could be a direct access cable or an optically active cable. One end of this cable has a QSFP+ transceiver fixed, while the other end has four SPF+ transceiver modules. So, the total 40Gbits/s will be divided into 10 Gbits/s into 4 channels. In another method, you can use several SFP+ transceivers in case there are duplex LC fiber cables on one end and an optically active cable on the other. This can be achieved by connecting a QSFP+ transceiver to an optically active breakout cable on one end and 4x duplex LC cables on the other.
  • Migrating from QSFP+ port to SFP+ Port: In this case, you can use an MTP or MPO connector which is connected to a QSFP+ transceiver with an MTP interface on one side, while the other side would comprise 4 LC duplex connectors with MTP interfaces. Now, all you need to do is plug in the cables into the appropriate transceiver modules and accordingly into QSFP+ or SFP+ ports. This helps convert from 40G to 10G.
Based on the multi-source agreement, you can match the right type of components according to your network specifications. When sourcing SFP or other transceiver modules, ensure you check the manufacturer and supplier’s authenticity and certifications. Also, if required, check if they can help you make the right choice vis-à-vis your requirements. VERSITRON is a leading manufacturer and supplier various fiber optic devices, SFP transceiver modules, and installation kits.

Rich Tull

R.W. Tull is the President of Versitron Inc. He works closely with clients to review layout diagrams and drawings in order to ensure that the best fiber optic solution is achieved for a particular project.

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