SFP transceiver stands for Small Form-factor Pluggable transceiver. This transceiver is compact and hot-pluggable. It is widely used in the field of Data Communication and Networking. This transceiver mainly acts as an interface between a networking device and its interconnecting cable. This networking device can be any switch, repeater, router, multiplexer etc. The interconnecting cable may be made of copper or it can be an optical fiber cable. This transceiver which interfaces a device in the network to the cable is highly popular and can support devices and cables of various network vendors.
SFP transceivers are compatible with a number of communication standards like Ethernet, SONET along with many other standards. SFP is an upgraded version of Giga Bit Interface Converter (GBIC) module. SFP uses LC fiber optic cable for its interface whereas SC cable interfaces are used in GBIC. sfp transceiver is more space saving than GBIC, since the former has only half the size of the latter. SFP has transmission rate ranging from 100Mbps to 4Gbps and it can work at distances ranging between 500 meters to hundreds of kilometers. The ‘hot-pluggable’ feature of SFP makes it flexible. Any future changes can be easily incorporated into the SFP module, while the maintenance of the module is also made easier by this hot-pluggable nature of SFP, thereby making it compact.
The devices are specifically designed to closely match a number of applications, with improvements on the DSP block and support for very low cost and low power SERDES links. The ECP5 FPGAs provide the flexible connectivity required in outdoor small-cells, at extremely low-cost. They can also enable a smart sfp copper transceiver solution for broadband access equipment, including integrated operation and maintenance. Outside of communications, ECP5 devices offer low cost, low power PCI Express side-band connectivity for microservers. For industrial video cameras, ECP5 FPGAs can implement the entire image processing functionality in a device that consumes under 2W. Enhancements leading to 30% lower total power than other FPGA solutions include stand-by mode operation of the individual blocks including SERDES, dynamic IO bank controllers and reduced operating voltage.
SFP transceivers are of various types and each type comes with different configurations of transmitter and receiver. It is important to choose a proper transceiver to act as an interface between the device and the cable. This choice of transceiver is usually made based on the type of fiber optic cable. Such SFP transceivers which are used to provide the necessary reach to a fiber optic cable are categorized as optical SFP. These SFP modules are of several versions, wherein each version has different values of working wavelength and working distance: typical wavelength of different modules are 850 nm, 1310 nm and 1550 nm with working distances of 550m (SX), 10 km (LX) and 40 km (XD) respectively. There are also other types of SFP like DWDM, CWDM and bi-directional SFP with single fiber having upstream and downstream working wavelengths of 1310 nm and 1490 nm.
Certain SFP transceivers also use copper cables as interface. This will cause a device in the network to send their data over shielded or unshielded twisted pair cable. Usually such copper cable interfaces are used when the information to be transmitted needs to cover only shorter distances where use of copper cable is more economical than optic fiber cables.
SFP transceivers comply with the Multi Source Agreement between different manufacturers. Optical sfp plus transceiver come with digital monitoring features with the help of which one can monitor the performance of SFP in real time. This feature can be used to monitor SFP’s performance parameters like working temperature and wavelength, supply voltage, optical input and output etc. These transceivers have a PCB in them which connects to an electrical connector designed for SFP. SFP transceiver also has a 256 byte EEPROM memory. SFP transceivers are housed in a metal enclosure and their power dissipation is low. They operate over a wide temperature range and support a large number of different types of cable. An improved version of SFP standard called SFP+ can support transmission rates up to 10Gbps.
Thus SFP transceivers will soon replace all the existing interface standards in networking because of their compactness, flexible and economical design and high performance.