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Ministry of Defence BT Inmarsat Science & Technology Facilities Council

The Birth of the SFP

The Birth Of The SFPHistorically the selection of a fibre optic transceiver for your network or system was an incredibly complex affair. The process often involved the specification of the required function, and the provision of an array of details including defining wavelength, connector type and the number of fibres. On top of this, a decision might have to be made about the specific end point. All of this ultimately lead to a lot of confusion and made the specification and ordering of transceiver components a dull exercise.

Thankfully this is no longer the case! Technology has existed for over 15 years, but only recently is enjoying high levels of mainstream usage that provides a solution to the above mentioned issue. This solution comes in the form of pluggable transceiver modules.

Rise of the SFP:

In 1999 the GigaBit Interface Converter (GBIC) was introduced. In its original usage it was specified for fibre channel connections, allowing for a small module to be plugged into transmission equipment utilising either Gigabit Ethernet or a Fibre Channel.

Following fast on the heels of GBIC came a mini GBIC called an SFP transceiver- short form for “Small Form Factor Pluggable”. The new SFP transceivers utilised a slightly smaller footprint than their GBIC forebears, and operated on 4/Gbs data rates. SFPs were quickly adopted due to the fact that they offered numerous fibre options, including, Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM). Further advantages that endeared SFPs was their ability to function as both multi-mode and single mode, whilst also being able to implement a number of different Ethernet standards.

The adoption of the SFP was signified back in 2000 through the creation of the “Small Form-factor Pluggable (SFP) Transceiver Multi-Source Agreement (MSA)”. This agreement was created collectively by a number of leading industry entities, including Fujikura, IBM, Lucent, and Molex. The aim of the Agreement was “to establish internationally compatible sources of a pluggable fibre optic transceiver module in support of standards for fibre optic systems. Each party expects that the establishment of compatible sources for an interchangeable transceiver module will allow the entire fibre optic marketplace to grow more rapidly.”

Now SFPs are utilised widely in a diverse range of industries in order to enhance the levels of performance, speed and reliability within networks. The MSA empowers business to decide between expensive branded components, or to utilise just as effective and reliable non-branded components from third party providers. This enables for savings to be enjoyed without compromise to the overall operational ability of a network.

Compatible SFP specialise in the provision of dedicated compatible SFP products, the quality of which is testified through the lifetime warranty that covers the entirety of our product range. For further information a member of our dedicated customer service team can be contacted by calling: 01925 530 115.