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Features and importance of a transceiver

The purpose of these connection devices is simple: to send and receive data packets. And this role is central in the deployment of networks and in data storage systems. Transceivers play such a key role because they are used for connecting various other devices, such as switches, routers, network interface cards (NIC) and other converters.

The majority of Cisco transceivers are so-called ‘small form-factor pluggable’, or SFP, devices. As such, you will normally see them listed as SFP transceiver modules. But aside from SFP transceivers, there is also another kind available that has ports for fibre optic and twisted pair copper cabling: SFP+ transceivers. They are used in Gigabit Ethernet networks and are more efficient at transmitting large volumes of data.

Both options are input and output data modules that are small in size and can be connected without the need to disconnect the network to replace the device in question, and they are also hot-pluggable and hot-swappable, which makes them much more efficient to work with. SFP ports are also called gigabit interface converters, abbreviated as GBIC, and in this case, they replace the previous generations of GBIC transceivers.

These devices are thus capable of supporting very high data transfer rates, often greater than 40 gigabit and even up to 100 gigabits, and can also work with 8, 10 and 16 Gbit fibre optic channels, in addition to SONET SDH, Ethernet Sonet and Gigabit protocols, and other standards. In addition to working with conventional fibre optic networks, they can also be used with single strand fibre solutions. And they do all this while also keeping energy consumption very low, as they are modules that require very little electricity to work.

The Cisco SFP devices are flexible components that can be used interchangeably in 1000base-t SFP, 1000base-lx LH SFP and other types of application combinations. The SFP modules from Cisco also work with very large-scale networks, reaching distances of up to 80 kilometres, as SFP devices operate at wavelengths of up to 1610 nm, using cutting-edge lasers to produce them.

Cisco transceivers: a wide variety of models

The range of transceivers from Cisco offers a wide range of solutions, with various different connection, speed and cable distance options available. The company organises its catalogue according to the speed of the protocol, establishing several different categories: 10 gigabit, 40 gigabit and 100 gigabit. It also takes into account the type of signal multiplexing, with some devices being adapted to the Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) standard, and others designed to work with the Coarse Wave Division Multiplexing (CWDM) system. These sections of their catalogue contain the GLC-SX-MMD, SFP-10G-SR and SFP-10G-LR models, which Cisco manufactures in accordance with the highest quality standards. Let’s take a look at them.

Cisco GLC-SX-MMD

One of the most interesting transceiver modules. These models offer highly advanced performance. The GLC-SX-MMD, for example, is a 1000base-SX Ethernet device and a multi-mode connector. It offers a data transfer rate of up to one Gigabit per second and a wavelength of around 850 nm, thanks to its VCSEL optic laser. It can also reach distances of up to 550 metres and works within a temperature range of -40 to 85 ºC.

Cisco SFP-10G-SR

The SFP-10G-SR models, on the other hand, offer distances of up to 300 metres. These devices use a SFP+ interface and provide a data transfer rate of over 10 Gbps. Support modules can handle temperatures of up to 85 ºC and work at a bandwidth of 850 nm. They have dual connectors and are adapted to work with multi-mode fibre.

Cisco SFP-10G-LR

The key feature of SFP-10G-LR transceivers is their ability to reach cable distances of up to 10 kilometres. Their transfer rate is also over 10 Gbps, working with single mode fibre. These features are made possible thanks to the DBF optic components with a wavelength of up to 1310 nm. This powerful device can also work within a temperature range of -40 to 85 ºC, meaning it can be used in the most extreme environmental conditions.

And much more

The Cisco transceiver catalogue also contains many other interesting fast network models. One particularly impressive example at the top end of the range is the powerful X2-10GB-ZR, which works with a 10GBase-ZR application and can achieve transfer rates of 10 Gbps and a cable distance of up to 80 kilometres, with a 1550 nm wavelength on mono-mode or single-mode cabling. And an even more powerful alternative is the Cisco ONS-SE-155-XXXX, a device capable of reaching a transfer rate of 100 Mb/s with a cable distance of up to 80 kilometres, and its wavelength can vary from 1470 to 1610 nm.

As you will have noticed, Cisco transceivers, specifically Cisco Small Form-Factor Pluggable (SFP) transceivers, are available in a wide variety of models, with many different working systems, connection standards, transfer rates and cable distances. Thanks to this wide variety of options, Cisco transceivers can be easily adapted to suit any needs and offer solutions to meet all kinds of demands, from domestic networks to large infrastructures that require the maximum connection capacities and data transfer rates.