Introduction to Fiber Optic Transceivers

Fiber optic transceiver includes both a transmitter and a receiver in a single module. The transmitter and receiver are arranged in parallel and they have their own circuitry so that they can handle transmissions in both directions independently. Fiber optical transceiver plays the role of photoelectric conversion, that is, the transmitter converts electrical signals into optical signals, and optical signals are converted into electric signals by the receiver. Fiber optic transceiver has different types which can be classified by the following aspects.

Optical Fiber Type

The single-mode fiber transceiver is used with single-mode fiber cable and adopts LD or LED as light source. It can transmit data signals with high-bandwidth at long transmission distance. The multimode fiber transceiver is used with multimode fiber cable and adopts LED or laser diode as light source. Though the transmission distance is shorter than that of single-mode fiber transceiver, the multimode fiber transceiver is cheaper and its power consumption is lower.

Optical Fiber Count

Simplex fiber transceiver is used with simplex fiber optic patch cable and receives the data sent in a single fiber transmission. Duplex fiber transceiver is used with duplex fiber optic patch cable and receives data transmitted on a dual fiber transmission. Single-fiber optic equipment can save half of that achieved to receive and transmit data over a single optical fiber, optical fiber strain on the resources in place very applicable. These products use the wavelength division multiplexing techniques, mostly using the wavelength 1310nm and 1550nm.

Transmission Rate

Transmission rate refers to the number of gigabits transmitted per second, per unit of Mbps or Gbps. Optical modules cover the following main rate: low rates, Fast, Gigabit, 1.25G, 2.5G, 4.25G, 4.9G, 6G, 8G, 10G and 40G.

GBIC(Giga Bit Interface Converter)

GBIC is an input/output transceiver. Its one end is to plug into a Gigabit Ethernet port such as on the switches, and the other end is to connect the fiber optic patch cords and link the fiber optic networks. Therefore, GBIC modules function is to transform the signals between the Ethernet network and fiber optic network.



SFP is a kind of compact, hot-pluggable transceiver used for both telecommunication and data communications applications and it can be simply interpreted as an upgraded version of GBIC. Compared with GBIC, the size of SFP is reduced by half and SFP can deploy more than double the number of ports on the same panel.



XENPAK is the standard specification for optical transceivers in 10 Gigabit Ethernet. It is a highly integrated, serial optical transponder module for high-speed, 10Gbit/s data transmission applications. And it is designed to transmit and receive optical data of long transmission distance.



X2 is mainly used for switch or router with Ethernet X2 port and network connection port. It is evolved from XENPAK standard and its internal function modules are basically same with XENPAK’s. However, the improved X2 that is only half the size of XENPAK can be placed directly on the circuit board, so it is suitable for high-density rack system and PCI network card application.



XFP are standardized 10GBASE hot-swappable and protocol-independent modules. It fully complies with the following standards: 10G Fiber Channel, 10G Ethernet, SONET/OC-192 and SDH/STM-64. XFP is mainly used for data communication and fiber optic transmission of telecommunication transmission network.



SFP+ is an enhanced version of the SFP that supports data rates up to 10 Gbit/s. SFP+ supports 8 Gbit/s Fiber Channel, 10 Gigabit Ethernet and Optical Transport Network standard OTU2. And SFP+ leaves part of circuit on the motherboard instead of inside the module.



QSFP interfaces networking hardware to a fiber optic cable and supports data rates from 4×10 Gbit/s. And QSFP+ is an evolution of QSFP to support four 10 Gbit/sec channels carrying 10 Gigabit Ethernet, 10GFC Fiber Channel, or QDR InfiniBand. The 4 channels can also be combined into a single 40 Gigabit Ethernet link.


Fiber optic transceiver, essentially just completed the converted of data between different media, can realize the connection between two switches or computers in the 0-120km distance. It is mainly applied in data communication, computer video, wireless voice communication and so on. And different types of fiber optic transceivers can be chosen according to different occasions.

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