How Many Types of SFP Transceivers Do You Know?

Updated on Dec 27, 2022

There are many 1G SFP types available today like copper RJ45 SFP, fiber optic SFP, and WDM SFP modules, so what makes them different, and how do you know which is best for you? This guide focuses on cable type, transmission range, transfer rate, and application to explain.

By SFP Media Type

1G Ethernet SFP module can work over optical fiber and Ethernet cables, so fiber SFP module and copper SFP are the two main SFP types.

For fiber SFP type, it can be divided into single mode SFP that works with single-mode fiber and multimode SFP that works with multimode fiber, since in line with different fiber patch cables. Table 1 shows the differences between single mode SFP and multimode SFP types.

Specfication Multimode SFP Single-mode SFP
Fiber Type 62.5/125µm or 50/125µm core MMF 9/125µm core SMF
Working Wavelength Mainly in 850 nm and 1300 nm Mainly in 1310 nm and 1550 nm
Color Coding Black Blue for 1310nm SFP
Yellow for 1550nm SFP
Transmission Distance 100m / 550m 2km up to 200km

For RJ45 SFP module, also known as 1000Base T copper SFP, it transmits the signal with traditional copper cables such as Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat6a cables with lengths up to 100 meters.

fiber sfp vs coppr sfp

By SFP Cable Core Diameter

According to different core diameters of connected cables, SFP types can be divided into multimode SFP and single mode SFP.

For multimode SFPs, the most common multimode SFPs are the 850nm wavelength for a maximum of 550 meters. If there's a need to extend the multimode transmission distance, you can also choose a 1310nm wavelength for a maximum transmission distance of 2km.

For single mode SFPs, they can transmit anywhere from 10km to 200km, which is well-suited for long-distance transmission. Table 2 shows the transmission distance of FS 1000Base single mode and multimode SFP modules.

Max. Transmit Distance
Multimode SFP
LC Duplex
LC Duplex
Single mode SFP 1000BASE-LX-31
LC Duplex
LC Duplex
1000BASE-EX-55 1550nm 40km
LC Duplex
1000BASE-ZX-55 1550nm 80km
LC Duplex
1000BASE-EZX-55 1550nm 120km
LC Duplex
1000BASE-ZXC-55 1550nm 160km
LC Duplex
1310nm/1550nm, 1310nm/1490nm, 1510nm/1590nm
LC Duplex/Simplex
LC Duplex
LC Duplex


By SFP Operating Temperature

On the market, there are commecrial grade and industrial SFPs. Commercial SFP type is the typical transceiver that supports 0~70°C (32 to 158°F) temperature. Usually, they are suitable for a standard indoor environment like a data center or enterprise.

Industrial SFP can work at a temperature of -40 to 85°C (-40 to 185°F). They are designed for industrial switches in the outdoor environment.

By SFP Variants

The trend towards higher speed and higher bandwidth is always unstoppable, from Fast Ethernet to Gigabit Ethernet, and then to 10Gb, 40Gb, 25Gb, and 100Gb Ethernet. Since the development of SFP, modernized advancements have been added to the mix. Namely, SFP+ for 10 Gigabit, SFP28 for 25 Gigabit Ethernet, QSFP for 40 Gigabit Ethernet, QSFP28 for 100G Gigabit Ethernet are now available. More about SFP vs Advanced SFP+/SFP28/QSFP/QSFP28.


Based on different applications, SFP types are usually categorized by the following types.

Regular SFP: Most commonly transceivers that deliver data via a duplex fiber.

BIDI SFP: Can transmit and receive signals in simplex fiber.

WDM SFPs: Support CWDM/DWDM transmission to maximize the bandwidth while saving the fiber cabling.

SONET/SDH SFP: Compatible with the SONET/SDH and ATM standard which covers the standard range of data rates extending from OC-3/STM-1 (155 Mbps) to OC-48/STM-16 (2488 Gbps) for multimode (MM), short-reach (SR), intermediate-reach (IR1), and long-reach (LR1/LR2) applications.

PON SFPs: Used in the Optical Line Terminal (OLT) at the Central Office and the Optical Network Terminal/Unit (ONT/ONU) at the subscriber’s premises.

3G-SDI video SFPs: Designed to meet the high standard video transmission needs in the High Definition (HD) environment.

SONET/SDH SFP is compatible with the SONET/SDH and ATM standard which covers the standard range of data rates extending from OC-3/STM-1 (155 Mbps) to OC-48/STM-16 (2488 Gbps) for multimode (MM), short-reach (SR), intermediate-reach (IR1), and long-reach (LR1/LR2) applications.

Fibre Channel SFP: A high-speed network technology (commonly running at 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 128 gigabits per second rates) primarily used to connect computer data storage to servers in the SAN data center environment.

Additional Learning Hub Resources

SFP Transceiver: To Be or Not To Be?

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