10 Gigabit Ethernet Standards for Optical Fiber Networking
Home Data Center 10 Gigabit Ethernet Standards for Optical Fiber Networking

10 Gigabit Ethernet Standards for Optical Fiber Networking

Posted on by FS.COM

In order to meet the demand for a faster data speed, the Ethernet has never stopped evolving since the 1970s. During the progress, the technology standard for local area networks (LANs) has been upgraded overtime and became increasingly mature. Nowadays, 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 GbE) is one of the most commonly used Ethernet networks in the world. It is a group of computer networking technologies for transmitting Ethernet frames at a rate of 10 gigabits per second. The standards for 10 GbE were first defined by the IEEE 802.3ae in 2002 which include the physical layer specifications (PHY), types of physical media-dependent interfaces (PMDs), supported media and reaches. All the 10GbE standards are shown in the following table.

Standard Wavelength Type Distance Media
10GBASE-SR/SW 850 nm Serial 300 m MMF
10GBASE-LR/LW 1310 nm Serial 10 km SMF
10GBASE-ER/EW 1550 nm Serial 40 km SMF
10GBASE-LRM 1310 nm Serial 220 m MMF
10GBASE-LX4 1310 nm WDM 300 m10 km MMF/SMF
De-Facto ZR/ZW 1550 nm Serial 80 km SMF
10GBASE-CX4 / 4 Lanes 15 m Twin Axial Copper
10GBASE-T / Twisted Pair 100 m UTP
10GBASE-KX4 / 4 Lanes 1 m Improved FR-4 Backplane
10GBASE-KR / Serial 1 m Improved FR-4 Backplane

Note: SMF stands for single-mode fiber and MMF stands for multimode fiber.

Here is the introduction to some commonly used 10GbE standards:


10GBASE-SR/SW is a port type for multimode fiber and uses 850nm lasers. The letter “S” stands for short reach, thus the standard is designed to be deployed in a short distance up to 300 m. In addition, both SR and SW fall under the S category of 10GBASE-S standard. They are basically the same thing. The only difference is that SR is designed for use over dark fiber and SW is used for SONET devices. Dark fiber is a kind of “unlit” fiber which is not connected to any equipment. And SONET is short for Synchronous Optical Network. It is a fiber optic transmission system for high-speed data communication over longer distance.


10GBASE-LR/LW is a port type for single-mode fiber and uses 1310nm lasers. The letter “L” stands for long reach, thus the standard offers a longer distance than multimode fiber of 10 km. This transmission range makes it possible for the LAN, WAN (wide area network) and MAN (metropolitan area network) deployment. Similar to the 10GBASE-SR/SW standard, 10GBASE-LR is employed for dark fiber while 10GBASE-LW is used to connect SONET equipment.


10GBASE-ER/EW is a port type for single-mode fiber and uses 1550nm lasers. The letter “E” stands for extended reach. This means that the transmission range is able to reach a greater distance up to 40 km. Therefore, 10GBASE-ER/EW standard is often used for WAN which requires a longer transmission distance. Also, according to the previous two standards, 10GBASE-ER is used to support dark fiber and 10GBASE-EW is capable to connect SONET devices.


The 10 GbE standards provide a solution for users to communicate in 10 GbE optical fiber networking without any obstacles. The standards define many aspects, such as transmission range, media, wavelength etc., in order to make the criteria more comprehensive in case of false transmission. To achieve 10G network connection, FS.COM provides a wide range of cost-effective compatible transceivers compared with expensive original optics. FS.COM’s 10G SFP+, 10G XFP, 10G X2 and 10G XENPAK are perfectly matched with products from other brands of Cisco, HP, DELL, etc. For more information, please visit FS.COM.

Copyright © 2002-2018. All Rights Reserved.