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How to Install and Remove SFP Transceiver Modules?

June 3, 2015

We know that any non-standard operation may result in implicit damage or even permanent failure.

The installation and removing of SFPs are quite simple. However, you might need to refer to the datasheet or user manual of any new transceivers to familiarize yourself with its properties and the latching mechanism.

Before Installing or Removing the SFPs, You Should Remember These General Rules

  • Removing and inserting an SFP module can shorten its service life. Therefore, you should not remove or insert SFP modules unless it is absolutely necessary.

  • Disconnect all the cables before removing or installing an SFP module. Not to install or remove the optical transceivers with fiber cables attached to them as this may cause potential damage to the cable or module, which will limit the performance of the transmission.

  • Protect the SFP modules by inserting clean dust covers on them after the cables are removed. Ensure that you clean the optic surfaces of the fiber cables before you plug them back into the optical ports of another SFP module. Avoid getting dust and other contaminants into the optical ports of your SFP modules, because the optics will not work correctly when obstructed by dust.

  • Transceiver modules are sensitive to static, so always ensure that you use an ESD wrist strap or comparable grounding device during both installation and removal.

Check "The Main Causes of SFP Module Failures" Part from Why My SFP Transceiver Isn't Working?

Preparing to Install or Remove a Transceiver Module

  • Wrist strap or other personal grounding devices to prevent ESD occurrences.

  • Antistatic mat or antistatic foam to set the transceiver on.

  • Fiber-optic end-face cleaning tools and inspection equipment.

To Install an SFP+ Optical Transceiver Module

Besides SFP+, SFP, QSFP, SFP28, QSFP28 modules are all referred to as pluggable port modules. All of these modules' installation and removal can follow these simple steps.

  • Attach your ESD preventive wrist strap to your wrist as well as to the ESD ground connector. A metal surface on your chassis is also acceptable.

  • Before inserting the SFP+ into the designated port, DO NOT remove the optical bore dust plugs.

  • Locate the send (TX) and receive (RX) markings. These will allow you to identify the top of the SFP transceiver module.

Understanding the TX/RX Optical Power on the Transceiver


  • Carefully slide the transceiver into the port.

  • Verify that the transceiver is securely inserted and seated in the port.

  • After inspect and clean the fiber-optic end-faces, you can now remove the dust plugs from the SFP modules bores and attach the network interface cable to the module.

  • Check the port status LED. If the LED turns green, the target device has established a link. If the LED is off, please ensure that the target device is powered on before troubleshooting.

How to Troubleshoot A Fiber Optic Transceiver?


  • There might be a cable problem, or there might be a problem with the adapter installed in the target device. If the LED will turn amber for approximately 30 seconds before turning green.

  • Reconfigure and reboot the target device if required.

NOTES:

Transceiver modules come with different characteristics and they can use four different latching mechanisms: mylar/pull tab latch, bale-clasp latch, slide tab latch, and actuator button latch. And devices can have different module socket configurations. It is possible to have either a latch-up or a latch-down orientation. So, make sure that you are installing a module with the correct latch orientation for your device.

SFP Module With Different Latching

To Remove an SFP+ Optical Transceiver Module

  • Attach an ESD-preventive wrist strap to your wrist and to the ESD ground connector or a bare metal surface on your chassis.

  • Disconnect the network fiber-optic cable or network copper cable from the transceiver. For optical transceivers, immediately reinstall the dust plugs in the SFP transceiver optical bores and the fiber-optic cable connectors.

  • Release and remove the transceiver from the socket connector.

  • Place the removed transceiver in an antistatic bag or other protective environments.

The removal of the transceivers should be operated according to different latching mechanisms:

For a mylar/pull tab latch transceiver

Pull the tab gently in a slightly downward direction until the transceiver disengages from the socket connector, and then pull the transceiver straight out. Do not twist or pull the mylar tab because you could detach it from the transceiver.

Remove a Mylar or Pull Tab Latch Transceiver

For a bale-clasp latch transceiver

Pull the bale-clasp out and down to eject the transceiver from the device port. If the bale-clasp latch is obstructed and you cannot use your index finger to open it, use a small flat-blade screwdriver or another long narrow instrument to open the bale-clasp latch. Grasp the transceiver between your thumb and index finger, gently and carefully slide it out of the port.

Remove a Bale-Clasp Latch Transceiver

For an actuator button latch transceiver

Gently press the actuator button on the front of the SFP transceiver until it clicks and the latch mechanism releases the transceiver from the socket connector. Grasp the actuator button between your thumb and index finger, and carefully pull the transceiver straight from the module slot.

Remove an Actuator Button Latch Transceiver

For a slide tap latch transceiver

With your thumb, push the slide tab at the bottom front of the SFP module in the direction of the line card to disengage the module from the line card port. You must disengage the SFP module by pushing on the slide tab before you pull out the SFP module. If you pull the SFP module without disengaging the tab, you will damage the SFP module.

Remove a Slide Tap Latch Transceiver

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