What is a small form-factor pluggable (SFP) transceiver?
An SFP transceiver or "module" is a small gadget that allows the transmission of data over long distances. They are generally inserted into uplink ports on a switch. SFPs come in single mode and multi mode formats.
The single mode SFP can transmit data up 10km (6.21 miles) in standard format and up to 80km (49.7 miles) in extended format. Single mode SFPs function best using fiber optic cables. The transmission speed is fast and there is very little weakening of the signal.
The multi mode SFP can transmit data up to 500 meters (1640 feet) in standard format and up to 2km (1.24 miles) in extended format. Multi mode SFPs function best using copper cables. The SFPs and cables are much cheaper than the single mode SFP and fiber optic cable options.
An SFP is "hot-swappable," which means you can plug it into a switch without having to power the switch down and up again to make it work.
Regular SFP modules deliver speeds up to 1 Gbps. SFP+ modules are capable of 10 Gbps data rates. SFP28 modules can reach 25 Gbps speeds and are designed for 100 Gb switches. (To reach the 100 Gbps capacity, you simply combine 4 SFP28 modules.)
The benefits of SFPs:
1. They are compact. In small spaces already brimming with equipment and wires, SFPs easily fit wherever needed.
2. SFPs are extremely flexible in regard to cost, speed, range and accessibility depending on the type of SFP you get and the type of cable (copper or fiber optic).
3. SFPs can provide some of the highest speed and quality transmission over long distances available today.