Thursday, March 20, 2014

A quick review of some common transceiver types

Cisco has support numerous transceivers over the course of 15 plus years. Starting with the now obsolete GBIC ( gigabit interface connector )  & other vendor specific interfaces, to the more common SFP, which  also known incorrect as mini-GBIC.  Due to this, a lot of confusion has developed over the various types. We will look at the modern common type & what you will find from something as simple as campus/data switch or a backbone/border router.

The following  photo  from left to right,  shows the following transceiver styles;

Xenpak2, XFP and a mix of  optic SFP/SFP+  interfaces adapters

NOTE: The Xenpak2 ( aka X2 )  are  the 2nd generation of the Xenpak. A Xenpak was support by a few linecard in the CRS , 6500/7600,  and then Xenpak2 (aka X2 ) within the  4500/4900//6500/7600 series of cisco devices and is much shorter than than a Xenpak physically. Don't confuse the two. Both take a SC fiber connector, the SFP+ is used   where the requirement exists for   >4gbps  interfaces.

NOTE: SFP+ is a enhancement to the SFP and offer data rates up to 11 gbps ( 10gbps optics actually runs closer to 11gbps due to line encoding ). A SFP and SFP+ are physically the same size but not all devices supports a SFP+ and 10gig line rate. Both takes a LC type of fiber connector.

Copper SFP various types

Their also few other  interface such as CFP & CXP,  which is primarily used for 40/100Gbps interfaces. It's much wider in size and only the top carrier grade equipment offers  interfaces for CFP or CXP. You will not see too much of these types.

Most of these  optics and transceivers are made overseas & with finisar being the most  common manufacture. You can find more about finisar at

BTW, if you interested in buying the domains 40/100/1000, I have this domains available for sale.

Both the 40/100 gige-based interfaces are becoming more and more available,  and is what the future holds. Contact me for more information, or to make an offer for these domains.

Ken Felix
Freelance Network / Security Engineer Consultant
kfelix  ----a---t---socpuppets ---d---o---t---com

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