10 Gigabit Ethernet Optical Modules Basics

To accommodate an ever increasing spectrum of applications, various optical transceiver types, such as XENPAKS, X2, XFP, SFP+ (small form-factor pluggable) have been introduced for 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity. 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10GE, 10GbE, or 10GigE) is a group of computer networking technologies for transmitting Ethernet frames at a rate of 10 gigabits per second (10×109 or 10 billion bits per second). This article is to guide three optical module types and three optical standards for 10 Gigabit Ethernet transmission.

10GE Optical Module Types

To implement different 10GE physical layer (PHY) standards, many interfaces consist of a standard socket into which different PHY modules may be plugged. Physical layer modules are not specified in an official standards body but by multi-source agreements (MSAs) that can be negotiated more quickly. Relevant MSAs for 10GbE include XENPAK (and related X2 and XPAK), XFP and SFP+.

XENPAK—It was the first MSA for 10GE and had the largest form factor. After the standard was introduced in 2001, two related standards emerged: XPAK and X2 with smaller form factors.

XFP—This kind of optical module came after X2. It is smaller, hot-swappable and protocol-independent. XFP typically operates at near-infrared wavelengths of 850nm, 1310nm or 1550nm, Besides in 10Gagibit Ethernet, XFP is also applied in Fibre Channel, parallel optics links, and synchronous optical networking (SONET) at OC-192 rates.

SFP+—As an enhanced version of SFP, it is smaller still and lower power than XFP. In addition to 10 Gigabit Ethernet, XFP supports 8 Gbit/s Fibre Channel, and Optical Transport Network standard OTU2. It has become a popular industry format supported by many network component vendors for 10GE systems.

10GE Optical Module Standards

Listed below are three 10GBASE optical module standards, like 10GBASE-SR, 10GBASE-LR, and 10GBASE-ER.

  • 10GBASE-SR Standard

10GBASE-SR (short range) is a port type for multi-mode fibers and is still the most commonly used by far. This standard is sensitive to fiber types in view of maximum link length. Take SFP-10G-SR for example, SFP-10G-SR modules offered by Fiberstore supports a link length of 26m on standard Fiber Distributed Data Interface (FDDI)-grade multi-mode fiber (MMF). But over 62.5micrometers OM1 a range of 33m is possible, over 50micrometers OM2 a range of 33m, over OM3 300m, and over OM4 400m. Thus, OM3 and OM4 are the preferred choices for structured optical cabling within buildings.

  • 10GBASE-LR Standard

10GBASE-LR (long reach) is a port type for single-mode fibers and uses 1310nm lasers. Its maximum distance can reach up to 10km over single-mode fibers. And the Fiberstore compatible Cisco SFP-10G-LR module can support a link length of 10 kilometers on standard single-mode fiber (SMF, G.652).

  • 10GBase-ER Standard

10GBASE-ER (extended reach) is a port type for single-mode fibers and uses 1550nm lasers. It can reach up to 40km over single-mode fiber.


I hope the above-mentioned information is helpful for you to choose and deploy 10GE platforms. Certainly, besides Cisco SFP-10G-SR, and Cisco SFP-10G-LR, other compatible SFPs are also available in Fiberstore, such as HP, Juniper, Nortel, Force10, D-link, and 3Com. These modules are all backed by a lifetime warranty. You can find suitable optical module type for your 10 Gigabit Ethernet transmission network at Fiberstore.


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