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What Is SFP+ Module, And How to Choose?



The SFP+ module, which has been developed for more than ten years, is currently the market's most widely used industry standard for modules. The SFP+ module is utilized in various applications, including SONET and 10 Gigabit Ethernet. This article will tell you what is SFP+ and how to classify them.

Even after decades, the SFP+ module remains a widely used form factor among manufacturers and providers worldwide. It has been a dependable workhorse in numerous network applications, including SONET, 10G Ethernet, Fibre Channel, PON, and other communication standards. This article presents a comprehensive guide to the SFP+ module, including its definition, working principle, categorized types, and applications to show you what is SFP+ module.


What Is an SFP+ Module?


The SFP+ meaning Small form-factor pluggable plus, an enhanced version of the SFP, is an acronym for a small modular transceiver that can be plugged into an SFP+ port on a network switch or server. It has become the preferred option over SFP modules in many applications due to its higher transmit rate than SFP, and it has a smaller appearance than XENPAK or XFP modules, which allows SFP+ fiber to be used in tight networking spaces and facilitates high-speed communication between switches and critical networking components. Furthermore, what is SFP+? It is a hot-pluggable, backward-compatible, convenient solution for modifying existing networks without requiring a complete overhaul of the cable infrastructure. An SFP+ fiber module usually comprises a cage, PCBA, chip, and TOSA+ROSA components (and occasionally BOSA for BiDi transceivers).



How to Choose Between SFP+ Copper vs. Fiber Module?


Different types of SFP+ modules are available based on classification standards and can function with either copper or fiber optics. 


SFP+ modules designed for fiber optics can be categorized into two main types - single mode and multimode - each offering distinct optical ranges for the network. Multimode fiber optics typically use 850nm wavelength optical transceivers, which can transmit up to 300 meters via OM3 multimode fiber. On the other hand, single-mode fiber optics mainly use the 1310nm wavelength optical transceivers, which can transmit up to a maximum distance of 20km OS2 single-mode fiber. Meanwhile, copper-based SFP+ modules 10GBASE-T, are utilized in 10 gigabit Ethernet networking within a range of 100 meters via unshielded twisted-pair cabling, it can also be used in existing 100M/1GbE networks with its backward-compatible.


How to Choose Between SFP vs. Advanced SFP+?


In the current market, the 1Gb SFP module is widely used and offers different transmission speeds, including 1000base-T/TX, 1000base-SX, 1000base-LX/LX10, 1000base-BX10, 1000base-LX/LH, 1000base-EX, and 1000base-ZX.


As networks grow and the demand for higher bandwidth increases, 10G SFP+ is also becoming more popular in commercial applications and 10G Ethernet and is gradually replacing 1G SFPs. It's a newer version of the same form factor but offers faster speeds. The SFP+ family includes SFP+ SR, SFP+ LR, and SFP+ ZR modules, all of which are used for 10 Gigabit Ethernet networking.



Can I Plug SFP Module into SFP+ Slots Directly?


When using an SFP+ port, it can usually use SFP optics, but the speed will be capped at 1G rather than 10G, even though the maximum is 10G. On the other hand, the SFP+ module can't use in an SFP port because the SFP+ standard does not support speeds lower than 1G. Most SFP+ ports on Cisco switches do support SFP optics, while many SFP+ ports on other brands of switches only support SFP+ optics.


What is an MSA Compatible SFP+?


When users buy an MSA SFP+ module, what's most important to them is compatibility. The MSA stands for multi-source agreement, it's an agreement between different manufacturers that creates a standardized fit-form and makes it easier to mix and match different SFP+ brands. There are also third-party companies that have developed different tools to program SFP+ fiber and make them compatible with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). All of this means that if users get MSA-compatible SFP+ modules, they can be used successfully in many different types of networks.


How to Categorize Different Types of SFP+ Modules?


It might be quite difficult for many people to differentiate between the vast array of SFP+ fiber module models that are available in the market. The next section will categorize SFP+ modules based on various criteria to make things easier for you.


By SFP Media Type




Multimode Fiber

Single-mode Fiber

Transmit Cable

Network or DAC cables

OM1, OM2, OM3, OM4, and OM5.

OS2 9/125 single-mode fiber


No need to change the existing infrastructure

Performance improved with a higher fiber grade

Maximum link distance


By SFP Transceiver Distance








Common Model







IEEE 802.3an, IEEE 802.3az, SFP+ MSA, SFF-8431

IEEE 802.3ae, SFF-8472, SFF-8431, SFF-8432

IEEE 802.3ae, SFF-8472, SFF-8431, SFF-8432

IEEE 802.3ae, SFF-8472, SFF-8431, SFF-8432

IEEE 802.3ae, SFF-8472, SFF-8431, SFF-8432

Maximum Distance








OM3/OM4 Multimode Fiber

OS2 Single-mode Fiber

OS2 Single-mode Fiber

OS2 Single-mode Fiber


By Application



Most commonly transceiver

CWDM transmission

DWDM  transmission

Bi-directional optical link

SDH/SONET platform

Fibre Channel SFP+

Video transmission

FTTX application

High-Speed Cable


Duplex fiber

One fiber

Duplex single-mode fiber

Simplex fiber

Single-mode fiber

Multiple Fiber Optics

Multiple Fiber Optics


Direct attached cable with two SFP connector ends


Suitable for most situations

Improve the bandwidth

Save fiber resources and maximize the bandwidth

Save fiber resources by combining two transmission fibers into one

Easy demultiplexing, allows transmission of all traffic types

Provides unordered, lossless transfer of raw block data

Support HD-SDI/3G-SDI/6G-SDI/12G-SDI

Include the GPON and EPON, standards and support Passive optical networking

Short length Lower-cost solution


By Operating Temperature



Commercial grade

Industrial grade

Extended grade

Operating Temperature





What Factors Should You Consider When Selecting The Right SFP+ Module?


Begin by verifying the supported speed of your switch or other network devices' ports and then matching the appropriate SFP+ module. Additionally, you should be aware of the types of cabling already in use within your network. If you have a multimode fiber cabling structure, choose a multimode SFP+ module, but if you have a single-mode fiber cabling structure, then a single-mode transceiver is the only option.


Next, determine the target link distance and link budget, but be sure to select an SFP+ module that supports longer transmission distances than you expect to account for the possibility of poor fiber optic cable quality or dirty end faces that may result in failed links.


Consider the operating temperature as well. For most typical indoor environments, a commercial-grade transceiver will suffice, but in rugged outdoor applications, it's better to use an industrial-grade transceiver.


Finally, before placing your order, check the compatibility of the SFP+ module with your supplier. Choosing an incompatible transceiver can result in a waste of both money and valuable time, as your switch won't recognize it. Always select a proven and compatible transceiver.




After introducing what is SFP module, now you may want to find a reliable vendor supplier. QSFPTEK can provide most of the SFP+ models mentioned above, which deliver both high performance and affordability, we are a supplier with more than ten years of experience, and we can provide you with solutions, using the QSFPTEK SFP+ module to establish a reliable link solution, If you're unsure which SFP+ modules to choose, our engineers are available 24/7 to provide you with free consulting services. For more information about what is SFP+ module, contact us at sales@qsfptek.com.



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