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Deploying 10GBASE-T SFP+ for SFP+ to RJ45 Connectivity

Author Aiyden

Date 08/15/2022

10GBASE-T SFP+ with the advantages of backward compatibility, lower cost and installation flexibility is an easy and affordable SFP+ to RJ45 DCI solution.

10GBASE-T is a 10 Gigabit Ethernet standard specified in IEEE 802.3an-2006. It is the latest BASE-T standard that was released in 2006 to bring a data rate of 10Gbps over copper twisted-pair cables. With the advantages of installation flexibility to the existing copper cabling system, backward compatibility, and auto-negotiate to lower speeds and cost-efficiency, the 10GBASE-T port shipment has an outnumber of optical SFP+ ports. And the 10GBASE-T has become dominant for 10GbE adoption. One key deployment of 10G copper SFP in the data center is to enable SFP to RJ45 connectivity. Read on to learn what is 10GBASE-T SFP+ transceiver, why to use SFP-10G-T and how to use it for SFP+ to RJ45 10GbE connectivity.



What is 10GBASE-T SFP+?

Both 10G fiber SFP+ and 10G copper SFP+ are 10G transceiver modules with an SFP+ form factor. What sets them apart is that the former uses an optical fiber connector whereas the latter uses an electrical RJ45 connector. Accordingly, 10GBASE-T SFP+ relies on copper twisted pair cables as transmission medium rather than fiber cables. For instance, the max transmission distance of SFP-10G-T-S SFP+ to RJ45 transceiver is 30m over Cat6a or Cat7 cable. The market has also seen a max transmission distance of 80m for an enhanced model SFP-10G-T-80. The 10G-T module is compliant with SFF-8431 and SFF-8432 MSA, featuring low power consumption, high performance, and compact design. 


Why Use SFP-10G-T?

The 10G RJ45 SFP+ module is widely used in 10 Gigabit Ethernet, typically for data center interconnect (DCI) between a switch and NIC. We know that the fiber 10G SFP+ transceivers, and high-speed cables can also achieve 10GbE DCI connectivity. Given that 10G transmission over copper link has the cons of higher latency, more power consumption, and short reach limitations than optical link, some may ask: what's the purpose of the 10GBASE-T SFP+ copper module?


The following table is a comparison of 10G copper SFP+ vs 10G fiber SFP+ vs 10G DAC vs 10G AOC.



Copper SFP+

Fiber SFP+



Data Rate

10 Gbps

10 Gbps

10 Gbps

10 Gbps






Cabling System





Transmission Distance






The 10G copper module has the following advantages that make it popular in 10G DCI applications.


1. Cost-effective for using cheaper copper twisted-pair cabling. 

10G Copper SFP+ module is designed with an RJ45 connector that works with copper Twisted Pair Ethernet cables. Copper cabling costs less than fiber cabling. 


2. Extend copper link up to 30m or even 80m, which makes up the distance limitations of DAC.

DAC cable is applied for short-range interconnect between a NIC and network switch within 7 meters. However, most data centers interconnect (DCI) links between system equipment are between 10m to 100m, which exceeds the max distance of a high-speed DAC. The 10GBASE-T SFP+ copper module bridges the gap.


3. Upgrade from 1000Mbps to 10Gbps by reusing existing cable infrastructure. 

Using fiber SFP+ modules requires fiber cables for connection. However, the current access infrastructure is dominated by copper cabling. Deploying SFP+ fiber modules is costly in terms of upgrading the network base from copper to fiber. Though using fiber modules in copper cabling is possible, additional copper to fiber equipment such as media converters is required. The 10GBASE-T SFP+ module supports 10G-T transmission over the existing copper cabling infrastructure.


4. Support 1000BASE-T/2.5G/5G/10GBASE-T muti-rate.

In wireless applications, 2.5GBASE-T and 5GBASE-T ports are common in WiFi equipment. The 10GBASE-T SFP+ module supports adapting to the intermediate data rates. Also, it is backward compatible with 1000BASE-T. This feature makes it resilient to make easy side-to-side connections in various NBASE-T application scenarios.


5. Easy and Cheap Solution for SFP+ to RJ45 Connection 

There are cases where data center ToR switches are 10G SFP+ fiber ports only, legacy equipment has 10GBASE-T RJ45 ports and cable architecture is copper. The requirement is to make a connection between the ToR switch fiber 10G SFP+ port with the equipment RJ45 SFP+ port. Three solutions: 1. Replace the ToR switch with one with 10G RJ45 ports. 2. Use an SFP+ to the RJ45 media converter. 3. Use a 10GBASE-T SFP+ transceiver. Solution 1 is costly and solution 2 is not that stable.


The following part will dive into how the SFP+ RJ45 module functions in SFP+ to RJ45 connectivity.



SFP+ to RJ45 Deployment Cases by 10GBASE-T SFP+ 

Case 1: Connect ToR Switch with SFP+ optical ports only to Server with fixed 10G RJ45 Ports.


Case 2: Connect ToR Switch with SFP+ optical ports only to Storage with fixed 10G RJ45 Ports.

Case 3: Connect ToR Switch with SFP+ optical ports only to another switch with 10G RJ45 Ports.


Case 4: Connect switch with SFP+ optical ports only to Wireless Access Point with 10G RJ45 Ports.


The above four use cases are typical in 10GbE DCI or wireless applications for SFP+ to an RJ45 connection. In a top-of-rack switching architecture, a network operator will place a fiber ToR/leaf switch in each rack to allow easy aggregation to server and storage appliances, multiple spine switches, and other access devices. Most server NIC and NAS storage equipment are designed with 10G RJ45 ports only for Ethernet connection. And the modern access layer switch and end devices such as Wireless endpoints are also with SFP+ RJ45 ports only. 


QSFPTEK 10G Copper SFP+ Transceiver Options


QT-SFP-10G-T vs QT-SFP-10G-T-80


QSFPTEK provides two versions of the 10GBASE-T SFP+ transceiver: QT-SFP-10G-T and QT-SFP-10G-T-80. Both are commercial grade 10G Copper SFP transceivers that adapt to 0℃ ~ +70℃ working temperature. Besides, the SFP 10G RJ45 modules support a multi-rate of 1000BASET, 2.5GBASET, 5GBASE-T, and 10GBASE-T. The QT-SFP-10G-T version enables a copper link up to 30m over Cat6 or Cat6 cable at a data rate of 10Gbps. The QT-SFP-10G-T-80 version supports a max transmission copper link of 80m over Cat6 or Cat6 cable at a data rate of 10Gbps.

Part Number

Data Rate

Max Distance






COM (0℃ ~ +70℃)

US$ 42.9




COM (0℃ ~ +70℃)

US$ 76.9


QSFPTEK SFP-10G-T 10G copper SFP transceivers are available for 100+ vendors to be compatible with brand system equipment. Taking the QT-SFP-10G-T 30m as an example, some of the mainstream brand and model names are shown in the table below.







US$ 62.9



US$ 42.9



US$ 42.9



US$ 42.9



US$ 42.9



US$ 42.9



US$ 42.9



US$ 42.9



US$ 42.9



US$ 42.9

10GBASE-T SFP+ is a low-cost and flexible SFP+ to RJ45 DCI solution. It is backward compatible with the 1000BASE-T and supports an intermediate 2.5G/5GBASE-T data rate. Using an RJ45 interface, it can seamlessly migrate to 10Gbps by reusing the existing copper cabling system, saving a big upgrade and cabling cost. 

If you need any support for SFP+ to RJ45 connectivity solutions in data centers, please contact our expert via sales@qsfptek.com. Besides the SFP+ RJ45 transceiver-based solution, we also offer SFP+ to RJ45 media converter solution for copper to fiber conversion.


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