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Best SFP Module In 2023: Buyer’s Guide

The deployment of enterprise networks and the telecommunication applications all require SFP modules and network switches. The SFP module is mainly used to convert electrical signals and optical signals, while the network switch forwards data signals. The SFP module is generally connected with network switches, fiber media converters, and fiber optic network cards. They are used in Ethernet and fiber channel systems, which can meet the higher speed requirements of the data center and realize the network expansion and conversion.

What Is SFP Module?

The SFP module (Small-Form Factor Pluggable) is a hot-pluggable and compact optical transceiver module that is used in data communication and telecommunication applications. Being hot-pluggable, the SFP module can be added or removed when the system is running, allowing for easier replacement and installation.

The standards for SFP module are laid down by an MSA (Multi-Source Agreement). SFP modules support gigabit ethernet, SONET and fiber channel among various communication channels. They are thus developed as well as supported by many vendors of network components. So what are the best SFP modules that you can get on the market?

There are lots of different SFP transceiver modules on the market, so what should you consider before making a choice? To eliminate your confusion on how to pick up the best SFP module in 2023, we have highlighted the best ones along with a section on how to choose them.

List of The Best SFP Module

How To Pick The Best SFP Module?

Now that you know which are some of the best SFP modules in the market, you may be wondering how you can single out and select one that is best for your requirement. To help you with just that, we have compiled a list of the most important factors and considerations that you must go through.

1. Compatibility

Compatibility is the first and most important parameter to consider. Is it compatible with the specific devices you need it with? Just because the details list that it works with ‘Netgear’ or some other manufacturer products does not guarantee compatibility. Check specific switches or model numbers, user reviews, and product documentation to be sure of compatibility.

2. Operating Temperature and Stability

SFP modules are mostly used in data centers or with switches where the temperature ranges can vary. Ensure that the ones you are considering are recommended to work within the desired temperature range and do not overheat. Temperature stability is important as too high or low temperatures can affect optical sensibility and powers.

3. Manufacturer Support and Service

After-sales service and manufacturer support ensure that the SFP module lasts long and gives you the best performance. Often, there are some minor issues that may prevent it from working, such as a firmware upgrade. Something like this can be easily diagnosed and fixed if manufacturer support is available.

4. Warranty

Always go for a product that has at least 2 to 3 years of manufacturer warranty. This ensures that you do not have to search for frequent replacements and get the best out of your investment.

5. Budget

Your budget is also an important consideration. If you take care of all the above factors, then 3rd party SFP modules will help you save significant money without any compromise on performance and quality.

Check out the thorough reviews of the best SFP module in 2023 below.

1. QSFPTEK 10G SFP+ SR Transceiver Module

QSFPTEK 10G SFP+ SR Transceiver Module

The QSFPTEK 10G SFP module is compatible with a range of open switches, including Cisco, Ubiquiti, Mikrotik, Netgear, and many others. It is ideal for use with routers, fiber switches, servers, NICs, and other fiber optic and server equipment that have 10Gb SFP+ ports. It has a multimode-duplex LC connector with a 10 Gb/s data rate.

It also has DDM or digital diagnostics monitoring that allows for real-time monitoring of critical information and finding out problems. QSFPTEK offers a high-quality SFP Module that has been individually tested on different switches for providing a wide compatibility range.

Pros And Cons

  • Easy to Use
  • Compatible with a wide range of switches
  • Digital diagnostics Monitoring for real-time information
  • High-quality construction
  • Slight heating issue reported with UBNT gear

2. H!Fiber 1.25G SFP to RJ45 Module

H!Fiber 1.25G SFP to RJ45 Module

H!Fiber’s 1000Base-T SFP transceiver with an RJ45 interface is an SFP module that is suitable for a variety of applications include ethernet, Catalyst switches, wireless LAN controllers, and routers among many others that have a 1G SFP port. It uses an imported chip that is designed to offer high-performance while consuming low power and facilitate a fast and stable transmission of signals.

This SFP transceiver has a simple plug-and-play installation to save you from any hassles. You get a data rate of 1.25Gb/s with a maximum reach of 100-meters. The Category-5 copper wire further adds to its performance and high-quality. H!Fiber provides a 30-day return period along with 3-years of warranty and service along with this SFP module.

Pros And Cons

  • Simple installation and set up
  • Chip ensures low power consumption with high performance
  • 30-day return with a 3-year warranty
  • No real-time diagnostics

3. 10GTek 10GBase-SR SFP+ Module

10GTek 10GBase-SR SFP+ Module

This 10GBase SFP module from 10GTek comes with a 300-meter range and a 10G data rate. As per its official specs, it is made specifically for Mikrotik’s S+85DLC03D, it also works equally well with Ubiquiti gear. Installation is simple and all it takes is to plug it in. The free-coding service by 10GTek writes specific codes with password protection and ensures testing for best compatibility and functioning. The password protection eliminates any chances of an error like ‘unsupported transceiver’ that is common in 3rd party sfp modules.

10GTek SFP transceiver works out of the box and is an ideal OEM replacement in most cases. With one of the longest ranges in their category, this SFP module may just be what you need to solve connectivity problems. It is backed by a 3-year manufacturer warranty.

Pros And Cons

  • Easy to install
  • 300m reach and 10Gb speed
  • Works great with a range of switch brands as OEM replacement
  • Low cost and high-quality
  • Heating issue with Cisco switches

4. H!Fiber 1.25G Single Mode SFP LC Module

H!Fiber 1.25G Single Mode SFP LC Module

H!Fiber single mode SFP module provides a 1.25 Gbps data rate with a 10km reach.  It has a duplex LC connector and 1000Base LX/LH Gigabit ethernet. This SFP module is ideal for a range of applications, from Catalyst switches to industrial ethernets and various other routers and appliances. They are a perfect replacement for OEM switches providing excellent performance without any significant cons.

The SFP transceiver is ready to work out of the box and does not require any installation. Simply plug it in and you are all set to go. For Cisco devices ensure that firmware is updated to the latest version. It also has an extended temperature range of 32 to 158 °F. DDM is also included to provide real-time data and a faster diagnosis of any issues.

Pros And Cons

  • Simplified setup
  • DDM for real-time data and diagnostics
  • Durable product with a high operating temperature range
  • Incompatible with HP Aruba and Trendnet switch

5. ipolex 10G SFP+ Twinax DAC Module

ipolex 10G SFP+ Twinax DAC Module

The ipolex 10G SFP twinax module comes with a 10GBase-CU, available in lengths from 0.5m to 7m. It works with a range of switches, including those from Cisco, D-link, Palo Alto, ZTE, Mikrotik, and Netgear, among others. The module is suitable for various applications from data centers to NAS (Network Attached Storage) to high-processing computing centers and others.

The small form factor provides a stable connection and better control over the bending angle. This also provides long life for the cable. The chip enables higher performance with low power consumption. The gold-plated plug makes it suitable for repeated plugging and unplugging as needed.

Pros And Cons

  • Well made and works perfectly
  • Designed for durability and long service life
  • Versatile applications
  • When connecting a SFP port to an SFP+ port with the cable, it forces the 10G port down to 1G

FAQs When Picking The Best SFP Module

Q: What is the difference between SFP+ and SFP, and can SFP be used in SFP+ slots?

While both of them have the same appearance and size, SFP+ transceivers support speeds up to 10.3 Gbps while SFP supports up to 4Gbps. While SFP+ port does accept SFP optics in most cases, the speed has to be downgraded to 1G from 10G. However, the other way is not possible- you cannot plug SFP+ optics in an SFP port.

Q: What are the best maintenance tips for the SFP transceiver?

The end face must be kept clean while avoiding prolonged exposure in the air. The environmental humidity of the SFP transceiver must be kept normal, and it must be inserted gently to avoid any form of damage.

Q: What is the lifespan of a SFP module?

Most vendors guarantee a lifespan of at least 3-years for the modules. Good quality modules, when taken care of properly, can easily last 3-5 years or more.

The Application of SFP Module

1. Short-distance network wiring

1000BASE-T sfp transceiver supports 10/100/1000 adaptive and Auto MDI/MDIX, it can be used with Category 5 unshielded network patch cords and the transmission distance can reach 100m.

The 1000BASE-SX sfp transceiver is compatible with the IEEE 802.3z 1000BASE-SX standard and can be used in multi-mode optical fiber links with a maximum transmission distance of 550m.

2. Long-distance network wiring

1000BASE-EX and 1000BASE-ZX modules can be used with single-mode optical fibers and are suitable for long-distance network transmission. The transmission distance of 1000BASE-EX modules can reach 40km, and the transmission distance of 1000BASE-ZX modules can reach 80km.

When single-mode fiber (SMF) is used for a short distance, in order to avoid overload of the receiver, an optical attenuator needs to be inserted in the link.

The SFP port can support both SFP electrical port modules and SFP optical port modules. Both SFP ports and SFP modules have high flexibility and compatibility in practical applications and they are the best solution for your gigabit ethernet.

The Application of The SFP Modules

SFP Module VS SFP+ Module

As we all know, the main difference between gigabit sfp module and 10 gigabit sfp module is that they have different transmission rates. The transmission rate of Gigabit sfp module is 1000 Mbps, while the transmission rate of 10 Gigabit sfp module is 10 Gbps.

What is the gigabit sfp module?

Gigabit sfp module is an optical module with a transmission rate of 1000Mbps, which is usually expressed by FE, and the transmission distance can reach 80m-160km. Generally speaking, we can distinguish Gigabit sfp modules from the specifications of the product itself and the optical module naming rules provided by different companies.

What is the 10G sfp+ module?

A 10G sfp+ module is an optical module with a transmission rate of 10G. There are IEEE 802.3ae, IEEE 802.3ak and IEEE 802.3an standards for 10 Gigabit sfp+ modules. When choosing a 10 Gigabit sfp+ module, we can consider some factors such as price, power consumption, and space.

Gigabit sfp modules are used in gigabit ethernet, dual-channel and two-way transmission synchronous optical network (SONET), while 10 gigabit sfp+ modules are used in 10 gigabit ethernet, STM-64 and OC-192 rate standard synchronous optical networks (SONET) and 10G fiber channel.

In the application, whether you should choose a Gigabit sfp module or a 10 Gigabit sfp+ module depends on your network type. For example, if your network is a Gigabit ethernet, you need a Gigabit sfp module, and a 10 Gigabit ethernet uses a 10 Gigabit sfp+ module. However, it should be noted that unless your Gigabit switch has a 10 Gigabit expansion port, you can use a 10 Gigabit sfp+ module, if not, you must strictly select the appropriate module according to the type of module and the port rate on the switch.

What Are the SFP, SFP+, SFP28, QSFP+ and QSFP28?

SFP, SFP+, SFP28, QSFP+ and QSFP28, these optical transceiver types can be used to connect network switches and other network devices (such as servers or transceivers) for data transmission. But do you understand the specific differences between these optical transceivers? Are SFP module and QSFP+ module compatible? Can SFP28 modules be used in SFP+ slots? If you have these questions, please read on.

Before clarifying the difference between these optical transceiver modules, you need to understand what SFP, SFP+, SFP28, QSFP and QSFP28 are.

What Are the SFP, SFP+, SFP28, QSFP+ and QSFP28?

1. SFP module

SFP module can be understood as an upgraded version of GBIC. Its volume is only 1/2 of GBIC module, which greatly increases the port density of network equipment. In addition, the data transmission rate of the SFP module ranges from 100Mbps to 4Gbps.

2. SFP+ module

SFP+ module is a kind of 10G optical module of SFP module. SFP+ is an enhanced version of SFP, which is independent of the communication protocol. Generally connected with switches, optical routers, optical network cards, etc, it is used in 10G bps Ethernet and 8.5G bps fiber channel systems, it can meet the higher speed requirements of data centers and realize the network expansion and conversion of data centers.

The SFP+ module has high density and small size, and can communicate with other types of 10G modules, providing a higher installation density for data centers and saving costs. Therefore, it has become the mainstream pluggable optical module in the market.

In addition, SFP+ direct-connect cables (SFP+ DAC high-speed cables and AOC active optical cables) can connect two SFP+ ports without adding additional optical modules and cables (network cables or optical fiber jumpers). It is a good choice for direct connection between two adjacent short-distance network switches.

3. SFP28 module

SFP28 module is an enhanced version of the SFP+ module, which has the same size as SFP+, but it can support a single-channel 25Gb/s rate. SFP28 provides an efficient solution for the upgrade of 10G-25G-100G network, which can meet the continuously growing demand of next-generation data center networks.

4. QSFP+ module

QSFP+ module is an upgraded version of the QSFP module. QSFP module can support 4 channels of transmission at the same time, and the data rate of each channel is 1Gbit/s, but QSFP+ module is different from QSFP module that it supports 4×10Gbit/s channel transmission, QSFP+ module can achieve a 40Gbps transmission rate through 4 channels. Compared with SFP+, the transmission rate of QSFP+ modules can reach four times that of SFP+ optical modules. QSFP+ modules can be used directly when deploying 40G networks, thereby effectively saving costs while increasing port density.

5. QSFP28 module

QSFP28 module was born to meet the needs of 100G applications. There are 4 high-speed differential signal channels. The transmission rate of each channel ranges from 25Gbps to possible 40Gbps. It can meet the application needs of 100G Ethernet (4×25Gbps). There are many types of QSFP28 products, and there are different ways to realize 100G transmission, such as 100G direct connection, 100G to 4-channel 25G branch link or 100G to 2-channel 50G branch link.

The Compatibility Between SFP and SFP+ Module

With the development of networks tending to high speeds, 10 Gigabit switches are becoming more and more popular in enterprise networks. However, the compatibility issues between SFP and SFP+ module have always puzzled many users. For example, can SFP+ ports support SFP modules? Can SFP ports support SFP+ modules? Can the SFP port of the Gigabit switch be connected to the SFP+ port of the 10 Gigabit switch? The compatibility of SFP and SFP+ ports will be discussed below.

The Compatibility Between SFP and SFP+ Module

1. In most cases, SFP modules can be used on SFP+ ports

Can a 1G SFP module be plugged into a 10G SFP+ port for use? In most cases, it is possible, but if you insert an SFP optical module into an SFP+ port, the transmission rate of the link will be reduced to 1Gb, and some switches will lock the port rate at 1G until you reset the switch or when the configuration command is executed, the port rate will return to the original state.

In addition, SFP+ ports generally cannot support rates below 1Gb. In other words, SFP+ ports cannot use 100BASE SFP optical modules. In fact, this problem depends largely on the switch itself, because some switches will support, but some cannot. Therefore, if you want to insert the SFP optical module into the SFP+ port of the 10 Gigabit switch, it is best to consult the supplier before using it to ensure that the SFP+ port of the 10 Gigabit switch can support dual rates.

2. SFP+ modules can not be used on SFP ports under any circumstances

Can 10G SFP+ optical modules be used on 1G SFP ports? The answer is definitely “No”. As we all know, the speed of the optical module installed on the switch determines the speed of the port link. At present, the SFP+ ports on most 10 Gigabit switches are backward compatible and support 1G SFP modules. However, the SFP port on the Gigabit switch is not forward compatible, that is, it cannot support 10G SFP+ modules.

3. Can the SFP port of the Gigabit switch be connected to the SFP+ port of the 10 Gigabit switch?

As can be seen from the above, usually SFP+ ports can support SFP optical modules and SFP+ optical modules, while SFP ports can only support SFP optical modules but not SFP+ optical modules. Therefore, the two ends of the connection are mainly divided into the following two situations:

When the SFP+ module is used on the SFP+ port of the 10G switch and the SFP module is used on the SFP port of the Gigabit switch, the SFP+ port of the Gigabit switch cannot be connected to the SFP port of the Gigabit switch. Because the SFP+ module does not support auto-negotiation technology, the rate cannot be adjusted to 1G, this connection method is invalid.

When the SFP module is used on the SFP+ port of the Gigabit switch and the SFP module is used on the SFP port of the Gigabit switch, the SFP+ port of the 10 Gigabit switch can be connected to the SFP port of the Gigabit switch. It can work normally, and its link transmission rate is 1G.

All in all, most SFP+ ports can support SFP modules, but SFP ports cannot support SFP+ modules. Therefore, in order to ensure the correct operation of the network, the optical transceivers used at both ends must be compatible with each other.

Final thoughts

Finding a SFP module is not hard when you consider all the right factors. You can easily get the best SFP module that will provide you value for money and ensure that you get the best equipment for your project. The high-quality SFP modules that we have reviewed above are sure to save your money while ensuring high-performance and reliability throughout.

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