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What is the difference between SFP, SFP+, and SFP28?


With the continuous development of network technology, optical fiber communications have been widely used in various fields. SFP, SFP+ and SFP28 optical modules are three common optical module types, with different characteristics and application ranges. This article will compare SFP, SFP+ and SFP28 in terms of size, transmission rate, compatibility, power consumption, applications, etc.


What is SFP?

SFP: (Small Form-factor Pluggable) is a small pluggable optical module used to transmit data and optical signals. The SFP optical module has a small and compact size and a pluggable design, making it easy to replace and upgrade. SFP data transfer rates range from 100Mbps to 4Gbps. SFP is based on SFF-8472 protocol.

What is SFP+?

SFP+ optical module is an upgraded version of SFP, with transmission rates of 6gbase/8gbase/10gbase/16gbase, among which 10gbase is the most widely used. SFP+ optical modules provide higher data transmission capabilities while maintaining the size of SFP. It is currently one of the most common types of optical modules and is widely used in data centers, enterprise networks and telecom operator networks. Compared with SFP, SFP+ optical module has higher transmission rate and larger bandwidth. SFP+ is based on the SFF-8431 and SFF-8432 protocols.

What is SFP28?

The SFP28 optical module is an optical module type further improved on the basis of SFP+. The transmission rate is 25Gbps. It has the same size as SFP+, but it can support a single channel 25Gb/s rate. SFP28 provides an efficient solution for 10G-25G-100G network upgrades to meet the continued growth of next-generation data center networks.

Differences and comparisons between SFP, SFP+ and SFP28

1. Housing Size

SFP, SFP+ and SFP28 have the same size.

2. Transmission rate

The transmission rate of SFP optical module is 100Mbps to 4Gbps, of which 1.25Gbps is the most widely used. The transmission rate supported by SFP+ optical module is 6G/8G/10G, etc., and 10Gbps is the most used. The transmission rate supported by the SFP28 optical mode is generally 25Gbps.

3. Compatibility

SFP+ optical modules are suitable for the physical interface of SFP, so theoretically SFP+ can be compatible with SFP optical modules, but the SFP+ rate will be reduced to 1Gbit/s (one gigabit per second). Similarly, SFP28 can also be configured to be backward compatible with SFP+. These provide users with convenient upgrade and compatibility options. Of course, this also depends on whether the settings of certain network devices allow it.

4. Power consumption

As the transmission rate increases, the power consumption of the optical module will also increase accordingly. In this regard, the power consumption of SFP optical modules is low, generally less than 1W. The power consumption of SFP+ optical modules is relatively high, generally between 1-1.5W. The power consumption of SFP28 optical module is between 1-1.8W.

5. Application

SFP is mainly used in 1GbE networks, including Ethernet, optical fiber communications, data centers and wireless base stations. SFP+ is widely used in 10GbE networks, including data center interconnections, server internal connections, and storage area networks. SFP28 is suitable for data center 25G Ethernet and 5G fronthaul CPRI/eCPRI networks.


To sum up, SFP, SFP+ and SFP28 transceiver have different characteristics and applications. Choosing the appropriate optical module type according to actual needs is the key to ensuring stable operation and efficient transmission of optical fiber communication systems. At the same time, attention needs to be paid to compatibility and overall system design to ensure interoperability and collaboration between the optical module and other equipment. When selecting and using optical modules, it is recommended to cooperate with professional optical fiber communication engineers to evaluate and make decisions from multiple perspectives to provide the best optical fiber communication solution.

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