Difference Between GBIC and SFP

GBIC and SFP are transceivers that can be used as optical transmission receiver devices use to connect to motherboards.

This is an optic fiber medium connector unit that provides access to the user. This helps in interconversion between electrical signals and optical signals as every transceiver does.

The only difference is that is an optical medium device unit.


The main difference between GBIC and SFP is that while SFP is the smaller and small-space friendly transceiver GBIC is much larger and takes up a lot of space which might hinder the movements of the other connecting wires and transceivers provided that the user has much more than just one optical transmitting device.

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GBIC stands for Gigabit Interface Converter. This is a combination of transmitter and receiver that helps in the optical transmission field of technology. It transmits optical signals after converting them into electrical ones and the receiver on the other end concerts the incoming signals to optical and thereby receives the data. This connector device has a lot more optical activity and functions.

SFP stands for Small Factor Pluggable. An overall variant of regular transceivers is a major optical medium connector used in the present day by business firms or IT companies to connect and transfer data over a local area network (LAN). This is used by more people due to its space utilization capability in a more cramped and small area that is usually seen in such firms and companies.

Comparison Table Between GBIC and SFP

Parameters of ComparisonGBICSFP
SizeBigger in comparisonSmaller compared to most other transceivers at the time
PopularityWas popular during the 1990sPopular even today despite the other new versions that are in the market
Price RateExpensive for the time period of its releaseLess pricy
Space Usage EfficiencyLesser due to larger sizeMore due to smaller size
Whether Still in MarketsNoYes

What is GBIC? 

GBIC stands for Gigabit Interface Converter.

This name has been rightly derived from the functional capacity of the device that is a transceiver.

Transceivers are devices that have been introduced in the early 20th or late 19th century to aid with the transfer of data that were in a different signal type like electrical or optical.

The optical transceiver GBIC has been around for a long time helping out firms and mostly IT companies with local data transmission.

It was most popular during the 1990s when it was one among the only few available data transceivers and a suitable connector.

GBIC connectors helped in the circuit completion in case a hard-to-cover motherboard needs a data converter and transceiver.

Being an optical transmission and receiving device, GBIC was once the standard protocol type connector for a different medium intermediate.

It could be used for connecting cables that were manufactured from varying materials like copper and even optical materials.

Being one of the first of its type and hence a prototype, it was larger than what most of the transceivers these days look like.

Eventually later on after the newer versions that may have been updated by manufacturers, GBIC was slowly discarded by previous users.

GBIC had been later on hardly brought by marketplaces to keep on sale as the sales crashed due to the new version release.

What is SFP?

SFP stands for Small Factor Pluggable.

The name itself suggests the highly efficient small-sized nature of the transceiver.

This helps in the connection to the motherboard of a circuit thereby having an increased customer purchase strategy.

Being one of the smallest transceivers it has gained a lot of popularity in recent times and has not yet gone out of the market sales.

A newer version of SFP has been released into the market by many different names and other names such as SFP+.

Purchasers of SFP are always either wholesale marketplace vendors or company managements for a small LAN network for their data transmission.

Their major connection purpose to the motherboard and data transmission-receiving functions are required by tech companies having a large transmission every other minute.

Other users who are freelancers or individual IT group owners with a home office might not necessarily purchase it in bulk but rather as a single device.

The greater popularity of the SFP has been quite a competition for the other existing transceiver since the time they have been invented.

Such purchasers find the SFP as the ideal optical transceiver owing to its small size.

The size factor makes it hassle-free to be put aside in a small corner and is capable of keeping the whole area uncluttered.

Even now, SFP becomes one of the most commonly used optical media transceivers and motherboard connectors.

Main Differences Between GBIC and SFP

  1. While GBIC is much bigger with additional exteriors features on the device, SFP is much smaller and compatible.
  2. GBIC stands for Gigabit Interface Converter. On the other hand, SFP stands for Small Factor Pluggable.
  3. SFP is much cheaper as its size reduction gave it a leaping advantage to reduce the materials used for manufacturing whereas GBIC had been expensive.
  4. GBIC has lost its market value and has been out of sales for some time now after the introduction of new versions but SFP is still in demand despite later versions being released.
  5. The new version of GBIC is SFP while the later version of SFP is SFP+.


The only visible difference between the two optical medium transceivers is the size.

SFP is also called mini GBIC due to its size.

The later and newer version of GBIC includes SFP and SFP+.

They are mostly used for the conversion of optical signals to electrical and vice versa at the transmitting and receiving points.

People who buy many such devices would always go for the smaller more compact and space-friendly one that is the SFP and its later models.

The size of the SFP gave it the entire product boost that the manufacturers needed to increase its sales value.

Being in and out of popularity by users both has suffered market clashes and rises.


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1601269/
  2. https://www.embrionix.com/storage/app/media/presentation/Evolution_pluggable_August2012.pdf
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