GBIC vs SFP: Difference and Comparison

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

This helps interconversion between electrical and optical signals, as every transceiver does.

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

Key Takeaways

  1. GBIC (Gigabit Interface Converter) is an older, larger form factor for transceivers, while SFP (Small Form-factor Pluggable) is a more compact, newer design.
  2. SFP offers greater port density and flexibility than GBIC due to its smaller size.
  3. GBIC and SFP support data transmission over various distances and media types, including copper and fiber-optic cables.


GBIC (Gigabit Interface Converter) is a transceiver that converts electric current to light signals and vice versa, allowing data transmission over fiber optic or copper networking cables. SFP (Small Form-factor Pluggable) is a more compact version of GBIC with the same functionality but a smaller size.


It transmits optical signals after converting them into electrical ones, and the receiver on the other end converts the incoming signals to optical, thereby receiving 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).

Comparison Table

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.

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

Transceivers are devices that were 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 firms and mostly IT companies with local data transmission.


What is SFP?

SFP stands for Small Factor Pluggable.

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

This helps connect to the motherboard of a circuit, thereby increasing 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.

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 were invented.

Main Differences Between GBIC and SFP

  1. GBIC has lost its market value and has been out of the sale for some time now after the introduction of new versions, but SFP is still in demand despite later versions being released.
  2. The new version of GBIC is SFP, while the later version of SFP is SFP+.
Difference Between GBIC and SFP
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Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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