Difference Between XFP and SFP (With Table)

The optical module refers to an indispensable building block as well as an enabler for carrying out seamless data transmission in fiber optic networking. The 10G fiber optic transceivers continue to be popular in the market. The XFP module and SFP transceiver are two such optic transceivers available in the market.

XFP vs SFP

The difference between XFP and SFP is that XFP 10G optical module was launched on July 19, 2002, and SFP 10G optical module was launched on May 9, 2006. They share the same type of fiber: OS1/OS2/OM3/OM4 and Connector: LC Duplex. However, there are differences as well.

XFP is the acronym for “10 gigabits small form-factor pluggable”. It is a standard for those transceivers that enable high-speed computer networks as well as telecommunication links using optical fiber. A group of organizations defined it in 2002. The transceiver of XFP is defined by XFP MSA. It is a larger form factor of the SFP.

SFP refers to the “small form-factor pluggable,” an interface module. It is a hot-pluggable network. It is utilized for telecommunication as well as data communications applications. The module continues to exist after so many years and is popularly used all over the world as an industry standard. It is also called mini-gbic. It is a smaller form factor of XFP.

Comparison Table Between XFP and SFP

Parameters of ComparisonXFPSFP
Full-FormXFP is is the abbreviation for 10 Gigabit Small Form Factor Pluggable.SFP is the abbreviation for Small Form Factor Pluggable. 
StandardThe transceiver of XFP is defined by XFP MSA.The enhanced version of SFP is defined by SFP+ MSA.
SizeIt is comparatively bigger in size.It is comparatively smaller in size.
Data RateIts data rates can be up to 10Gbps.The data rates can vary- 6Gbps, 8.5Gbps, 10Gbps.
ReleaseIt was first released on July 19, 2002.It was first released on May 9, 2006.

What is XFP?

XFP is the shortened form of “10 gigabits small form-factor pluggable”. XFP modules exist as hot-swappable as well as multiple physical layers supporting variants. Their typical operating wavelength varies between 850 nm, 1310 nm, or 1550 nm. There are many things included in the Principal applications. The user is guaranteed an experience that provides faster transmission data in the individual’s computer network, including the telecommunication links. The module is said to be hot-swappable as well as protocol independent. They possess the ability to operate over one wavelength or dense wavelength division multiplexing techniques. Digital diagnostics are included for providing management. And for achieving higher density, LC fiber connectors are used by XFP modules.

XFP Multi-Source Agreement Group developed the XFP specification. The preliminary specification was first published in 2002. However, it was first publicly released on July 19, 2002. It was adopted in 2003 and updated by August 2005. The maintenance of the website of the organization was done till 2009. The XFP MSA group also developed the XFI. A variety of transmitter and receiver types are available in XFP. These varieties allow a user to select the right transceiver for each link for providing necessary optical reach across available optical fiber types. They are also available in different categories.

What is SFP? 

SFP, also called mini-gbic, is a smaller form factor of XFP. These are popularly used in data transmission and telecommunications. By using SFP’s transceiver, a user is guaranteed to make the signal as well as telecommunication better. Equipment of individual ports with the appropriate type of transceiver can be done using these. This is also a big advantage in comparison with fixed interfaces such as modular connectors in Ethernet switches. A multi-source agreement MSA specifies the form factor and electrical interface. By some vendors, it has also been referred to as a mini-GBIC. 

In the beginning, generally, the speeds for Ethernet SFPs were 1 Gbit/s and for Fibre Channel SFP modules up to 4 Gbit/s. Later the speeds were brought up to 10 Gbit/s by SFP+ specification in 2006. The four-lane Quad Small Form-factor Pluggable (QSFP) is a bit larger than SFP. The speeds 4 times the corresponding SFP are allowed by the additional lanes. The QSFP28 variant, which allowed speeds up to 100 Gbit/s, was published in 2014. Later the QSFP56 was standardized. As a result, the speeds were doubled, that is up to 200 Gbit/s in 2019. SFP transceivers also come in a variety of transmitter and receiver specifications.

Main Differences Between XFP and SFP

  1. The full form of XFP is 10 Gigabit Small Form Factor Pluggable. SFP is the abbreviation for Small Form Factor Pluggable. And SFP+ is the abbreviation for Small Form Factor Pluggable Plus.
  2. The transceiver of XFP is defined by XFP MSA. The enhanced version of SFP known as the SFP+ is defined by SFP+ MSA. 
  3. The XFP is comparatively bigger in size. The SFP and SFP+ are comparatively smaller in size.
  4. The data rates of XFP can be up to 10Gbps. The data rates of SFP+ can vary- 6Gbps; 8.5Gbps; 10Gbps.
  5. The XFP was first released on July 19, 2002. The SFP+ was first released on May 9, 2006.

Conclusion 

The SFP and SFP+ are available in the same size along with different speeds and compatibility. SFP+ & XFP are used in 10-Gigabit Ethernet applications. For certain applications, the SFP protocol specification is applied. Both the modules are 10G fiber optical modules. Typically utilized in 10G fiber optic networking. Both are popular and are excellent options. 

Even though they seem similar, there are several differences. XFP is the shortened form of 10 Gigabit Small Form Factor Pluggable, and SFP is shortened form of Small Form Factor Pluggable. In comparison with SFP, XFP is bigger in size. For XFP, data rates can be up to 10Gbps, and for SFP+, up to 16Gbps too. XFP’s initial release was in 2002, whereas SFP’s initial release was in 2006. Both of them are available in a wide variety of specifications for a better user experience. This is because these varieties allow a user to select the right transceiver for each link.

References

  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1576377/
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/6706166/
x
2D vs 3D