How to choose a right optical transceiver ?


A fiber optical transceiver is a photonic and electronic device that transmits and receives data over optical fibers rather than electrical wire. It is also called as an optical module or fiber optic module. Choosing a right fiber optic transceiver for your use is very important. Today’s main local carriers are major efforts to develop residential campus network and enterprise system, so that the number of fiber optic transceiver products is consistently improved to fulfill the needs of the access network building.

How to choose a right fiber optical transceiver when you don’t know the exact part number from equipment manufacturer ?

Blog -Cisco optical transceiver

You should consider following 7 key points before you place the order :

Form Factors

The multi source agreement (MSA) defines the different transceiver form factors. The MSA is an agreement between multiple vendors to manufacture optical transceivers that are used for different networking equipment. There are various types of Form Factors available in the market today. The most popular types include SFP, SFP+, QSFP, and some other types that are uncommonly used such as  CFP, CFP2, CFP4, 1×9, SFF, GBIC, XFP, SFF, X2, XENPAK, CSFP and so on. You should choose the right form factors based on your platform and real needs.

Blog - How to choose Fiber optic transceivers

Data Rate

Optical fiber’s bandwidth determines the data rate. The transceiver accommodates data rate on the basis of the standards such as Ethernet, Fibre Channel, SONET, SDH and InfiniBand. The emergence of the dual-rate optical transceiver is typical because of the cost consideration from 1G to 10G, 10G to 40G, 40G to 100G and it can be at a higher data rate that means Gigabit Ethernet is very fast. Dual-rate optical transceiver is a cost-effective solution to solve this query.

Transmission Distance or link budget

Fiber optic system is continuously restoring copper network, due to its different favorable circumstances such as high speed, high bandwidth, high density, and etc. Fiber optic cable can support much further distance than that of traditional copper cable like twisted pair wire or coax cable. However, in practice, the exact distance that fiber optic can support is limited by many factors. Transmission distance has become one of the biggest problems in the super fast optical communication. You have to make sense of the maximum distance or link budget needed in your fiber connection systems.

Fiber Mode

There are two modes to choose from in Fiber Optical Transceiver. Single Mode and Multimode, it is usually designed for systems of moderate to long distance like Metro or any other Long haul networks while on another hand Single mode optical fibers have a small core size which permits single mode or ray of light to be transmitted. Multimode transceiver usually cost less but give a short transmission distance (< 2km), while single mode transceiver allows a much longer distance of 160km at a higher cost.


It is very important to understand Wavelength while choosing fiber optical transceiver, our eyes are sensitive to lights of which wavelength is in the range of 400 nm to 700 nm. But in the fiber optics, lights are used in the infrared region which has wavelengths longer than visible light. Common wavelength usually comes from the range 850 nm to 1610 nm. Multimode fiber is specially designed that operate at 850 nm and 1310 nm, while single mode operates 1310 nm to 1550 nm.

Operating Temperature

Fiber optic transceivers have different operating temperatures when it is in use. For commercial fiber optic transceivers, it usually works at 0°C to 70°C, while for industrial usage, it works at -40°C. to 85°C.


There are so many brands of networking equipment, such as Cisco, Huawei, HP, Juniper, Fortinet, etc..,  they all have their own optical transceivers.  For most cases,  you will be recommended to use corresponding optical transceivers to prevent connection failure.  But you may also choose a compatible transceiver from OEM manufacturer or 3rd party when there is a budget limit. Then it’s very important to check the compatibility, which is a crucial part to check before you buy Fiber Optical Transceiver. It is essential to test the interoperability and compatibility of each fiber optic transceiver.  Because these networking equipment producers,  lock the third party transceivers and not allow non-certified module works with their switches. The compatibility is always an issue you face, you have to make an extensive research and ask the vendor to guarantee the same function as brand genuine one.

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