What is an SFP Optical Module?

Optical transceivers are devices that are used for connecting different network devices such as Network Interface Card  (NIC), switches, and media converters. An SFP or Small-Form Factor Pluggable Module is a hot-pluggable and compact optical transceiver module that is used in data communication and telecommunication applications. Being hot-pluggable, it can be added or removed when the system is running, allowing for easier replacement and installation.

The standards for SFP optical modules are laid down by an MSA (Multi-Source Agreement). SFP optical modules support gigabit ethernet, SONET, and fibre channel among various communication channels. They are thus developed as well as supported by many vendors of network components.

So what are the different SFP optical modules in the market? Which are the best ones that you can get on Amazon, and what should you consider before making a choice? These are exactly the questions that we will try to answer next.

Check out the thorough reviews of the best 10 SFP optical modules of 2021 below.

1. QSFPTEK 10G SFP Optical Module

Best SFP Optical Module for 2021 - The Buying Guide-10TechPro

The QSFPTEK 10G SFP optical module is compatible with a range of open switches, including Cisco, Ubiquiti, Mikrotik, Netgear, and many others. It is ideal for use with routers, fiber switches, servers, NICs, and other fiber optic and server equipment that have 10Gb SFP+ ports. It has a multimode-duplex LC connector with a 10 Gb/s data rate.

It also has DDM or Digital Diagnostics Monitoring that allows for real-time monitoring of critical information and finding out problems. QSFPTEK offers a high-quality SFP Optical Module that has been individually tested on different switches for providing a wide compatibility range.

Pros

  • Compatible with a wide range of switches
  • Digital diagnostics Monitoring for real-time information
  • High-quality construction

Cons

  • The maximum cable distance is limited to 300m
  • Slight heating issue reported with UBNT gear

2. H!Fiber.com 1000Base-T-Compatible SFP Optical Module

Best SFP Optical Module for 2021 - The Buying Guide-10TechPro

H!Fiber.com’s 1000  Base-T fiber optic transceiver with an RJ45 interface is an SFP Optical Module that is suitable for a variety of applications include ethernet, Catalyst switches, Wireless LAN Controllers, and Routers among many others that have a 1G SFP port. It uses an imported chip that is designed to offer high-performance while consuming low power and facilitate a fast and stable transmission of signals.

This module has a simple plug-and-play installation to save you from any hassles. You get a data rate of 1.25Gb/s with this optical module, with a maximum reach of 100-meters. The Category-5 copper wire further adds to its performance and high-quality. H!Fiber provides a 30-day return period along with 3-years of warranty and service along with this SFP Optical Module.

Pros

  • Chip ensures low power consumption with high performance
  • Simple installation and set up
  • 30-day return with a 3-year warranty

Cons

  • No real-time diagnostics
  • Have a higher running temperature that is not reported to the switch

3. 10GTek 10GBase SFP Optical Module

Best SFP Optical Module for 2021 - The Buying Guide-10TechPro

This 10GBase SFP Optical Module from 10GTek comes with a 300-meter range and a 10G data rate. As per its official specs, it is made specifically for Mikrotik’s S+85DLC03D; it also works equally well with Ubiquiti gear. Installation is simple and all it takes is to plug it in. The free-coding service by 10GTek writes specific codes with password protection and ensures testing for best compatibility and functioning. The password protection eliminates any chances of an error like ‘unsupported transceiver’ that is common in 3rd party modules.

10GTek module works out of the box and is an ideal OEM replacement in most cases. With one of the longest ranges in their category, this SFP Optical Module may just be what you need to solve connectivity problems. It is backed by a 3-year manufacturer warranty.

Pros

  • 300m reach with a 10G data rate
  • Works with a range of brands as OEM replacement
  • Affordable and high-quality

Cons

  • Not compatible with individual switches like AT&T fiber switch
  • Heating issues with Cisco switches

4. H!Fiber  1000Base SFP Optical Module Single-Mode

Best SFP Optical Module for 2021 - The Buying Guide-10TechPro

This SFP Optical Module provides a 1.25 Gbps data rate with a 10km reach.  It has a duplex LC connector and 1000Base LX/LH Gigabit ethernet. This optical module is ideal for a range of applications, from Catalyst switches to industrial ethernets and various other routers and appliances. They are a perfect replacement for OEM switches providing excellent performance without any significant cons.

This SFP optical module is ready to work out of the box and does not require any installation. Simply plug it in and you are all set to go. For Cisco devices ensure that firmware is updated to the latest version. It also has an extended temperature range of 32 to 158 °F. DDM is also included to provide real-time data and a faster diagnosis of any issues.

Pros

  • Simplified setup
  • DDM for real-time data and diagnostics
  • Durable product with a high operating temperature range

Cons

  • No official warranty/guarantee information provided
  • Separate variants for Cisco, Netgear, and Ubiquiti

5. ipolex 10G SFP Twinax Optical module

Best SFP Optical Module for 2021 - The Buying Guide-10TechPro

The ipolex 10G SFP twinax optical module comes with a 10GBase-CU, available in lengths from 0.5m to 7m. It works with a range of switches, including those from Cisco, D-link,Palo Alto, ZTE, Mikrotik, and Netgear, among others. The module is suitable for various applications from data centers to NAS (Network Attached Storage) to high-processing computing centers and others.

The small form factor provides a stable connection and better control over the bending angle. This also provides long life for the cable. The chip enables higher performance with low power consumption. The gold-plated plug makes it suitable for repeated plugging and unplugging as needed.

Pros

  • 3-year warranty, 30-day return period
  • Designed for durability and long service life
  • Versatile applications

Cons

  • Incompatible with certain Ubiquiti switches
  • When connecting SFP to SFP+ port, requires powering down of 10G port to 1G

How To Pick The Best SFP Optical Module

Now that you know which are some of the best SFP optical modules in the market, you may be wondering how you can single out and select one that is best for your requirement. To help you with just that, we have compiled a list of the most important factors and considerations that you must go through.

Compatibility

Compatibility is the first and most important parameter to consider. Is it compatible with the specific devices you need it with? Just because the details list that it works with ‘Netgear’ or some other manufacturer products does not guarantee compatibility. Check specific switches or model numbers, user reviews, and product documentation to be sure of compatibility.

Operating Temperature and Stability

SFP optical modules are mostly used in data centers or with switches where the temperature ranges can vary. Ensure that the ones you are considering are recommended to work within the desired temperature range and do not overheat. Temperature stability is important as too high or low temperatures can affect optical sensibility and powers.

Manufacturer Support and Service

After-sales service and manufacturer support ensure that the SFP optical module lasts long and gives you the best performance. Often, there are some minor issues that may prevent it from working, such as a firmware upgrade. Something like this can be easily diagnosed and fixed if manufacturer support is available.

Warranty

Always go for a product that has at least 2 to 3 years of manufacturer warranty. This ensures that you do not have to search for frequent replacements and get the best out of your investment.

Budget

Your budget is also an important consideration. If you take care of all the above factors, then 3rd party SFP optical modules will help you save significant money without any compromise on performance and quality.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between SFP+ and SFP, and can SFP be used in SFP+ slots?

While both of them have the same appearance and size, SFP+ transceivers support speeds up to 10.3 Gbps while SFP supports up to 4Gbps. While SFP+ port does accept SFP optics in most cases, the speed has to be downgraded to 1G from 10G. However, the other way is not possible- you cannot plug SFP+ optics in an SFP port.

  • What are the best maintenance tips for the SFP module?

The end face must be kept clean while avoiding prolonged exposure in the air. The environmental humidity of the SFP transceiver must be kept normal, and it must be inserted gently to avoid any form of damage.

  • What is the life of an SFP Optical Module?

Most vendors guarantee a lifespan of at least 3-years for the modules. Good quality modules, when taken care of properly, can easily last 3-5 years or more.

Final thoughts

Finding an SFP optical module is not hard when you consider all the right factors. You can easily get the best SFP optical modules from Amazon that will provide you value for money and ensure that you get the best equipment for your project. The high-quality SFP modules that we have reviewed above are sure to save your money while ensuring high-performance and reliability throughout.