Optical Transceivers: Their Change Through The YearsJune 7, 2021
For Ethernet systems, optical transceivers serve a necessary role in conveying information across communication channels. Transceivers act as the all-in-one objects that receive and convey information, similar to transmitters and receivers found in radios and telephone systems. With an optical transceiver, networks save more space and avoid the need of having a transmitter and receiver inside a network. Capable of transmitting information further and faster than older models, the newer transceivers continue to change the way transceivers are used and appear, making for smaller, more compact modules than before.
The earliest of devices were created for Gigabit Ethernet networks and were preferred for their hot-swappable abilities similar to the newer SFP modules of today. GBIC, or Gigabit Interface Converters, allowed networks the ability to transmit data across copper optical transceiver module or fiber-optic channels, creating a more versatile device than transmitters and receivers. Of course, GBIC modules were not without their imperfections, and many had size and compatibility issues that limited their ability to transmit data across particular distances and at certain wavelengths.
With increased support across longer distances and for multiple wavelengths, XENPAK transceivers became the new standard. Unlike GBIC transceivers that sent information across either copper or fiber optic channels, XENPAK devices included support for both networks, creating a better, more flexible module. Unlike the bigger GBIC transceivers, XENPAK modules were capable of conveying data across short and long distances due to their configuration settings located inside the devices. When utilizing a single-mode configuration, networks create a single ray of light to send data across a long distance, while they use a multi-mode setup to transmit information across short distances. Both single and multi-mode fiber optics were utilized by networks, creating the XENPAK device ideal.
10 Gigabit Ethernet
When the 10 Gigabit Ethernet standard took hold, the older XENPAK transceivers could no longer keep up with the newer X2 and XPAK modules that were made. The smaller, more flexible X2 and XPAK standards allowed for even more support for the different Ethernet standards and were capable of transmitting data across longer distances. When newer SFP modules, such as Cisco SFP transceivers, came into existence, the competing standards of X2 and XPAK could not continue to control the market as they once had. SFP modules allowed for more configuration standards for networks, providing various wavelength and distance configurations for Ethernet.
As standards transform, so does the technology that utilizes these standards, creating for faster, smaller transceivers for networks to utilize in sending information. With the newer technology, improved transceivers will begin to appear, making the communication of information across networks better and more proficient