Connectivity Considerations for 10G Ethernet

The exploding demand for Internet access to web-based applications, as well as integrated multimedia applications, has fueled the need for higher-bandwidth networks. 10G Ethernet, which takes the advantages of fast data transmission, good network performance and cost-effective property, has become commonplace for current network backbones and data centers to meet such increasing demand for faster speed network. Many companies and individuals are ready to upgrade networks to 10G infrastructure by themselves. What connectivity options can we use to achieve an efficient and smooth 10G Ethernet network? Read this post, and you will get some information.

10 Gigabit Ethernet

10 Gigabit Ethernet, first defined by the IEEE 802.3ae-2002, is a group of computer networking technologies for transmitting Ethernet frames at a rate of 10 gigabits per second. Different from the previous Ethernet standards, 10G Ethernet defines only full duplex point-to-point links which are generally connected by network switches, while like previous Ethernet standards, it can use either high-grade copper or fiber cabling, like cat6a or cat7 Ethernet cable for lengths up to 100 meters. The following table shows common 10GbE standards.

common 10GbE standards

10G Connectivity Options
10G Fiber Optic Transceiver

Fiber optic transceivers are the most commonly used component to achieve 10G data rate in telecommunications applications. They are housed and available in modules specified by multi-source agreement (MSA) which are created by module manufacturers and equipment OEMs. Over the past years, the form factor had evolved from XENPAK to X2 to XFP to SFP+ modules (as shown below).


  • XENPAK: XENPAK was supplied for physical layer interfaces supporting multimode and single-mode fiber optic cables and Infiniband copper cables with connectors known as CX4. It can achieve transmission distances varying from 100 m to 80 km over fiber and up to 15 m over CX4 cables. Since it is large and bulky, XENPAK modules have been gradually replaced by the newly reported transceiver modules.
  • X2: Like XENPAK, X2 transceiver can also support all the 10GbE standards, but it is about 2/3 the size of XENPAK, allowing for more port density on switches. X2 provides customers with a strong sense of assurance that this technology is the best choice for today and will have strong vendor support.
  • XFP: XFP transceiver is a standard for transceivers for high-speed computer network and telecommunication links that use optical fiber. It is a slightly larger form factor than the popular SFP+ transceivers, so it can allow switch vendors to increase port density in a smaller area for cost savings.
  • SFP+: SFP+ transceiver is the predominant 10G Ethernet connector, which is an extension of the SFP optical transceiver, designed to increase the capacity of the existing SFP module. This type of 10G module has attracted many customers, since it can achieve 10G speeds and has a mechanical form that allows 1G or 10G to reside in the same footprint.
10G Fiber Optic Cabling

As another type of 10G connectivity option, fiber optic cable, with large transmission capacity, strong anti-electromagnetic interference, high security and fast speed, also enjoys great popularity in 10G applications, such as remote campus connectivity, crowded wiring closets, long-distance communications and environments that need protection from interference. LC fiber patch cable (see in the following image) is one of the most common cables for 10G Ethernet, covering single-mode and multimode categories respectively for data transmission over long distance and short distance.

LC fiber patch cable

10G Copper Cabling

Copper cabling is popular for transmitting data between devices due to its low cost, easy installation and flexibility. The commonly used 10G copper-based options are 10G SFP+ twinax cable and 10GBase-T.

  • SFP+ twinax cable: 10G SFP+ twinax direct attach cable (DAC) integrates transceivers with twinax cables into an energy efficient, low-cost, and low-latency solution. It features SFP+ connectors on both ends, thus eliminating the need for expensive SFP+ transceivers. This type of option is only available for short data transmission distance. The following picture is a 1m Cisco SFP-H10GB-CU1M from Fiberstore.
  • 10GBase-T: 10GBase-T, also known as IEEE 802.3an, can support 10Gbit/s communications over unshielded twisted pair cabling. This option probably looks similar to the RJ45 ports and cabling you use to connect your laptop to a normal network jack, but the difference is that you should specialized network adapters with ports that support faster 10G throughput. Cat6 or cat6a cabling (as shown below) is typically used with 10GBase-T. Cat6 is specified for distances up to 55 m, while cat6a is for up to 100 m.

1m Cisco SFP-H10GB-CU1M

cat6 and cat6a Ethernet cable


Fiber optic transceiver, fiber optic cabling and copper cabling are three main connectivity options for 10G Ethernet. If you need to upgrade to 10G infrastructure, you should take these three options into consideration. And all of these equipment can be purchased in Fiberstore with high quality and low price. For more information, kindly visit FS.COM or

Previous Entries BiDi Fiber Optic Transceiver Overview Next Entries Fiber Optic Connector Cleaning Guide