Transceivers – Information
This document is designed to provide a reference guide for locating frequently requested information regarding
pluggable optical transceivers; better known to as GBICs, SFP/ SFP+s, XFPs, XENPAKs, X2s or other. Although much of
this information is found on Cisco’s website, sometimes it can be difficult to locate.
Link Lengths – Summary - per Standards (courtesy of the Fiber Optics Association [FOA])
Home Page, Transceivers - Cisco
Compatibility Information by Platform
DOM (Digital Optical Monitoring)
Data Sheets, Transceivers
Small Business
Small Business
ONS Series
ONS Series
Wavelength Division Multiplexing (xWDM) – Cisco
 CWDM = Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing
 DWDM = Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing
 EWDM = Enhanced Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM + DWDM)
CWDM Passive Devices
CWDM Optical Modules
DWDM Passive Devices
CWDM + DWDM Passive Prisma Passive Devices
Devices (EWDM)
DWDM Optical Modules
Transponder, Stand-alone, SFP-based – Cisco
Device allows any client optical interface to be converted to a CWDM or DWDM wavelength
Mode Conditioning Patch Cords
These cables are sometimes required when connecting GE and 10GE optical transceivers over some multi-mode fiber
types. Use is outlined in data sheet
Installation, Maintenance and Troubleshooting
SFP and SFP+ Transceiver Module Installation Notes
Switch Port and Interface Problems
Page | 1
Connector and Adapter Cleaning Products
Inspection and Cleaning White Paper
Basics of Fiber Optics (courtesy of the FOA)
Fiber Types in Digital Gigabit Optical Communications – Cisco
Clarifying Optical Parameters, Power Budgets, and Fiber Plant Requirements for 10GBASE-E and 10GBASE-L – Cisco
Query Digital Optical Monitoring Information
ASR Series
WAN-A#show hw-module subslot 0/3 transceiver 0 status
The Transceiver in slot 0 subslot 3 port 0 is enabled.
Module temperature
= 25.207 C
Transceiver Tx bias current
= 36506 uAmps
Transceiver Tx power
= -1.8 dBm
Transceiver Rx optical power
= -5.7 dBm
WAN-A#sh inv | i XFP
NAME: "SPA subslot 0/3", DESCR: "1-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet Shared Port Adapter XFP based"
Good DOM reference blog entry
Common Questions
Q. Can I use different optical transceiver package styles (SFP, GBIX, X2, XENPAK, etc.) on the ends of a single fiber link?
A. Yes. The various transceiver packaging styles (SFP, GBIX, X2, XENPAK, etc.) are mainly the result of
improvements in technology manufacturing; allowing smaller packages for the same performance. The key to
simplifying your network is to select transceivers that have the same performance (wavelength, reach [SX, LX,
ZX, etc.]) at each end of the link.
Q. Can I use different connector types (LC, SC, etc.) at each end of the link or within the link?
A. Yes. The connector type is generally a function of the density of the transceiver. A GBIC transceiver is larger
than an SFP transceiver; the GBIC uses the larger “SC” style of optical connecter while the SFP/SFP+ transceiver
uses the smaller “LC” style of optical connector. Many times the interconnecting optical jumper cables will need
to have different connector styles at each end; and example is having a SFP (LC connector) installed in a router
connected to a SC port on a patch panel.
Page | 2
Q. What about Mode Conditioning Patch cords (MCP)?
A. When selecting an optical transceiver, watch the transceiver’s user documentation for when a MCP should
be used (see previous link for MCP information). They are sometimes required when your network’s installed
optical cable is OM1 or OM2 rated multimode fiber (MMF). In short, the MCP is an optical jumper that
transitions the transmit fiber from a single mode fiber (SMF) to a multimode fiber.
Q. Will I need to install optical attenuators to decrease the received power level in my fiber optic links?
A. If you are selecting an optical transceiver that closely matches your network fiber‘s link length, then In most
cases, you will not need to add an optical attenuator. In most cases, the link needs an optical attenuator at the
receiver ends of the link because the transceiver selected is designed for fiber links that are longer than the
user’s current link. This happens most often when prototyping a network; where the equipment may be
connected “back-to-back” with a short jumper cable. Then, read the transceiver’s data sheet for information on
operation with short jumpers. Or, compare the transceiver’s “Transmitter optical output power (maximum)“
with the “Receive power (maximum). It the transmitter output is greater than the receiver’s maximum input
power specification, then an attenuator may be necessary.
Page | 3
Q. If my equipment doesn’t support CWDM or DWDM transceivers, how can I transport the signal over a WDM
A. If the equipment that does not support WDM optical interfaces, a transponder module (media converter) can
be used to convert the grey transceiver wavelength (850nm/1300nm/1310nm/1550nm) to a 14xx nm to 15xx
nm wavelength. Transponders are also typically a component in WDM systems, such as the Cisco ONS 15454
Multi-service Transport Platform (MSTP).
The diagram below highlights two options for putting multiple links (using wavelengths) onto 2 fibers:
Page | 4
Q. How much bandwidth can my single mode fiber (SMF) support?
A. Single mode fiber has an extremely large bandwidth capacity. The following diagram shows how bandwidth
can be scaled on SMF. Scaling bandwidth on fiber is not inexpensive. Depending upon the network, it may be
more cost effective to install additional fibers instead of adding WDM technology.
Hope this document has been helpful! 
Page | 5