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I'm doing a bit of product research for my company as we need to select a special use switch for an industrial customer which requires the use of both Ethernet and Fibre connectivity from the switch. During my investigations I found a few switches that seem to match my needs but only contain 8 or so Ethernet ports and then a multitude of SFP expansion slots.

I did a bit of research to find that it seems I would be allowed to purchase SFP adapters to slide into the expansion slots to allow us to select the appropriate ports but looking for such devices only pulls up more results for switches and not the devices I need.

Is there a different set of terms for these adapters beyond "SFP Expansion Slot" "Adapter" or the like?

Is my understanding of these expansion slots incorrect?

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2 Answers 2

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Those SFP-ports (small formfactor pluggable) are pretty common on higher end managable switches. I think you got them figured out correctly, you can usually put different gizmos in there to provide you with the type of network connectivity you need (copper, fibre, etc.). For finding the right SFP i would recommend to check the manual of the switch you picked and search for the model numbers of the SFPs that are compatible.

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Awesome thanks. Searching "SFP Expansion" or similar searches only turned up more switches with that as part of the description, I never thought to go digging through the manual for related parts. –  TheCapn Nov 1 '12 at 14:54
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"sfp transceiver" is a decent search term as well. –  Brian Nov 2 '12 at 7:34

The term you would want (For a gigabit copper SFP) is 1000Base T SFP

For fiber connections, 1000Base-SX SFP, 1000Base-LX SFP, 1000Base-BX SFP are some typical examples. SFP Module, as well as "transceiver" as mentioned in comment by Brian will pull up a broader range of results.

However, for copper ports, shopping a bit more is generally a lot more cost-effective than buying 1000Base T SFPs - switches with a few SFP slots and a bunch of 1000Base T ports are common, and tend to cost a whole lot less than a switch with a few 1000Base T slots and a multitude of SFP slots, plus a bunch of 1000Base T SFPs to fill them. In most cases it only makes (economic) sense to use SFP slots for fiber connections.

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