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Single Mode SFP vs Multimode SFP: What’s the Difference?

Jul. 20, 2022

SFP transceiver module, also known as small form-factor pluggable or mini GBIC, is a hot-pluggable optical transceiver module that is commonly used for both telecommunication and data communications applications. According to the cable, type is used together, SFP transceivers are divided into single mode SFP and multimode SFP. Single mode SFP works with single mode fiber, while multimode SFP works with multimode fiber. Well, what are the other differences between single mode SFP and multimode SFP? Here has a detailed introduction to single mode SFP vs multimode SFP.

 

Single mode SFP vs multimode SFP

What are Single Mode SFP & Multimode SFP?

As mentioned above, single mode SFP (SMF SFP) works over single-mode fiber whose typical core diameter is 9µm. And the cladding diameter of a single mode fiber is 125µm. Single mode SFP works mainly in 1310nm and 1550nm wavelengths. Therefore, it is suitable for long-reach data transmission applications reaching 2 km, 10 km, 40 km, 60 km, 80 km, and 120 km. There are many types of single mode SFP modules, for instance, 1000BASE-EX, 1000BASE-ZX and so on.

Dual Fiber 155m 4.25g SFP Transceivers

Dual Fiber 155m 4.25g SFP Transceivers

 

Multimode SFP (MMF SFP) works over multimode fiber with the core diameter of 50 µm and 62.5 µm, and the cladding diameter is 125µm as well. The common multimode SFPs work in 850nm wavelength and are used for short distance transmission, reaching 100 m and 500 m. There are many types of multimode SFP modules such as 1000BASE-SR and so on.

 

Single Mode SFP vs Multimode SFP: What’s the Difference?

There are several main differences between single mode SFP and multimode SFP:


Single Mode SFP vs Multimode SFP: Working Wavelength

The single mode SFP module has a narrower laser wavelength, which works mainly in 1310nm and 1550nm wavelengths. Whereas the multimode SFP module works in 850nm wavelength due to the larger core size.

 

Single Mode SFP vs Multimode SFP: Color Coding

The color-coded bale clasp and color arrow of single-mode SFP modules are generally designed in blue, yellow or purple. Blue is the 1310nm module, yellow is the 1550nm module and purple is the 1490nm module. And the color of the compatible fiber optic patch cord is yellow. While the color-coded bale clasp and color arrow on the label of multimode SFP modules are black and the used fiber optic patch cord is usually orange.


1.25G BIDI SFP 3KM

 1.25G BIDI SFP 3KM

 

Single Mode SFP vs Multimode SFP: Transmitter

Single mode SFP and multimode SFP use different types of transmitters.

 

They can be tested on the wafer level and don’t need a hermetic package. They have complex layer structures and often require a hermetic package to achieve higher emission power and stable single mode operation. Therefore, Edge-emitting lasers are more costly than VCSELs.

 

Single Mode SFP vs Multimode SFP: Cost

When comparing single mode SFP vs multimode SFP in terms of cost, single mode SFP is more expensive than multimode SFP. The cost difference between single mode SFP and multimode SFP mainly arises from the different transmitters they use. As mentioned above, the transmitter of single mode SFP is more costly than that of multimode SFP. Hence, the multimode SFP module is cheaper.

 

How to buy And Use Single Mode SFP & Multimode SFP?

When we buy single mode SFP or multimode SFP in the market, we must confirm the transmission distance and wavelength we need. This will help us to choose the right SFP types more efficiently. The cost for transceiver modules is also a significant factor considered by many users. Well, the compatible SFP module should be recommended as a simple and convenient choice. Because it not only sacrifices no quality or reliability but also has a low cost. Hope these tips could help you make an informed decision.