Using Dual-Speed SFPs to Reduce the Cost and Hassle of Storing Spare Parts, and Improve Network Logistics

Spare SFPs anyone? The hassle of stocking spare small form factor pluggable (SFP) transceivers
is a challenge for many enterprises.

SFP

With Gigabit Ethernet (1 Gig) and 10 Gigabit Ethernet (10 Gig) network connections growing, and an evolution from 1 Gig to 10 Gig, many companies have a never-ending need for extra SFPs. Network downtime while these SFP parts are on order is simply unacceptable. But spare inventory is costly to purchase, challenging to stock enough to accommodate multiple network types, and difficult to keep organized. Furthermore it involves predicting demand for both 1 Gig and 10 Gig parts in your network- hence the great challenge.

The question then becomes: “Is there a way to minimize the stocking of spare SFP inventory and to ensure that the right parts are always available?” Since most IT departments are made up of engineers and not logistics personnel, anything that can be done to simplify the management of stocking spare parts, while not impacting network uptime, is worthwhile to consider.

The Dual-Speed Solution

After working with customers facing this challenge, one successful solution Transition Networks has seen is to utilize dual-speed (1 Gig/10 Gig) SFPs and stock one part for both network types. In large networks that support both Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet, it makes sense to stock dual-speed, autosensing SFPs because they can be plugged into any equipment and autosense the right connection speed. While the short-term costs of this strategy may be higher, they’re offset by the cost of lower inventory. Another impactful benefit is that your network is future-proof and you have faster installation times and less potential downtime.

For single mode networks, Transition Networks offers the TN-10GSFP-LRxM Series of 1000Base-X/10GBase-X SFP+ modules for single mode fiber (LC connector) connections. The three models in this series support LX/LR, EX/ER, and ZX/ZR with a maximum link distance of 80 km. Digital monitoring of network fiber cable conditions is done using the Digital Monitoring Interface (DMI) that is built into the SFPs.

For multimode networks, Transition Networks offers the TN-10GSFP-SRM which has all of the features and maximum transmission distance of the single mode version, but with a multimode LC connector. Additionally, we offer Coarse Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (CWDM) and Dense Wavelength-Division Multiplexing (DWDM) SFPs that can work at either 1G or 10G data rates. The TN-10SFP-LR8M-Cxx has 8 CWDM wavelength options with a maximum link distance of 80 km while the TN-10GSFP-LRxM-Dxx provides full ITU-T 100GHZ DWDM wavelength grids with distance options of 40 km or 80 km.

Stocking spare networking parts is an essential element to the management of enterprise networks but dual-speed SFPs can be the ideal solution. Network managers have a tough job and being prepared with ready solutions and equipment, while minimizing costs and downtime, can result in fewer headaches and maybe even a pat on the back once in a while!