Ethernet made it possible for computer systems to share information among one another, so one computer in France could share data with a computer in North America. However, in order for computers to share information, Ethernet needs to convey packets of data over the CAT5 wire. A pitfall seen by early computer networks was usually the loss of data that took place when transferring large amounts of information across Ethernet wires. Look at Ethernet as the pathway which information travels on, and think what will occur if that highway becomes congested with traffic; it will cause a dip in transfer speeds. When newer Ethernet standards were designed, computer networks could transfer more packets of data without the risk of losing any information. One of the technologies put into effect in computer systems to transfer data more efficiently was SFP modules.
The SFP Revolution
Some were called SFP transceivers, others mini-GBIC, but all of these little products made it possible for Ethernet networks to convey data across longer distances at a very efficient rate that previous transceivers could not replicate. Gigabit transceivers conquered the networking business in the late 90s, but when the newer Ethernet standards began to appear, older transceivers were no longer useful. Networks that used fiber optics and copper wiring experienced the obvious benefit in using SFP modules, which were smaller and presented multiple configuration selections.
In addition to the included capabilities, SFP modules made it feasible for networks to send data over longer distances than previous devices, a perk that the computer industry could not afford to ignore. With so many module options available to network programmers, people could set up their system how they saw fit, selecting the type of wiring the system used or the distance it could send information over. For example, a network administrator who used Cisco SFP modules for a network could utilize one such product to configure the network to use various wavelengths and send data over short and long distances.
Faster, more efficient communication standards are already beginning to pop up, and so will newer, better transceivers. There once was a time when Gigabit standards were the best communication method available, but now, 100 Gigabit transceivers are popping up, allowing systems to send information 100 times faster than before. Standards will keep transforming, but so will the modules seen in networks.