SFP Fiber vs 1000Base-T for Gigabit Ethernet

Over the years, mutual competition and mutual dependence relations coexist among fiber and copper. For Gigabit Ethernet network, you can choose to deploy SFP fiber network or 1000Base-T copper network. So SFP fiber vs 1000Base-T for Gigabit Ethernet: which is better? How to choose one over the other?

SFP Fiber for Gigabit Ethernet

When deploying SFP fiber network for Gigabit Ethernet, usually you need SFP fiber transceivers and 1G Ethernet switch. Take FS.COM S5800-48F4S 48-Port Gigabit SFP switch for example, we can insert SFP fiber transceivers into the SFP ports and then use fiber patch cables to connect with other devices just as the following picture shown. For Gigabit Ethernet network, the greatest superiority of SFP fiber network is that you can choose different kinds of fiber transceivers to get long distance or short distance transmission by your requirements.

SFP fiber network for Gigabit Ethernet

Figure 1: SFP fiber network for Gigabit Ethernet

1000Base-T for Gigabit Ethernet

1000Base-T is a standard for Gigabit Ethernet over four pairs of unshielded copper cabling to achieve the gigabit data rate with a maximum length of 100 meters. “T” means twisted-pair cable. Generally, the Cat5/Cat5e/Cat6 cables can transmit data at 1000Mbps. 1000Base-T allows auto negotiation between 100Mbps and 1000Mbps, and the biggest advantage of 1000Base-T is that existing copper cabling can be used instead of having to rewire with optical fiber.

Cat5Cat5eCat6 Ethernet cables to connect 1000Base-T switch via the RJ45 copper ports

Figure 2: Cat5/Cat5e/Cat6 Ethernet cables to connect 1000Base-T switch via the RJ45 copper ports

For 1000Base-T copper network for Gigabit Ethernet, there are two solutions. One is using Cat5/Cat5e/Cat6 Ethernet cables to connect 1000Base-T switch via the RJ45 copper ports directly. And the other is using 1000Base-T SFP or copper SFP over Ethernet cables to connect two switches via the SFP ports. Both the two 1000Base-T copper network solutions deliver the same speed and transmission distance, but using the Ethernet cables to connect 1000Base-T switch via built-in RJ45 ports is more simple and cost-saving. Which 1000Base-T copper solution to choose depends on your Ethernet switch port types. If your Ethernet switch has both built-in RJ45 ports and SFP ports, choosing to deploy Ethernet cables via RJ45 ports will save you installation time and money.

Copper SFP over Ethernet cables to connect two switches via the SFP ports

Figure 3: Copper SFP over Ethernet cables to connect two switches via the SFP ports

Conclusion

From what have talked about, we can learn that SFP fiber vs 1000Base-T, both can achieve the 1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet network. Compared to 1000Base-T copper network, the SFP fiber network can transmit longer distance, but accordingly, it will cost more money. For 1000Mbps data transmission less than 100 meters, 1000Base-T copper solution is better. All in all, SFP fiber vs 1000Base-T, which to choose lies on your requirements and switch types.