Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between GBIC and SFP


In order to interconnect a fiber optic medium into a motherboard, you need to have a connector like the GBIC or SFP. “GBIC” stands for “Gigabit Interface Converter” and was quite popular in the 1990s. It served as a standard way of connecting to different media like copper and fiber optic cables. In contrast, “SFP” stands for “Small Form-Factor Pluggable,” which also serves the very same purpose as GBIC. The main difference between GBIC and SFP is their size. SFP is considerably smaller than GBIC.

The difference in size is very desirable for many people, especially for those who deal with lots of them, because it will take up a lot less space. Considering that space in a server location is quite limited, using SFP lets you put more within one rack unit than if you used GBIC. Because of this single difference, SFP rapidly gained popularity with administrators who want to maximize their space. As SFP became more popular, GBIC also fell out of favor. Nowadays, GBIC is considered to be obsolete, and you would be hard pressed to find vendors that still carry equipment that is compatible with GBIC. SFP is still widely being used nowadays but is also under pressure from newer standards like SFP+.

If you are considering which one is better than the other in terms of performance, there is no comparison. The characteristics of the two, whether for electrical or for fiber optics, are just about identical. So switching from one to the other will not really help your network perform better or make it worse. Still, if you are planning to build a new setup and have older equipment lying around, it may be a better choice to go with the newer SFP rather than spending so much on acquiring GBIC compatible equipment. You may save on your initial purchases as they are understandably cheaper now, but you will be spending more in the long run when the equipment starts to fail and you cannot find replacements. Your only option then would be to dump the old equipment and buy a new set.


1.GBIC is larger than SFP.
2.SFP is in prominent use while GBIC is already obsolete.
3.GBIC and SFP are equal in performance.

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