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What Is GBIC And Mini-GBIC(SFP)

People who have worked in the field of optical communications are not unfamiliar with GBIC.


What is the difference between GBIC and Mini GBIC? Which type should I use to match my network requirements?


GBIC(released in 2000) (The abbreviation of Gigabit Interface Converter )is an interface device that converts gigabit electrical signals into optical signals. GBIC is designed to be hot-pluggable and very popular in the 1990s...

GBIC module works at the wavelength from  850nm(For short reach)  ~ 1550nm(For long reach)  with SC duplex interface, while its transmit distance reach 550m to 80km.

For Scenes like campus、office buildings、goverment and data centers etc, there is no doubt that It was indeed a cost-effective option for users at that time. 

What Is GBIC And Mini-GBIC(SFP)

Then what happened? Why mini-GBIC came into being?

And GBIC gradually disappears.


Currently, GBIC is basically replaced by SFP(Released in 2001) for the following reasons(It can only be seen on some old equipment, many manufacturers have basically no longer produced GBIC):

  • SFP (Small Form-factor Pluggable) can be simply understood as an upgraded version of GBIC.

  • The volume of the SFP module is half that of the GBIC module, and the number of ports can be more than doubled on the same panel.

  • Since the SFP module is basically the same in function as GBIC, it is also called Mini-GBIC by some switch manufacturers.


At present, there are still a small number of users who choose GBIC for their equipment, as the old equipment cant support SFP.