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Unlock the Misunderstanding Between Transceiver and Transponder

Dec 21st 2015 at 6:46 PM

Here's a question that has been obsessing me for a while. What's the difference between a transceiver and a transponder? Since they have a same prefix “trans”, people have misconception about the two. Normally, I see transponders associated with microwave communications, but the terms still seem interchangeble. Therefore, in today’s article, we are going to talk about the difference between them to help you unlock the misunderstanding about the transceiver and transponder.

First we need to fully understand transceivers and transponders to be able to compare the two. This is a question that requires a clear and concise answer to dismiss any presumptions or misconception around the subject.

What Is Fiber Optic Transceiver?
To begin with, a transceiver is a device which include both a receiver and transmitter (the name "transceiver" is actually short for transmitter-receiver). The purpose of a transceiver is to transmit and receive data. In telecommunication field, the common used transceivers are hot-pluggable plugging into module sockets to connect the electrical circuitry of the module with the optical or copper network. In addition to sending information back and forth, they also help direct the flow of traffic, convert data, and even format information as it comes in and out of the pike. There are many types of transceivers in the market, including optical transceivers, which are used in fiber optic settings like cable and networking interfaces, including GBIC, SFP, SFP+, XFP, CFP, QSFP, etc. Figure 1 shows a MGBLX1. It is a SFP module used for both telecommunication and data communications applications supporting a link length of up to 10km.


Introduction to Fiber Optic Transponder
A transponder includes a transmitter and a responder. If used for identification (think of transponders in an airplane setting, for instance), its function is to send out an identifier signal when an outside signal requests identification. But when used in telecom field, a transponder is the element that sends and receives the optical signal from a fiber. It acts as a channel where data such as images, video, and audio can travel. This type of transponder is used for satellites and broadcasting. According to its specific applications, it is also known as wavelength-converting transponder, WDM transponder or fiber to fiber media converter. After the short definition of the transceiver and transponder, it seems that they are both functionally similar devices that convert a full-duplex signal in a full-duplex optical signal. So who wins the battle of the transceiver vs. transponder?

Transceiver vs. Transponder
One way that a transceiver differs from a transponder is through their respective interfaces. A transceiver uses a serial interface, while a transponder uses a parallel interface. This causes a difference in consumption of resources, such as power. Figure 2 shows a contrast between transponder (Standalone 10G OEO Converter Repeater with XFP Slot to XFP Slot) and transceiver (GP-QSFP-40GE-1LR—Compatible Dell Force QSFP+ transceiver). Additionally, transceivers are limited to provide an electrical-optical function, while transponders convert between two different optical wavelengths. This has an effect on energy consumption, bandwidth, and data transmission rates as well.

contrast between transponder and transceiver

Hopefully this article has helped you to fully understand transceivers, transponders, and the difference between the two to help you unlock the misconception. And you will To find the best transceivers and transponders to suit your business, please visit Fiberstore. We supply a variety of optical transceivers and transponders for you to choose from. This way you can find the most effective and suitable product for your business needs.

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