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What is Differences Between Switch Optical Ports and Ethernet Ports
Knowledge Base + 2024.02.01

Switches come in three types: those with purely Ethernet ports, those with purely optical ports, and those with a combination of both. Port types are limited to two: optical and Ethernet.

Optical ports on switches typically accommodate optical modules for transmitting data via fiber optic cables. In situations where there's a shortage of Ethernet ports, some users may insert Ethernet port modules into optical ports to connect with copper cables for data transmission.

Common optical port types for switches include 155M, 1.25G, 10G, 25G, 40G, and 100G.

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Ethernet ports on switches already integrate Ethernet port modules internally, eliminating the need for optical-electrical conversion. These ports utilize RJ45 interfaces and simply require Ethernet cables for data transmission. Common Ethernet port types for switches include 10M/100M/1000M and 10G. Ethernet speeds up to 1000M can be supported by Cat5 or Cat6 cables, while 10G networks require cables of at least Cat6A grade or higher.

Key differences between switch optical ports and Ethernet ports:

Different Transmission Rates: Optical ports commonly support speeds exceeding 100G, while Ethernet ports typically max out at 10G.

Different Transmission Distances: Optical ports with optical modules can transmit data over distances exceeding 100KM, while Ethernet ports connected with cables typically have a maximum transmission distance of around 100 meters.

Different Interface Types: Optical ports support connections with optical modules or Ethernet port modules, with interface types including LC, SC, MPO, and RJ45. Ethernet port modules, however, only support RJ45 interfaces.