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What is the difference between RJ45 port and SFP port?
Knowledge Base + 2024.01.10

RJ45 ports and SFP (Small Form-factor Pluggable) ports serve different purposes and are used for different types of network connections. Here are the key differences between the two: 

  1. Physical Connector:

    • RJ45 Port: This is a standard Ethernet port that uses an 8P8C (8 positions, 8 contacts) modular connector. It is the most common type of network port and is typically associated with twisted pair cables (e.g., Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a) for copper-based Ethernet connections.

    • SFP Port: This is a modular port designed to accommodate SFP transceivers. SFP ports can support a variety of optical and electrical interfaces by plugging in different SFP transceiver modules. The physical connector for SFP is smaller and more versatile than the RJ45 port.

  2. Media Type:

    • RJ45 Port: Used for copper-based Ethernet connections, typically supporting data rates from 10/100 Mbps (Fast Ethernet) to 1 Gbps (Gigabit Ethernet) and higher.

    • SFP Port: Supports both copper (using SFP transceivers) and fiber-optic connections (using various types of SFP transceivers like SX, LX, SR, LR, etc.). SFP ports can be used for various data rates, including 1 Gbps, 10 Gbps, 25 Gbps, 40 Gbps, and even higher, depending on the specific SFP transceiver module.

  3. Use Cases:

    • RJ45 Port: Commonly used for local area network (LAN) connections within short to moderate distances.

    • SFP Port: Offers more flexibility for various network architectures, including both short-range and long-range connections, as well as support for different types of cabling (copper or fiber).

  4. Hot Swapping:

    • RJ45 Port: Hot-swappable, allowing you to plug or unplug cables while the equipment is powered on.

    • SFP Port: SFP transceivers are also hot-swappable, providing flexibility for network upgrades or maintenance.

In summary, RJ45 ports are associated with traditional copper-based Ethernet connections, while SFP ports offer more versatility, supporting both copper and fiber-optic connections through the use of interchangeable SFP transceivers. The choice between them depends on the specific requirements of the network and the type of media used for data transmission.