What Is a GBIC Transceiver?

Andrew Kirmayer

A gigabit interface converter (GBIC) transceiver is one of the many types of transceivers that can send and receive data. The purpose of a GBIC transceiver is to digitally convert media between a gigabit Ethernet network and a separate fiber optic based network. From this single device, connections can be made using single- or multi-mode fiber optic ports as well as copper wiring. It is possible to benefit from it in many point-to-point communications applications that involve interconnecting components and exchanging data between Ethernet and fiber optic networks.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

The GBIC transceiver functions as an input/output transceiver. It plugs into the gigabit Ethernet port on one end, such as a port found on network switching equipment. On the other end, the transceiver is connected to the fiber optic network, usually via fiber optic patch cords. The device is characterized by features, such as the wavelengths it can handle, how fast and efficiently it transmits data, the power it needs to operate, and what distance it can transmit data over. These are the main factors to consider when buying a GBIC transceiver to be sure it meets network performance requirements.

Changing from one type to another is simple because a GBIC transceiver can be removed and installed without turning off the power. Generalized enclosures may be compatible with various transceiver types. It is not complicated to operate, and the digital data transmitter and receiver functions at high speeds. Some models can provide a bi-directional data connection of up to 1.25 gigabits/second, so there is great compatibility with high-speed networks. Compatibility with common power supplies, such as +3.3 and +5.5 volt ratings, extends this compatibility even more.

Other important features of a GBIC transceiver which add to energy efficiency initiatives are that the unit offers low power dissipation and emits little electromagnetic interference. Each device can install and function without disrupting anything, but this plug and play capability can be offset by the need to disconnect patch cords before it is installed or taken out. Power surges and data discrepancies can occur, and it’s always wise to take precautions to avoid this as much as possible, especially in high-density networks.

Many supplies sell GBIC transceivers. All of the different modules by various manufactures are developed based on a common standard. This means that they can all be compatible with the same network and with each other to meet data communications requirements.

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