What is GBIC?

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What is GBIC?
The gigabit interface converter (GBIC) is a hot-swappable expansion port for networking component that enables different network devices such as routers to have support on different connections. GBIC is a transceiver that converts electric signals into optical signals. Fiber Optic Systems like Gigabit Ethernet and Fiber Channel devices need to convert signals with attached devices into readable format for it to be recognized.

In a network router or a computer server, the network can hold dozens of different servers just by using a blade. Blades are also known as an expansion module that is a hardware component and can be installed into a chassis when referring to network servers.

The GBIC is mostly used with Gigabit Ethernet. A single Gigabit Ethernet port can be able to support a variety of physical media. GBIC becomes a standard in networking equipment because of its flexibilities.

How does it change the signal?
The GBIC module is attached into a device that produces electric signals and transmit it to a device that recognize electric signals then producing optic signals in return. This process happen vice-versa. The signals travel back and forth between these 2 transmitters. To prevent the signals from miscommunication, GBIC identifies and confirms the signals that are received by both devices.

GBIC classification depends on its working wavelength, data transmitting rate, working power, and working distance.

What are the features of GBIC transmitter modules?
Here are some features of a typical GBIC transmitter module:

  1. Compliant with GBIC Revisions 5.5
  2. Compliant with proposed specifications for IEEE 802.3z/Gigabit Ethernet
  3. Up to 1.2Gb/s bi directional data link
  4. Various kinds of wavelength and working distances (optional)
  5. Extended power supply +3.3/5.0V compatible
  6. Hot Pluggable
  7. Low EMI
  8. Low power dissipation
  9. Class 1 Laser Product Compliant with the Requirements of IEC 60825-1 and IEC 60825-2

In Storage Area Networks, or SAN, the Gigabit Interface Converter is categorized into 3 different types:

  1. Copper ‘“for Copper wires
  2. Shortwave ‘“ for short-wavelength lasers, and
  3. Longwave ‘“ for long-wavelength lasers.

Since the GBIC is hot-plug interchangeable, this can be easily moved and be removed without affecting the power system of the servers. By doing so, Network Administrators can change or modify the network configurations if it is necessary. This feature allows an appropriately designed enclosure to be changed from one type of outer interface into another.  It also allows network administrators to easily upgrade the communication of their networks.

When do we need to set up GBIC?
GBIC is needed when we use multiple different optical/electrical technologies. But purchasing GBIC must be in coordination with its use. Each link may need a specific type of GBIC.

How to Increase the Network capacity?
Network System administrators can increase their network capacity by adding up more fiber equipments and hardware. These Fiber Devices can be configured if it is needed.

There are also some forms of GBIC such as Small Form-Factor Pluggable Transceiver or SFP. This is also called as Mini-GBIC. This Mini-GBIC supports SONET, Fiber Channels, Gigabit Ethernet, and any other communication standards.

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