A gigabit interface converter (GBIC) is a transceiver that converts electric currents (digital highs and lows) to optical signals, and optical signals to digital electric currents. The GBIC is typically employed in fiber optic and Ethernet systems as an interface for high-speed networking. The data transfer rate is one gigabit per second (1 Gbps) or more.
GBIC modules allow technicians to easily configure and upgrade electro-optical communications networks. The typical GBIC transceiver is a plug-in module that is hot-swapable (it can be removed and replaced without turning off the system). The devices are economical, because they eliminate the necessity for replacing entire boards at the system level. Upgrading can be done with any number of units at a time, from an individual module to all the modules in a system.