Optical module refers to a typically hot-pluggable optical transceiver used in high-bandwidth data communications applications. Optical modules typically have an electrical interface on the side that connects to the inside of the system and an optical interface on the side that connects to the outside world through a fiber optic cable. The form factor and electrical interface are often specified by an interested group using a multi-source agreement (MSA).
Optical modules can either plug into a front panel socket or an on-board socket. Sometimes the optical module is replaced by an electrical interface module that implements either an active or passive electrical connection to the outside world. A large industry supports the manufacturing and use of optical modules.