To many users, there is an inevitable issue that the cost of fiber optic transceivers will keep adding up over time. This is why the demands of 3rd party compatible fiber optic transceivers have emerged in the market. Actually, 3rd party compatible fiber optic transceivers are the direct solution for a tight budgets. However, some issues mayoccur when using 3rd party compatible fiber optic transceiver that drive users to give it up. The worry of the cost of fiber optic transceivers still exists. This paper is going to talk about the fiber transceiver industry and discuss something you should know about the 3rd party compatible fiber optic transceivers.
Fiber Optic Transceiver Industry
When you buy transceivers for your switch, you are told to buy them from your network equipment manufacturer in order to keep your system running properly and safely. However, the switch vendor doesn’t actually manufacture these transceivers. In fact, the fiber interface transceiver manufacturers will supply a variant of their standard transceiver to the switch vendor for resale. The switch vendor will perform testing of that transceiver against their switch, create a compatibility matrix and SKU for that transceiver and start selling the transceiver. They mark up the fiber optic transceiver price to cover their costs (to test/procure/stock etc..) and make a profit. This is why the “brand” transceiver modules are more expensive.
However, as long as the transceiver complies with the required IEEE and MSA standards all it would take is a quick compatibility test and for the vendor could publish a list of all supported transceivers. Thus, 3rd party compatible transceivers are not hard to be realized. In order to corner the market, the switch vendor will request that the transceiver vendor flash the transceivers EEPROM with a vendor specific identifier. The switch operating system will use the I2C bus to query the transceiver EEPROM data, and verify that the transceiver has the correct identifier. If the identifier doesn’t match, then the OS will not power up the laser. The idea is that the switch vendor doesn’t want you to put anything into your router which hasn’t been approved by them. This is why many users will face error warning when using the 3rd transceivers.
How To Solve? – “My 3rd party transceiver does not work on my switch”
So, how to solve this issue and successfully use 3rd party transceivers on your switch? First, you should know the hidden commands of your switch. I believe some of my blog fans may know it as I have explain it some weeks ago in another papers. Yes, the “service unsupported-transceiver” command. Certainly, it is take Cisco for example, but it is easy to find the equivalent commands in other brand switches along the way. (For more details can visit this paper link.)
3rd Party Transceivers vs “Brand” Transceivers
User who have experience of buying 3rd party transceivers and “brand” transceivers may know that the the major difference is cost. So, how much difference? Assuming you get an identical transceiver from Cisco and fiber-mart, the Cisco SFP+ list price for an SR SFP+ transceiver is $1,495 USD, while fiber-mart’s one just listed at $ 16.00 USD. This difference is incredible, but it is the truth. The truth is that you won’t have to sacrifice any quality or reliability with all of the savings you receive. In contrast, you get everything you’ve come to expect from the 3rd party transceivers at up to 90% off list price. As high-density merchant-silicon based switches become mainstream, the per-port cost of the switch is dropping dramatically. The transceiver costs now become a very large part of the total system cost and, for a 48-port switch the transceiver costs could easily exceed the base cost of the switch. 3rd party transceivers help users to save more on their cost of transceivers, so why not do it?
Of course, 3rd party transceivers are good option for your transceivers solutions. However, at least so far, the market is not fully normalized. Though the optical transceiver module prices of 3rd party transceivers are very attractive, but the good and bad are intermingled. If you plan to buy the 3rd party transceivers for your switch, you had better to choose a vendor with high reputation. I recommend fiber-mart for you. Why? You may know the answer after you try.