Name Brands vs Third-Party Transceivers: Which Do You Prefer?

Posted on by FS.COM

You may have a name brand network switch or a name brand router, but it doesn’t mean that you need to pay an expensive cost on name brand transceivers. Though many people still get confused on “third-party transceivers”, there is no doubt that the emergence of third-party transceivers really offers a more cost-effective option to users. Name brands or third-party, which do you prefer? After reading this paper, you can make a decision.

Fiberstore SFP+

What Does “Third-Party” Mean?

First of all, you should know that third-party suppliers exist in all sorts of industries and are typically companies that have a high degree of specialization in their field. “Third party” as a concept comes up most often in technical areas.

For example, software developers create programs that can be used on platforms created by another company, and often do so to fill a niche users may need but the platform developer cannot or will not address. A quick look at that description will also give you the basis for the term “third party”. It’s not the platform or OEM (original equipment manufacturers) (first party), or the user (second party), but another (third party) developer that brings a solution to the marketplace. Seems simple enough, right?

Some of the confusion arises in the telecom/datacom industry, where there are OEMs that really aren’t manufacturing anything. But rather, these OEMs have things built for them under contract by ODMs (original design manufacturers), and then “integrate” this solution under their own brand name. Then there are OEMs who continue to supply components to other OEMs, while establishing a brand of their own. They can also be considered third party for other OEMs, if they’ve not explicitly been brought into the fold as a vendor to that OEM. It is not quite so simple anymore when “third-party” are introduced to telecom / datacom industry. Thus, many users feel strange to third-party components, and are lack of confidence in them.

Name Brands vs Third Party Transceivers

If you still don’t understand what third-party means, now let us come back to our familiar environment, talking about the transceivers. All fiber optic transceivers have established Multi-Source Agreements (MSAs). These MSAs clearly define how fiber optic networking equipment is to function and establish de facto manufacturing standards that ensure networking components developed by different manufacturers are interoperable.

As long as a manufacturer complies to MSA guidelines, their transceiver modules will function and operate identically to any other manufacturer’s MSA-compliant transceivers. For example, Fiberstore’s 100% MSA compliant GLC-SX-MM transceiver will function identically to a Cisco brand GLC-SX-MM transceiver and will be 100% compatible with Cisco networking equipment.

So, how about the name brand transceiver? Why do they cost so much? Actually, the switch and router manufacturers do not build their own transceivers. Also take Cisco for example, they resell someone else’s. As described above, they have them built under contract by ODMs. The reason why Cisco transceivers are more expensive is because they have actually tested the transceivers they offer with their equipment to verify it works. Also they have revision control over the transceivers they sell so that if something were to change on the transceiver it would trigger them to retest it. Moreover, Cisco isn’t in the business of giving stuff away, so they mark up the price of the transceivers to cover their costs (to test/procure/stock etc.) and make a profit. In addition, many name brand vendors outsource the manufacturing of their OEM components to the exact same contract manufacturers used by third party vendors. So the source, quality, parts, and programming are exactly the same—only the labels and cost to the consumer are different.

Many users give their feedback on third-party transceivers. They say their third-party cannot work well one their name brand switch. Why? Switch and router manufacturers such as Cisco, HP ect. have set the encryption key which forbid the third-party transceivers to plug in their device. Thus, when you plug a third-party transceiver into the device, you’ll quickly stumble across an error warning. In fact, this is not a problem, because some hidden commands or 100% compatibility technology developed by some vendors can solve this problem.

Third Party Transceivers: An Ideal Solution

In fact, in addition to the low cost, there are many benefits of third-party transceivers. The following five obvious and proven reasons tell you why third-party transceivers are an ideal solution for your project.

  • Cost savings
    Typically third-party transceivers cost substantially less than—sometimes up to 90 percent less — already discounted transceivers from OEM providers.
  • In-stock Availability
    Since selling transceivers is the primary business for most third-party transceiver companies, most strive for immediate availability of product.
  • Carrier-Grade Quality
    Some companies use the exact same ODMs the major switch OEMs use. However, since optical transceivers are the primary business for some third-party transceiver companies, they may understand which ODMs provide the highest quality part for a given data rate or transport protocol. It is not inconceivable for some third-party optics companies to provide more reliable components than those offered by the major switch OEM companies.
  • Reduced Inventory Cost Due To Interoperability
    By definition third-party providers of optical transceivers are not tied to a specific switch or router platform. Therefore, their optics will typically interoperate across multiple platforms. This means one specific inventoried part number can be used in both a Cisco switch and a Juniper switch, as an example. Thus, this approach effectively reduces sparing inventory as well as the operational headaches associated with maintaining inventories for each switch platform.
  • Access to Innovative Optics
    Third-party providers tend to have a much broader variety of pluggable optics from which to select. This can range from 10G Ethernet single fiber SFP+ or XFP optics to 120km XFP optics, as an example.

 

Fiberstore offers a variety of fiber optic transceivers at very economical prices which can satisfy your requirements from 1G to 100G Ethernet. In addition, we have a large inventory of the commonly used SFP optics, fixed-channel DWDM SFP+ optics, and whole seires of 40GBASE QSFP+ optics. So, why pay more for a name, when you can get the same high-quality, MSA compliant, 100% OEM compatible and in-stock transceivers from Fiberstore for a fraction of the cost?

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