IT managers spend a large part of their networking cabling/equipment budget on transceiver modules with the big OEM brands. You can save substantially on the cost of these transceiver modules by deploying reliable compatible transceivers in your network. Just a few years ago, using genuine OEM transceivers in networking devices such as Servers, Firewalls, Switches, Wireless and Routers was the only option. Today, however, technology has caught up a great deal and you can now get the same fibre connectivity performance for a whole lot less using alternative optical transceiver options. Compatible optical transceivers–purchased through reputable vendors and manufacturers – are designed and tested to match the same high-quality standards of the OEM brand transceiver optics.
What are compatible transceivers?
Compatible transceivers are cost-effective direct drop-in replacement transceiver modules for OEM brand optical transceiver modules, the compatible transceivers are pluggable devices with 100% compatibility to the OEM branded products and are tested and coded to meet the stringent specifications of the original OEM transceivers. The compatible transceivers are most often manufactured from exactly the same components as the OEM Branded versions of the products. The physical construction, electrical, optical, programming and monitoring capabilities comply to exactly the same standards as OEM transceivers.
How are compatible transceivers made?
Procurement of optical and other components, such as optical TOSA, ROSA, IC and PCBA subcomponents/assemblies, are from high quality silicon manufactures. The components are inspected on receipt to ensure that they comply with relevant technical industry standards. When components are tested and stored, the environments comply to industry standard temperature-, humidity- and clean controlled environmental conditions to ensure that product performance is not affected. The devices are manufactured in ISO90001 compliant manufacturing facilities to ensure maximum quality of each compatible transceiver. Compatible transceiver’s performance matches that of the OEM brand transceivers. Intense testing of the compatible transceivers compatibility to and bit error testing on OEM brand equipment are preformed to ensure 100% compatibility and performance ability of the compatible devices. Performance analysis and comparisons are done to ensure that the compatible transceivers comply to the same performance and quality as the OEM branded transceivers.
What are the differences between compatible transceivers and brand original OEM transceivers?
There are very few differences between OEM and compatible transceivers as both comply to the same set of international standards, the only major difference is the price, with compatible transceivers being more cost-effective. All reliable transceiver modules are manufactured to comply with stringent international standards and comply with the transceiver MSA multi-source agreement. The most significant difference is that the vendor ID in EEPROM is reset to a vendor-owned system. This means that the connected transceiver must have the appropriate EEPROM code stored onboard, which can be used within the OEM vendor equipment.
What about the warranty?
A very common and perhaps the biggest concern for most IT managers using compatible transceivers is the effect on OEM warranties and support and whether the devices invalidate the equipment warranty. Although this is not the case, it is generally assumed that the use of compatible transceivers voids the warranty, support and repair of OEM equipment. But the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act that was signed in 1975 to prevent all OEM’s from abusing warranties and disclaimers, including any rules that force consumers to buy ONLY their products AND accessories to their products. This act ensures that you are free to use any pluggable transceiver into your network device without voiding your warranty. The compatible devices are always plugged into industry standard transceiver slots, and it is recommended that the devices are removed when devices are returned to the OEM for warranty claims and repairs. OEM’s may or may not request that a device if replaced with an OEM brand product during network testing and fault-finding processes that they are involved in but cannot void any warranty or support based on the usage of such devices.
Are compatible transceivers reliable?
Yes, if your optical transceivers are procured from a reliable source, the products are extremely reliable. The most common check for reliability is the warranty extended by the supplier. Buying the most cost-effective transceivers available online isn’t the best way to ensure product reliability, as there are unfortunately manufacturing facilities that manufacture to substandard quality and use technologies that do not comply to the standards required by modern OEM equipment. Thus, ensure that the procurement of compatible transceivers is from reputable manufacturers, distributors and resellers to ensure the quality of compatible transceivers. Reputable institutions will only provide industry-compliant compatible transceivers. Always bear in mind, as with any electronic equipment, that even the OEM branded transceivers can fail and that the same is applicable for compatible transceivers. Thus, when buying a compatible transceiver from a reliable source ensure that the warranty and optional extended warranty options are enabled for the products.
Interoperability and compatibility of transceivers.
Countless compatible transceivers have been deployed in network installations. However, there still exists the concerns about the quality, interoperability, and compatibility issues when choosing the compatible transceivers. A wise selection is of great significance in today’s crowded OEM-compatible transceiver market. Will the optical transceivers I purchased work smoothly with my other modules? Will the modules be compatible and operate flawlessly on my switches? This article will lead you to figure out the interoperability and compatibility nature of the transceivers.
How to Ensure Interoperability Between Two Optical Transceivers?
When it comes to the connection between two transceivers, the following four factors should be taken into consideration: electrical functionality, wavelength, speed, fibre type, and the connection distance.
Identical Wavelength – In a fibre link, the data is transmitted from one end to another, and fibre transceivers are responsible for electrical signals into optical signals and vice versa. Therefore, the optical transceivers should support an identical wavelength at both ends in order to realize the process. Specifically speaking, the wavelength of optical transceivers needs to match on both ends as an unmatched wavelength may cause loss and degradation in data transmission. For example, an 1310nm based transceiver won’t talk to an 850nm transceiver. In addition, the working mode of modules should also be matched at each end. A full-duplex transceiver should be paired with another full-duplex transceiver. The transmission will be unavailable if connecting a full-duplex module with a half-duplex one.
Same Speed or data-rate – It is likely to mix two modules with similar appearances or insert the same-sized transceiver into the wrong switch port. In these cases, the connection won’t be realized as expected or won’t work at all.
Example of an 1G SFP and 10G SFP+. Having the same size, an SFP module can fit seamlessly into the SFP+ port on the switch and vice versa. If you plug an SFP+ module into an SFP port, it will work but the transmission speed will be limited at 1 Gbps. Contrariwise, when an SFP module is inserted into an SFP+ port, it will fail to connect. As a result, most fibre optic transceivers with different speeds can’t cooperate with each other. 10GBASE-T module is an exception that can support 1000Mbps, 2.5Gbps, 5Gbps, 10Gbps by using Cat5e/Cat6/Cat6a cables.
Correct Fiber Type – selecting the corresponding fibre cable type is critical. Normally speaking, multimode fibre optic cables can be classified into OM1, OM2, OM3, OM4, and OM5 fibre types, and all of them are used for short-range transmission. If a module is connected with OM1/OM2 fibres, while the other one is connected with OM3/OM4 fibres, then the connection won’t be successful. Identifying the transceivers through the standardized colours on the outer jacket of fibres. Read legend printed on fibre, Multimode Fiber Types: OM1 vs OM2 vs OM3 vs OM4 vs OM5 and study the specifications to learn more about their differences.
Flawless Operation on Switches – The above-mentioned conditions are a firm foundation for the following in-field experiment. Firstly, ensure that the compatible modules that you purchased have been tested on the original-brand switches. For instance, a Cisco compatible fibre optic transceiver must be tested on Cisco switches to avoid abnormal operations. Secondly, confirm that your devices will support the modules you want to use. Because the switches from a specific OEM brand may not be compatible with the modules
programmed for other switches from the same OEM.
Operational distance – ensure that the device rating, in meters or kilometers, comply with the network distances between devices and that the capabilities of compatible transceivers are not surpassed.
How to Ensure Optical Transceiver Compatibility?
The first and foremost requirement for an optical transceiver to operate perfectly on network switches is— compatibility. As mentioned in the last part, some of the industry manufacturers will encrypt their devices, which may increase the difficulty of the module compatibility. To make sure a third-party transceiver can work on the OEM switch, choosing a reliable vendor with a rigorous testing system for transceivers is crucial.
Elaborate Testing System
The testing system can be roughly divided into two subsets: test for the semi-finished modules & test for the finished modules. The first subset can be further separated into basic appearance inspection (accessories, packaging, quality and performance) and parametric performance tests. The latter has various testing items including optical power tests, spectral tests, eye diagram tests, digital diagnostic function tests and high and low temperature tests to mention only the most critical. The finished modules will be double-checked of the outlook and have the switch connection tests for DDM, compatibility, and connectivity results. During compatibility tests, the compatible modules will be tested on the OEM switches. Consequently, conducting a series of rigorous tests of compatible transceivers guarantee flawless operations of the devices.
Trustworthy Third-party Supplier
How to evaluate a third-party supplier – Firstly, the overall qualification assessment. A reliable third-party compatible supplier requires the investment for a comprehensive equipment set like switches and servers, the capabilities of the testing environment, experienced staff, and the thorough documentation of the testing parameters and results.