How to Find the Right Cisco Compatible Optical Transceivers

Compatibility is an important concept. Most people can relate!

You want a job that’s compatible with your skill set, and a partner whose interests match yours. It just makes sense.

The theme of compatibility also shows up in fiction time and time again. Think of the Arthurian legend of the sword in the stone - can’t pull the sword out of the stone? Looks like you aren’t in the running to become the next rightful king of Britain.

Or in Harry Potter - where each young wizard is chosen by their specific wand, and the consequences of using the wrong one can result in some serious magical snafus.

When it comes to technology, compatibility is a must to ensure that systems run smoothly. This is true both on the smaller scale of not having the right phone charger, causing your cell phone to die at the most inconvenient time, to the larger scale of if you get the wrong hardware, then your whole computer network could fail.

No pressure, right? Luckily, with some expertise on your side you can minimize the chances of any network failure.

Why not Cisco compatible transceivers?

While there are many pieces to a fully functioning network, the small form-factor pluggable (SFP) optical transceiver is an important part. A network that doesn’t include this is like a Jedi without the Force.

However, brand-name SFPs from Cisco can be extremely costly, creating a challenge when you’re trying to stay on budget. Luckily there is an alternative: Cisco compatible SFPs.

Below we’ll break down how to find compatible SFPs so you can save money while giving your network what it needs to run efficiently.

Know your parameters

SFPs are the workhorses of a network system, and you can find one for every job. Because they provide a wide range of inputs beyond those provided by a switch on its own, SFPs allow for scalability in your network without the need for a full-on upgrade. This can save your organization a lot of money.

Before you start looking for a Cisco compatible SFP, you need to ask the question, “What type of optics do I need?” This can be determined by the number of inputs and outputs required. If you’re looking to improve the efficiency of your network and aren’t sure which direction to go, you can also seek advice from a trusted networking vendor.

Find a trusted partner

So how do you find a trusted vendor? First off, you want to ensure that any Cisco compatible SFPs you purchase will actually be compatible and are made with quality raw materials.

This means no blind dates—you need to do your research, otherwise you’re likely to end up with a less than desirable partner sharing your dinner table. Reputable third-party vendors should have a strict quality control system.

It’s important to note that a truly good partner won’t leave you in the lurch, and will provide you with support when needed. Short-term warranties are a dime a dozen—much like bad dating experiences.

You want to hold out for the rose among the thorns, which in this case is a vendor who is willing to provide you with a guaranteed long-term warranty. Bad quality products typically have short-term warranties because a vendor knows they won’t last as long. If that’s all you’re being offered, it should serve as a red flag and you should take your business elsewhere.

Brand name vs. compatible

While there is a certain amount of trust and peace of mind that comes along with a brand name, going the compatible route does have its benefits—especially in terms of cost. This is especially true in the case of SFPs where third-party brands can provide the exact same performance and capabilities for much less.

A quality vendor can provide you with just this luxury. You can get Cisco compatible SFPs that contain the same opto-electronics and are supplied by the same distributers as OEM modules – they are exactly the same hardware. The only difference? The price. With all that leftover money in your bank account, “economical” might just become the new sexy!