Cisco S-class optics were launched in December last year. Until now, many people are still confused with this series of optics because in Cisco’s official datasheet, there is no obvious differences on specifications between the S-class and Non-S-class optics. However, if you are a loyal user of Cisco transceivers, you may find that the Non-S-class optics cost more than the S-class’s, e.g. SFP-10G-SR= costs about $220 more than the SFP-10-SR-S= module, or the SFP-10G-LR is much more expensive than the SFP-10G-LR-S. So, what’s the main difference between them? Today, we are going to talk something about this topic.
According to Cisco, S-class optics are designed for enterprise and data center 10G and 40G applications (don’t scale down to 1GbE). This new set of optics does not have unnecessary features for these applications, leading to a more attractive price. This is why S-class optic is cheaper than Non-S-class. Meanwhile, Cisco announced that S-class optics are available only in the most common reaches needed in enterprise and data center applications. “unnecessary features” and “the most common reaches” really made buyers who want to have a try puzzled.
With the attractive price, S-class optics attract many users who are enamored of Cisco optics. At the same time, a series of questions are asked by users. What are the unnecessary features? When should we use S-class optics? … Unfortunately there is no special document yet for this. We may even have no idea from the datasheet. But don’t feel disappointed, here are some experiences may help you to know more.
S-class is Ethernet only, no OTN (Optical Transport Network) or WAN-PHY (Wide Area Network Physics). In addition, it is no TAA compliance for S-class. Moreover, S-class and non-S-class optics are with different temperature ranges. Thus, if you are an enterprise or datacenter environment that doesn’t need any special long distance, temperature tolerances, or other special features, S-Class optics are cheaper and should be just fine for you. In fact, there may be more unknown differences. But there is no doubt that the differences are not the main concerns of Cisco when they introduced the S-class. The low price is the main selling point, and the compatibility is no problem.
However, with the increasing development of 3rd-party compatible optics market, S-class optics are as popular as Cisco expected. For instance, you may prefer to buy a Cisco SFP-10G-SR compatible optics with 18 dollors in Fiberstore rather than about 500 dollors of Cisco SFP-10G-SR-S optics. Because you can enjoy the same functions and performance the Cisco SFP-10G-SR have and just with an incredible price. Of cause, if you are a loyal Cisco users, S-class optics are ideal choice for you on the most common reaches needed in enterprise and data center applications.
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