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What’s Your Opinion Of Using 3rd Party SFP Modules On Cisco Catalyst Switch?

What’s Your Opinion Of Using 3rd Party SFP Modules On Cisco Catalyst Switch?

In general, the cost of an original brand SFP module is more expensive than a 3rd party one. Take Cisco 1000BASE-SX SFP (GLC-SX-MMD) for example, the list price of Cisco is about $ 500.00, but you can easily find a 3rd party SFP modules that can take a discount at up to 90% off. As the cost of SFP transceiver keep adding up over time, many labs or companies are seeking for SFP alternatives to help cut down the costs on these expensive modules.

However, a frequent customer problem with Cisco’s new line of Catalyst switches is that they do not support 3rd party (non-Cisco) SFPs – or at least they do not seem to. If you’ve just replaced your network switches and tried using any 3rd party SFPs to connect your network backbone, you’ll quickly stumble across an error similar to the following:

Error message
%PHY-4-UNSUPPORTED_TRANSCEIVER: Unsupported transceiver found in Gi1/0/0
%GBIC_SECURITY_CRYPT-4-VN_DATA_CRC_ERROR: GBIC in port 65538 has bad crc

When you see this error, it means that your Cisco Catalyst switch has just disabled the GBIC port. Why? When a SFP is inserted into a switch’s GBIC port, the switch immediately reads a number of values from the SFP and if it doesn’t like what it sees, it throws the above error message and disables the port. Simple to understand, your Cisco Catalyst switches are configured by default not to work with the 3rd party (non-Cisco) SFPs.

As we know, all SFP modules contain a number of recorded values in their EEPROM that include:

  • Vendor Name
  • Vendor ID
  • Serial Number
  • Security Code
  • CRC

How To Solve This Issue & Successfully Use 3rd Party SFPs On Your Cisco Switch
When the errors displayed, many users will be very nervous and even begin to regret using the 3rd party SFPs. Is there no hope for a solution when facing such situation? Just be relax, the following content will give you some tips on it.

There are two undocumented commands which can be used to force the Cisco Catalyst switch to enable the GBIC port and use the 3rd party SFP.

3750G-Stack(config)# service unsupported-transceiver

Warning: When Cisco determines that a fault or defect can be traced to the use of third-party transceivers installed by a customer or reseller, then, at Cisco’s discretion, Cisco may withhold support under warranty or a Cisco support program. In the course of providing support for a Cisco networking product Cisco may require that the end user install Cisco transceivers if Cisco determines that removing third-party parts will assist Cisco in diagnosing the cause of a support issue.

3750G-Stack(config)# no errdisable detect cause gbic-invalid

When entering the “service unsupported-transceiver” command, the switch (eg. 3750G) will automatically throw a warning message as a last hope to prevent the usage of a 3rd party SFP. The “no errdisable detect cause gbic-invalid” command will help ensure the GBIC port is not disabled when inserting an invalid GIBC. In addition, since the service unsupported-transceiver is undocumented, if you try searching for the command with the usual method “service ?”, you won’t find it.

According to the test, Cisco 2960G, 3560G, 3750G, 4507R and 4507R-E Catalyst switches all accept both “service unsupported-transceiver” & “no errdisable detect cause gbic-invalid commands” commands without a problem. In fact, if the Catalyst switch is running IOS 12.2(25)SE and above, the undocumented commands are available. Thus, you could feel relieved to use compatible SFP module for cisco 2960 switch or find cisco 3560 SFP modules from 3rd party optics vendor.

Opinion on 3rd Party SFP Modules
People have different opinions on “Whether I should use 3rd party SFPs”. It seems a difficult question for them as the attractive price but unknown performance of the 3rd SFPs. In fact, take Catalyst 3750 Series Switches for example, starting from 12.2(25)SE release, the user has the option via CLI to turn on the support for 3rd party SFPs. However, you should remember that the Cisco TAC will not support such 3rd party SFPs. In the event of any link error involving such 3rd party SFPs the customer will have to replace 3rd party SFPs with Cisco SFPs before any troubleshooting can be done by TAC.

Thus, it is very necessary to use quality assurance SFP modules. Actually, there are some high quality SFP modules OEM vendors, such as Fiberstore. You would not worry about the compatibility of the usage. Because there is a perfect system from the production to shipment. All the products are tested before they shipped and ensure the 100% compatible and high quality. In addition, you can save more as the price is also very competitive.

Some common types of SFPs supported on Cisco Catalyst 3750 Series Switches

The General Concerns of Using Cisco Compatible SFP

The General Concerns of Using Cisco Compatible SFP

It seems to be an old topic that whether using compatible fiber optic transceiver is reliable. We have already discussed this topic few weeks ago. Without a doubt, the answer is affirmative.

compatible setup

However, I have found that there are still many questions about this topic in many forums, Q & A sites etc, and most of them are about Cisco compatible SFP. As we know, Cisco is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate, and owns the most of the switching and routing markets, ie. there are plenty of users of Cisco. In order to ensure the safety and smooth communication of the system, a good switch or router is very necessary, but the cost for other components, such as Cisco SFP modules, usually can add up over time. Due to the open standard of the fiber optic transceiver, the compatible modules have been emerged as the times require. Compared to the original brand, the low cost is really the attractions of of the compatible one. However, it is precisely because the incredible low price, many users usually worry about the quality. This is why we often find the discussion about the compatibility.

Today, I am going to continue the topic about the reliability of Cisco compatible transceiver module through a post in Yahoo Answer. The source of the post.

After reading the post, we found that it is a general situation when we decide to buy some SFP modules for your Cisco devices. In the post, the poster want to buy some SFP modules of the model “glc-sx-mmd“. In general, if we have enough budget, we will buy the Cisco original without the slightest hesitation. Maybe just wanna choose some proper suppliers, or wanna save more, he surfs on the Internet and finds a supplier that offers Cisco SFP only on sale $ 8.00. “it is incredible, is it real?” We can hear him from his tone full of surprise. Through visiting the link he gave, we can know the $ 8.00 Cisco compatible SFP is one of the products of Fiberstore.

Do you have a similar experience like the poster? I think, many users have. But to this qustion, there were divergent views that we can easily see from the answer in this post.

The answer of Yahoo user “I Like Stories” has been selected by the poster as the best answer that give us a full answer of his opinion as well as the reason why original modules is so expensive.

the best answer selected by poster

Although he has not clearly indicated whether the compatible modules should be chosen, his opinion is objective.

In most cases, we are biased in favour of the original one due to the stability and good after-sale service of Cisco, or other famous brand. As we said above, if the budget is enough, the original one is the best choice. However, the continued cost of the SFP is too much for many enterprise or lab. In front of the limitation of the cost, a good quality and competitive price module becomes very necessary. That’s why the compatible SFP modules are popular in the market.

From the other comments or the similar topics in many forums, we are not difficult to discover that most of the users have the experience of using Cisco compatible SFP. And few of them have bad impression, except some complaints when applied in high security environment, the compatible one not work well as the original one, or even the wrong selection of an unqualified vendor or using the products of bad quality.

Actually, about the definition of the third party SFP transceiver, there is an explanation of the compatibility. If a device requires coded SFP modules (i.e. Cisco / HP) then you need either the OEM module or a compatible version. If the device does not require coded SFP (i.e. Netgear) then you can use any SFP, even a Cisco. In fact, many times, the main concerns of using compatible SFP is the quality and after sale service. If your supplier tells you their compatible SFP is 100% compatible with Cisco’s or any other brands, then you can rest assured to buy as now many suppliers have the service of lifetime warranty, but the premise is you shoud choose a good supplier. Using compatible SFP modules (eg. Cisco, HP etc.) is that you won’t sacrifice any quality or reliability with all of the savings you receive. In fact, you get everything you’ve come to expect from Cisco SFPs at a low cost.

sfp-1g85-5mda-co1OK, at last, we return to the post of Yahoo answer. Is the $ 8.00 Cisco compatible SFP reliable? If it is offered by other suppliers, I can’t ensure it to you. But it is from Fiberstore, I think I can guarantee its authenticity and quality not to mention the other, just from the reviews. In addition, many famous enterprises in the world also use Fiberstore’s products. The blog of CloudFlare had mentioned Fiberstore’s SFP+ modules in their news about the latest generation servers — “We spent significant time testing a combination of SFP+ vendors before finding Fiberstore, a SFP+ and supplier manufacturer from which we could directly source SFP+s at a reasonable and low price that worked in the network gear we wanted to use.”

fiberstore reviews

So, what’s your opinion? In my opinion, if you have enough budget, I suggest you to buy the original one. It doesn’t mean that the compatible one is as not good as the original one but you could save more time in thinking of this question.  If you care the cost, compatible one is the best choice, but you should choose a good supplier as the premise. If you are still confused by the similar question, I hope this article will give you some help.

Purchase Optical Transceiver Modules On The Market

Purchase Optical Transceiver Modules On The Market

There exist several small pluggable optical modules and network what to pick from available on the market. Optical transceiver modules both emit and receive optic signals together.

All optical transceiver modules must be made and created along the lines of the Multi-Source Agreement. Industry professionals make sure that modules are made under this strict agreement. You will notice when researching optical transceiver modules that they tend to be sectioned into groups by transmission speed rates. Each pluggable module supports ranges from 1 Gbps to 10 Gbps. You will be able to determine which works great for you according to rates that modules support.

You will locate a variety of optical modules that act at different speeds and ranges. There are XENPAK modules, XFP modules, X2 modules, GBIC modules, SFP modules, SFP+ modules, and BiDi XFP pluggables. Listed below is detailed data on just a couple.

For example, the 10G BiDi XFP series transceivers are designed for bi-directional 10G serial optical data communications such as IEEE 802.3ae 10GBASE-BX by using 1330(1270) nm transmitter and 1270(1330) nm receiver. The transceiver includes two sections: the transmitter section utilizes a multiple quantum well 1330(1270) nm DFB laser and is a category 1 laser compliant based on International Safety Standard IEC 60825; the receiver section uses a built-in 1270(1330) nm detector preamplifier (IDP) mounted within an optical header along with a limit.

Modules like GBIC have special working functions for example attaching the Ethernet network and also the fiber optic network. GBIC means gigabit interface converter, and is an optic used with one plug in an Ethernet port and the other plug for connecting fiber patch cords. GBICs are hot pluggable, which offer you the capability to mix one type of interface with another without having to turn off. Optical power and wavelengths, working distance, and transmission velocity determine the particular groups that GBIC modules are put in.

New generation GBIC modules are thought to be the SFP transceivers. Short for small form-factor pluggable, SFP modules will also be hot pluggable optics. Hot pluggable transceivers tend to be simpler to keep up and change in comparison to basic interface modules. Items like Cisco SFP transceivers tend to be smaller and are only about half how big GBIC optics. These modules send rates that vary from 100 Mbps to about 4+ Gbps, while SFP+ modules can send rates of 10 Gbps. You will find that these modules transmit as much as 120+ kilometers right down to about 500 meters.

Optics such as XENPAK are known to be the largest of the transceiver modules. There’s a large range of XENPAK modules that function with different lines including copper line, multimode optical fiber line and single mode optical fiber line. Multimode fibers function at a distance of up to 300 meters while typical copper lines operate as much as about 15 meters. Most single mode modules span as much as 80km at maximum. Produced first underneath the Multi-Source Agreement were these 10Gbps pluggable optical transceivers.

Whatever type of transceiver optics you are in looking for the market, you should know that you’re consistently getting items that are made under the highest standards possible. Depending on your fiber optic networking experience, you might be in the market for other technical things like fiber patch cords and fiber media converters which are also easily purchased. With today’s technology, you are able to count on optical modules and all other fiber optic products to continue to determine advancements, becoming faster and better.

Fiber optic network has become the protagonist

Fiber optic network has become the protagonist

The most of today’s telecommunication systems is run on a fiber optic network. This has been largely due to the fact that such networks are perfect for transferring information. The development in fiber optics continues to enhance considerably during the last decade, providing more and more benefits to their users.

It does not take a specialist scientist to know just how the process works. An optical fiber can be used to transmit a pulse of light in one spot to another. An electromagnetic carrier wave will be modulated in order to use the light to transfer the data. A transmitter is thus required to create the signal before is distributed across the said cable. It is important to observe that such networks also counteract any distortions to the signal, which would result in interference. When the signal is received at the other end, it’s converted into an electric signal.

Is transmission of data an issue for you together with your old networking technology? Your company should then consider installing a fiber optic network! Light is passed in the form of light pulses with an optical glass fiber. This beats the traditional way of transmitting information with the help of copper wires, because this approach to using optical fiber is quicker and is therefore a more sensible choice.

All this adds to the price of optical fiber being relatively high. Fiber optic networks are mainly suited in situations where information is transmitted to longer distances. Including several telephone companies too. These fiber optic networks can carry higher levels of data in a nutshell distances too.

The rapid growth and development of the internet in recent years has taken about the requirement for new methods to transfer information. Naturally, the faster this process is performed, the better for everyone. However, the amount of virtual traffic making the rounds the world has also been steadily increasing, so these kinds of networks have become indispensable in transferring data wisely.

Telephone companies have played the most significant part within the increasing reliance on fiber optics. Actually, numerous telecommunication companies realised the future is determined by such cables and optical solutions rather than the old copper wires of that time. The possibility of monopolizing the market drove these companies to take a position a lot in fiber optics.

Not only the larger companies use fiber optics but also the smaller business firms and personnel. Instead of using wireless networks this fiber optic technology can be easily be implemented in the home based computer networks too. These optical fibers are generally made from plastic. Anybody who wants a faster connection may use Ethernet technology at home or in the working environment Due to the low power LED bulbs been used, the constant maintenance cost of fiber optic networks are comparatively low.

In the educational sphere, fiber optic networks are also an instantaneous success. One must understand that nowadays education has become increasingly reliant on technology, so computers are playing a chief role in schools. Universities all around the world employ such networks to transfer educational matter between students and lecturers, in addition to between the students themselves.

There isn’t any doubt that these kinds of networks continues to shape the long run in regards to the change in information. More and more governments, companies and educational institutions are purchasing fiber optic infrastructure as it is clear that right now there isn’t any better alternative in the field.

However, fiber optic networks haven’t been implemented up to now in lots of parts of the country. Another major factor for that less using fiber optics is the labour charges involved with installation. The glass fiber is more sensitive than copper wires, which means that more care needs to be taken in installing and maintaining a fiber optic network. For this reason you will find several layers since the glass fiber in fiber optics.

About the author:

Fiberstore is experienced on fiber optic network products. Learn a little more about Cisco SFP and wire stripper on

SFP Optical Transceiver Modules

SFP Optical Transceiver Modules

SFP package – hot little package module, the highest rate of up to 10G, is mostly used with LC interfaces. SFP is abbreviation of Small Form Pluggable, which can be simply considered as an upgraded version of GBIC. SFP module has half volume of GBIC, only the size of a thumb. It can be configured on the same panel, more than double the number of ports. SFP module has the same other basic functions as GBIC. Some switch vendors said the SFP module is mini GBIC.

SFP modules through the CDR and electronic dispersion compensation on the outside of the module, while the more reduced the size and power consumption. They are used for telecommunications and data communications applications in optical communication. SFP connected network devices such as switches, routers and other equipment motherboards and optical fiber or UTP cables. SFP is also a kind of industry specifications which some fiber optic device providers support. SFP modules support SONET, Gigabit Ethernet, Fiber Channel as well as some other communication standards. This standard extends to SFP+, which can support 10.0 Gbit/s transfer rate, including 8 gigabit Fiber Channel and 10GbE. The introduction of fiber optic and copper versions of the SFP+ module versions, and the module’s XENPAK, X2 or XFP version comparison, SFP+ module will remain in the part of the circuit board to achieve, rather than the module implementation.

SFP transceivers have many different types of transmission and reception, the user can select the appropriate link for each transceiver to provide based on available fiber types (such as multi-mode fiber or single-mode fiber) can reach the optical performance. Available optical SFP modules are generally divided into the following categories: 850nm / 550m distance MMF (SX), 1310nm wavelength / 10 kilometers from the SMF (LX), 1550nm / 40 km distance XD, 80 miles from the ZX, 120 yards from the EX or EZX, and DWDM. SFP transceivers are also available copper interfaces, making the design primarily for fiber optic communication devices are also able to host UTP network cable communication. There are also CWDM SFP and single-fiber “two-way” SFP.

SFP optical module configuration are: lasers (including transmitter TOSA with the receiver ROSA) and board composition IC and external accessories and external accessories, there are housing, base, PCBA, pull ring, clasps, unlock, rubber stopper composition, In order to facilitate the identification generally pull ring color discrimination module parameter type.

In accordance with the rate divided 155M/622M/1.25G/2.125G/4.25G/8G/10G, 155M and 1.25G market is used more, 10G technology is maturing, demand is rising attitude to development. In accordance with the wavelength divided 850nm/1310nm/1550nm/1490nm/1530nm/1610nm, the SFP 850nm wavelength multimode transmission distance 2KM below 1310/1550nm wavelengths for single mode, the transmission distance 2KM above, relatively speaking, this three wavelengths price is cheaper than the other three.

Many people do not know the difference between SFP and SFP+. This sometimes caused unnecessary trouble. 10G module has gone from 300Pin, XENPAK, X2, XFP development, and ultimately with the same size and SFP 10G transmission signal, which is the SFP+. SFP with its compact low cost advantages to meet the equipment needs of high-density optical modules, implemented from 2002 standard to 2010 has replaced 10G XFP and become the mainstream of market.

SFP+ optical modules have these following advantages. First, SFP+ package has the more compact dimensions than than XFP X2 (with the same size as SFP). Second, SFP+ optical modules can be direct connected with XFP, X2 and XENPAK modules which have the same types. Third, the cost ratio is lower than XFP, X2 and XENPAK products.

FiberStore offers cost-effective standards-based compatible Cisco SFP Transceivers. As a 3rd party OEM manufacturer, our Cisco SFP transceiver is delivered to worldwide from our factory directly.

Source: FiberStore