SFP Cost Variation

Edward Dore edward.dore at freethought-internet.co.uk
Sat Mar 12 19:35:04 UTC 2016

> On 9 Mar 2016, at 18:59, Nicholas Warren <nwarren at barryelectric.com> wrote:
> Quick question for the experts.
> Why when looking at SFPs, some sites list them as $800 when the same part
> number can be found on places like amazon for $30-$40. What is the
> difference in them? Why would I buy them from a place like CDW with what
> appears to be a 2,000% markup.
> https://www.cdw.com/shop/products/Brocade-SFP-mini-GBIC-transceiver-module-G
> igabit-Ethernet/1411743.aspx
> http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0076Q1CTY
> Thanks,
> Nich

The Amazon link almost certainly isn't the exact same part - it's more than likely a "compatible" module from a third party which has been coded to identify itself in the same way as the official part.

But yes, "official" optics are generally extremely expensive and third party ones are much, much cheaper (LightReading published an article many years ago reporting that at the time 25% of Cisco's profits were coming from the transceivers that they were selling as a huge markup!). You can get compatible transceivers for lots of popular vendors from the likes of Fiberstore, flexOptix and Solid Optics.

It's worth noting that the likes of Cisco, Juniper, Brocade etc. don't make the transceivers that they sell at these huge markups either - they just buy them from the likes of Finsar and code them with their own part numbers and guarantee them as compatible.

Depending on the vendor, product and software version, you may find that third party transceivers are disabled, have reduced functionality such as no DOM/DDM or generate warnings about being unsupported. This is why you can buy third party optics that are coded to identify themselves as legitimate parts.

Edward Dore
Freethought Internet
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