Are compatibles as reliable as originals?

We are busting the myths of the difference between OEM v Compatible Optical Transceivers.

The use of third-party Optical Transceivers has been a hot topic for some time. However, many clients reap the financial benefits of using high-quality compatible alternatives compared to the hugely more expensive OEM transceivers, saving up to 90% on global list pricing.

Partnering with a reliable, quality supplier is like Approved Technology vital. Please read on.

Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)

An Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Optical Transceiver has been manufactured and branded for the manufacturer such as Cisco, Juniper, HPE, Dell.

Compatible alternatives to OEM products

Compatible alternatives provided by other vendors meet the exact specification.

It is important to note that OEMs do not manufacture optical transceivers themselves; they subcontract to tier one contract manufacturers such as Finisar.

Whether ‘Originals’ or ‘Compatible’, Optical Transceivers of all form factors are manufactured according to the strict standards and protocols of MSA (Multisource Agreement), so the design and specification are identical.

The only difference is that the vendor ID in the EEPROM is set to the OEM.

OEMs are making huge profits on their ‘original’ optical transceivers, and it is an essential source of revenue.

When clients spend significant sums of money on their data centre infrastructure, they will often pay these high prices for peace of mind, especially regarding warranty.


OEM Warranty is a common question posed by clients. There is a myth that using third party products in their OEM hardware will invalidate the warranty. It is in the vendor’s interest to discourage the client from buying third party products due to the large profit margins they make.

OEMs stipulating using only their products within their systems would contravene anti-trust laws and violate the Magnuson-Moss Act Warranty Act. It is a common misconception that prevents many customers from saving money by purchasing high quality compatible optical transceivers such as AT-GBICS.

It is highly improbable that an Optical Transceiver would cause damage to OEM equipment by itself. For example, the Gigabit Ethernet SFP module converts electrical data from the equipment to optical signals.

There is no incoming power from an optical port to damage the equipment. The SFP draws voltage/power from the equipment, so it is more likely that the equipment would damage the SFP rather than the other way around.

All current and voltage requirements are specified in the MSA, ensuring the optical transceiver (whether Original or Compatible) is able to support the power requirements for each SFP port. The same philosophy is true of the QSFP form factor.

The warranty statements of most OEMs state that if a hardware fault is proven to have been caused by a 3rd party product, they may withhold, NOT INVALIDATE warranty support until the 3rd party part has been replaced. Where the 3rd party product is deemed not responsible, OEM warranty is unaffected.

We will happily provide a compatibility guarantee, lifetime warranty and evaluation/sale or return option to its clients for additional peace of mind.

For larger projects, buffer stock is also available, along with complete configuration and technical support.

We provide compatible solutions for all the well known as well as lesser-known brand vendors.

Contact us to find out more.