Third-party vs branded optical transceivers – Does it really matter?

April 12, 2018

Over the last decade optical transceivers have become a key part of a network architects arsenal of equipment and are used frequently to assist in the evolution of modern networks. As technologies have improved and variants have been designed to suit a wide range of systems, third-party versions of optical transceivers have been made readily available in the market.

optical transceivers

This blog discusses the differences between branded and third-party optical transceivers and asks the question, does it really matter which type of equipment you use?

Quality and Performance

When comparing the physical quality of virtually all types of transceivers, it becomes clear that whether it comes from the original vendor or a third-party manufacturer, they are made from very similar components. The truth is that across the world, there are a handful of qualified and certified manufacturers of laser/fiber optic technology who supply all of the raw components for all the transceivers within the market.

Once the components have been produced, third-party and branded optical transceivers are assembled and built, often within the same factories and processing plants, mostly with the same specifications.

There are a strict set of standards for optical modules called MSA standards (Multi-Source Agreement), meaning that all transceivers produced and cleared for sale in the industry have undergone the same testing and product verification. The only difference would be the label or branding itself.


One of the key and probably the most obvious difference between third-party optical transceivers and branded products is the price. This can often arouse suspicion among network architects, who understandably question the often largely reduced price for the third-party version (in some cases the price of a third-party part is one tenth the price of the branded equivalent).

The reason that third-party transceivers are generally lower cost than the branded equivalent is because vendors will threaten to cease support if there is a fault on a part within a network that is not officially their product. To counter this, third-party transceiver suppliers lower the cost of their products and offer extended warranties (in some cases lifetime warranties) to the customer. This gives clients the peace of mind to know that in the rare instance of faults being found on a third-party product, they can be replaced at little or no cost and won’t affect the overall support from the vendor.

Optical transceivers from a reliable and reputable supplier are built equally so the chance of fault is no greater in one than in the other.


Transceiver compatibility is controlled by the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) software codes that are embedded into the product. At Carritech we supply a wide range of transceivers that are compatible with most of the worlds leading brand products within the market. Products that have the correct codes are fully compatible with the vendor equipment and are fully tested at the manufacturing facility.

As discussed previously, the physical components are the same, so compatibility physically isn’t a problem and as long as the code is verified and the products are tested then the product is classed as 100% compatible.

Prices may be higher for some brands than others, this usually comes down to the complexity in the code that is embedded in to the software. If more money needs to be invested in analysing the original code, then this will be reflected in the final price.

How does Carritech ensure compatibility?

As a supplier of fully tested, fully compatible optical transceivers, it is our continued job to ensure that they pass our strict set of standards for quality control.

Before we sell any transceiver products we ensure that they are fully tested and reporting and certification is released to us for inspection.

In conclusion, the difference between the branded and third-party optical transceivers purely comes down to branding. If you are looking to make significant savings on your network infrastructure costs and continue to evolve your networks without being restricted by the vendors portfolio, then third-party transceivers are for you.

To view our transceiver products or to find out more information, click here.

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