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Optical Connectivity Solutions That Give You Choice and Freedom

The counterfeit iPhones sold in electronics flea markets across the world are getting more sophisticated by the day. However, while these may fool many customers, a seasoned engineer can verify their authenticity instantly, albeit while marveling at the near-perfect replicas. However, if the one could truly mirror an iPhone’s performance and computing power—even outdo it—why would customers shell out an additional $700 to purchase the original? They would not, and understandably so. When it comes to fiber optic transceivers, though, customers can truly enjoy up to 70 percent lower prices on equipment that deliver the exact, or potentially greater, performance, features, lifetime warranty, and product support that can be found in the segment’s iPhone equivalents. “The adage, ‘too good to be true’ is probably something that can cause doubts in the mind of a potential buyer. But, just because our transceivers are significantly more affordable than the OEM product lines, does not mean they are any less durable or powerful,” says Matt McCormick, CEO of AddOn Networks, a company that manufactures an assortment of highly-reliable optical transceivers, media converters, and network connectivity products.

The world’s largest independent supplier of optical transceivers, AddOn Networks dominates a market segment that also includes OEMs (like Cisco, Juniper, Nokia), and the manufacturers that supply to and collaborate with the OEMs. In such a crowded space, AddOn Networks has more than just carved a niche, establishing well-defined customer segments among Fortune 500 enterprises, service providers (MSOs, telcos), and data centers. For nearly 20 years, AddOn Networks has delivered optical connectivity solutions to clients that transcend geographical boundaries, industries, and various eras of networking technologies.

Through the entire journey, AddOn Networks has been driven by a goal to provide clients with benefits of improved economics, delivery, performance, ubiquity across network systems, and they do this without compromising the quality or performance of its vast suite of networking equipment. “Our business model is uniquely positioned to provide the technology, support, business continuity, consistency of supply, and the level of feature and functionality that buyers have come to expect from of OEM products: and all this with a substantial economic benefit.. in addition to Technology and fulfillment, we also offer the same round-the-clock support that customers are accustomed to from a market leader such as Cisco,” adds McCormick.

Creative Freedom: Not Beholden to OEMs

Offering cutting-edge networking equipment at a third-party price point is valuable. However, other aspects of Addons value proposal are equally beneficial. For example, traditional vertically integrated manufacturers like Finisar or JDSU are focused on a narrow set of technologies. They make bets long in advance in terms of what future technologies will be the market leaders and what will not. As a result of this business model, their product offering tends to be narrowly focused on a specific set of existing and cutting-edge technologies. They are obligated to “make a choice, years in advance, of what they are going to build” and lack the agility that comes with being an independent manufacturer can result in a diminished ability to offer a full suite of products that include both legacy and cutting edge technology according to McCormick. AddOn Networks, on the other hand, “can be everything, to everybody”—collaborate with a multitude of material partners, offer new features, diagnostics, and functionalities, swiftly adapt to the latest technologies, and introduce products to market faster than its competitors. Also, AddOn Networks can products required in smaller or niche markets where it is not a manufacturer's strength to play. Matter of fact, AddOn Networks’ plug-and-play products—even the customized ones—are compatible with more than 150 OEMs and 20,000 network devices.

Although most third-party suppliers enjoy similar advantages, AddOn Networks is equipped to deliver a comprehensive blend of technology and services that are tailored to meet any requirement. While suppliers, who buy and sell optic transceivers, excel at supporting their products, and OEMs are competent from a system perspective, AddOn Networks offers the best of both worlds. Be it product-based or system-based support, AddOn Networks’ team of engineers and support technicians excel in both, and that’s rare. McCormick emphasizes that AddOn Networks listens to customers, addresses emerging market needs, and accordingly develops products.

    Helping Data Centers Tackle Emergencies

    This attentive approach is reflected in AddOn Networks’ flagship solution, a tuning and coding system, which consists of an appliance and a powerful cloud-based platform capable of coding or tuning AddOn Networks’ transceivers in one simple step. The system offers two distinct features: compatibility (from a frequency perspective) and mobility. A service provider using a WDM/DWDM product can tune the transceivers to a channel that the products don’t otherwise support. Meanwhile, its off-line tuning feature offers computability to remotely tune all AddOn Networks SFP+ and XFP tunable optics without connecting to the cloud. It also provides wavelength agile support to host devices that do not support tunable optics natively. “If you are on the field, and need to change compatibility on the fly, our product allows you to plug the optic (extra device) in and recode, from a Cisco to a Juniper app, for example,” explains McCormick.

    Most of all, the solution enables a data center or MSO to control and maintain their inventory levels and meet network emergencies, without the need for spare transceivers. Simply put, it’s a one-stop shop to quickly and immediately respond to network outages, reconfigurations, and new customer turn-ups.

    Taking it a step further, the ultra-compatible products of AddOn Networks also help clients curtail their working capital and thereby improve ROI. Typically, a data center works with up to 10 OEMs for various products, system integrations, and networking services. However, AddOn Networks serves as a single point-of-contact for procurement, service, and support. From an operations perspective, AddOn Networks offers creative inventory programs that allow clients to swap multiple vendors for one.

    Quality Assurance through Data Traveler System™

    To win over the trust of clients is always a tall order and one to which Addon is dedicated. AddOn achieves this level of trust by executing a rigorous level of quality and testing programs. As part of its in-house coding facility processes, AddOn Networks ensures that every part adheres to both MSA and OEM specifications. This means products are certified across all network manufacturer systems, product specifications, while also delivering an end solution that meets or exceeds the OEMs full suite of product features or “quality ID”.

    After spec testing, AddOn Networks goes above and beyond the industry norms to re-create the customers' end network environment that the parts will wind up in. Through its world-class lab, AddOn Networks is able to ensure that every unit is individually tested for performance and compatibility for the exact environment it needs to be. With all the major manufacturers’ switches, AddOn Networks re-creates an environment and tests each part to guarantee optimal performance. Subsequently, AddOn Networks leverages its proprietary Data Traveler System™ to track each serial number and certify that each part has undergone proper pre-shipping checklists. Through a living manifest, the system uniquely serializes, tracks, and ships each part. As noted by Robin Fairchild, the global channel marketing manager at AddOn Networks, “most third-party manufacturers conduct testing through suppliers as opposed to AddOn Networks’ hands-on approach. To that end, every AddOn Networks product is accompanied by physical and online reference material.”

    This stringent product testing processes, along with coding verification under operating conditions, means clients are assured of product compatibility and peace of mind.

    Products of America, Globally Omnipresent

    The seal of quality is further substantiated by a United States of America origination on every AddOn Networks product, another rare accomplishment in an industry where most products are manufactured in Asia. “Our global presence—across 25 countries and multiple production sites across the world—ensures continuity of supply and prompt shipment of products. We are equally proud that every product has an American origin,” stresses McCormick. These are interesting times, not just for AddOn Networks, but for the networking industry. Some of the largest data centers are presently upgrading to 200G and gearing up to move toward 400G over the next few years. From a service provider perspective, the move to 5G will open new doors, as customers expect to consume data at lightning-fast speeds. As data consumption multiplies at a rate of knots, telcos are required to deliver a 30 percent increase in bandwidth on an annual basis, while still reducing costs. How could they practically accomplish those numbers?

    AddOn Networks has the wherewithal to aid telcos—of all sizes— in becoming efficient with their working capital and inventory, and the integration expertise to steer clients to the next wave of networking technologies without the need for sizeable investments. To facilitate the move to 5G, several operators are leaning toward reusing passive optical networks (PONs). However, AddOn Networks has suggested that operators maximize their existing assets while planning for the future by combining a WDM with a Common Public Radio Interface (CPRI).

    From a product expansion perspective, AddOn Networks recently launched a new optical channel monitor that allows for the remote monitoring of DWDM wavelengths on optical fibers. AddOn Networks will also be introducing two key technologies: PAM4 and Gearbox, and three new form factors (QSFP56, QSFP-DD, and OSFP) to support its customers.

    Steering ahead, AddOn Networks is looking to expand its global operational breadth. With plans to grow its product line, “both organically and inorganically,” AddOn Networks is poised to make several acquisitions over the next few years. After opening a new sales office in Bangalore, India, the company has set its sights on furthering its operations in Latin America.

    On a closing note, AddOn Networks is determined to sustain its “people-first culture” that has fueled the company’s success over the last 20 years. “We are in route to becoming the de facto standard for fiber optic transceivers across the world. However, we will still maintain the family-like atmosphere that we have worked hard to preserve over two decades,” concludes McCormick.

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