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Third Party Optics and Rise of 400 Gbps: Some Speculation

Rapid growth in the 400G market has been “just a year away” for more than five years now. But it seems plausible that 2020 will be the year of 400G. Pushing demand are the usual suspects; more video and cloud storage that require more bandwidth. In hyperscale data centers, core network architectures are reportedly upgraded every couple of years, and it has been at least two years since the biggest data centers abandoned 10G and 40G for 100G, so now it’s time for 400G.

On the supply side, the latest 12.8 Tbps ASICs are being used to fabricate next-gen switches capable of delivering 32 ports of 400 Gbps. (Although we note that these chips are also used to power high-density 100 Gbps switches.) Meanwhile, 100G single-lambda (100G-DR or 100G-FR) transceiver products are becoming available, and these are capable of directly interoperating with 400G transceivers in a breakout topology. Aggregating four 100G per wavelength lanes, the technology platform can support 400G variatels such as 400G DR4, 400G FR4 and 4x100G for breakout applications.

Given all of the above, most observers foresee millions of 400G transceivers being sold in 2020. This raises the question of who will be shipping these devices. Most of them will be coming from the OEMs; Cisco and Juniper and the like. However, the rise of 400G will also be good for the third-party suppliers, like AddOn, who sell their own branded transceivers that they code identically with OEM-sourced transceivers.

Here are two main reasons why third-party transceivers may do well in the new 400G market.

#1 Cost, of course:

The number one reason why end users buy transceivers from third-party suppliers is cost. The discount on a branded OEM transceiver that third-party suppliers are able to offer can often be well over 80%, which is extraordinary. It is not clear yet that this level of discount will be available on 400 Gbps.

But if it is, savings to end users from third-party 400G modules could be in the order of thousands of dollars per transceivers. In such a case, the savings made from buying third party 400G modules may be enough to buy a much better switch.

#2 Choice & availability:

A third-party optics provider can offer a wide line of transceivers that sometimes even OEMs cannot provide. If you need long reach 1G SFP ZX 160km optics for your fiber slot in Cisco switch, you won’t find original ones, but many 3rd party can meet your needs and deliver it within 1 week. AddOn offers a vast inventory of optics and you can get most of the them with same day shipping.

If you have many brands of network equipment products, you won’t find OEM service offerings that will provide support for equipment other than their own. AddOn has one team of technical experts in a variety of networking equipment from a wide spectrum of manufacturers. Just like if you want to know if a Juniper SFP works with Cisco platform, we will tell you based on our test and experience.

Contact us today to make the transition to 400G.