SFP Cost Variation

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.





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

Its all about support under warranty.

CDW is selling the original Brocade SFP. The amazon links only shows a compatible one. In most cases it will work, but if that tiny metal piece will break your freshly installed 20-x2 linecard, Brocade may not replace it. Also some of the cheaper optics may not support monitoring or diagnostic options.

You can also check the second market for an used original optic, if you want to save some budget.


You also run into some quality issues on third party ones, so be aware
and plan for it. I've had maybe one Cisco-branded SFP go bad that I
can think, but I've got a crap ton of Axiom branded ones that were
bad. Twinax ones were even worse...I got maybe two or three inserts
out of a significant fraction of them before they broke. I've had
great luck with Curvature SFPs.

Josh Reynolds wrote:


the cost bases mentioned in this article are a bit odd:

So how much does a 10GB SFP+ SR optic cost? It turns out around $85 +
some margin, bringing the cost to $95.

You can pick up a 10GB SFP+ SR for $15 in units of one from fiberstore.
Given the volumes they buy, vendors are probably paying a lot less than