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With the spread of the internet, the initiation of IT solutions and data center upgrades, a surge in the demand for optical modules observed in recent years. Third-party modules have emerged as an option when it comes to the optical modules market. In this post, we are going to discuss the reasons behind the popularity of third-party modules as a potent option for upcoming 5G and 400G applications.

What are 3rd Party Transceivers?

3rd-party transceivers or compatible transceivers or 3rd party optics comes are similar to OEM (original equipment manufacturer) transceivers in terms of compatibility and performance. Some consumers prefer to go with the 3rd party transceivers as they are offered at a much lesser price and with far more comfortable warranty conditions. On the other hand, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) seldom manufacture their products.

 It is an open secret that CISCO hires 3rd party vendors to get its products designed and manufactured and later the same products are sold at high prices and with arrogant warranty terms. It is unfortunate that some OEMs even blackmail the consumer and make them agree to very harsh warranty conditions that inhibit the use of third party transceivers. However, you don’t have to worry! 3rd party transceivers are as safe as the OEM ones.


Reasons behind the Popularity of 3rd Party Transceivers

Undoubtedly, 3rd party transceivers have established their worth by providing the customers with great experience over the last two decades. Now, as we are heading towards 5G, the role of 3rd party vendors and their products has become more important. Let it be the cost, compatibility, availability, or scalability OEM optical modules are lagging.

3rd Party Modules Work where OEM Modules Fail!

The OEM modules have various issues that push more people to go with the non-OEM ones. Forget about cost here and talk about things like compatibility and free upgrades. To date, no OEM module supports free upgrades – a very crucial thing for network operators. Compatibility is another very important factor to be discussed here. Unfortunately, OEM modules are supplied to work with the legacy OEM routers and switches only. So, your networking hardware will get absolute and difficult to find. A network operator who has hardware from different vendors can face serious issues because an OEM module from one vendor won’t work with the networking hardware manufactured by another original equipment manufacturer.

FREE Upgrades, Universal Compatibility, Customizable Products

Contrary to the OEM modules, 3rd party modules are offered with lifetime FREE upgrades and at very cheap prices, relatively. Unlike OEM transceivers, third-party transceivers offer complete compatibility with switches and routers from different vendors. In scenarios where you have to maintain compatibility across products by different vendors, you can easily choose from 3rd party products because they are designed with multi-party compatibility. In case, if you come across compatibility trouble than you can order a specifically designed and coded optical module to work with your existing hardware. This kind of service can never be obtained from big OEM names such as CISCO, IBM, etc.

Better After-Sale Services

Have you ever talked to an OEM about the issues you face with their products? Those who have experience already know the truth. It’s very difficult to get a warranty claim processed or a bad part replaced when it comes to original equipment manufacturers. In contrast, 3rd party module manufacturers remain open, accessible, and ready to cooperate.

As we have mentioned above, it is quite possible that a network operator can lodge a request to a 3rd party vendor for getting a customized optical transceiver module. Generally speaking, 3rd party modules are designed and tested according to the strict MSA standards. However, most vendors offer straightforward warranty and you can get your faulty unit replaced with a brand new one almost instantly. Regrettably, most OEMs are operating with very harsh and inappropriate warranty policy which becomes a headache for the consumer.

3rd Party Transceivers Current Status

As 3rd party modules grew in popularity, many vendors entered into the business. These vendors offer products with better services and at a much lower price than the OEMs. Consequently, we witnessed 3rd surge in the demand of third party optics and at the same time, these products started grasping the market share. Today, third party transceivers are far more popular than the OEM ones and are also increasing in terms of market share. According to market research carried out by a reputable firm, the global 3rd party optics market will show massive growth in upcoming years to achieve around USD 1.4 billion by 2027 – more than double of the magnitude this market had back in 2017. It is also forecasted in the report that the 3rd party transceivers market will achieve approximately 8.18% growth rate in 2027

Third-Party Optics in 5G Perspective

The global 3rd party optics market is being nurtured based on two major opportunities; ultra-high-speed network demand and data center upgrades. The high-speed networks are going to play a vital role in the successful implementation of various 5G based cloud solutions. At the same time, many data centers will have to undergo massive turnarounds such as the transition to 400G so to stay relevant in the upcoming, cutthroat kind of competition.

3rd Party Transceivers - A Less Risky Option

Right now, we don’t have exact information about the kind of resources which will be required for the deployment of 5G networks. It is expected that the massive technology updates will leave a significant number of pre-deployed modules as “obsolete”. Thus, the wise deployment of modules and devices at each network layer including backhaul, mid-haul, and front-haul is required for the curtailment of risk associated with uncertainty. As we have discussed above, third-party transceivers including; 100G QSFP28, 25G DWDM, and 10G WDM SFP+ are quite cost-effective. Network operators can reduce risks and costs by using these excellent alternatives available to the OEM transceivers. Third-party optics are great for those who don’t want to invest a lot of their money as 5G is still a risky prospect!

Growth in fiber based networking

From automatically driven cars to remotely supervised surgeries and from HD streaming to virtual tourism everything is going to test the internet to its limits soon. The world is now looking forward to fifth-generation networking technology and as a consequence data centers will see a dramatic increase in traffic. With this dramatic increase in traffic, we will see a massive rise in the demand for faster transceivers. The 25G/40G/100G third-party transceivers available today can be considered as a great replacement for older 1G and 10G modules. Many vendors are offering 200G QSFP56 modules also. However, according to experts 25G infrastructure is going to play a vital role in the frontal of the 5G.


Third-party transceivers are time-tested and consumer family products. The upcoming boom in the form of 5G technology seems to bring serious challenges for data center operators. Though 5G is quite promising still, there are some risks involved. For investors who are looking to upgrade their existing hardware facilities, there is a cost-effective choice available in the form of 25G third-party transceivers. We can conclusively say that the 3rd party optics industry is going to grow quite rapidly in upcoming years.