Does Using Cisco Compatible SFP Void My Warranty?
We get a lot of queries from our clients on the use of third-party hardware along with Cisco products – in particular, with respect to our SFP optical transceivers. Generally Cisco is very strict when it comes to their warranty requirements. They make it very clear that they expect you to buy all components only from them. So, could making use of a third-party transceiver void your Cisco warranty? Well, it’s unlikely to, in most cases, but sometimes it can. Let’s understand how.
What are the Cisco warranty issues related to third-party hardware?
The main issue of concern seems to be that certain specific products from Cisco, such as their Catalyst line of switches, do not allow you to use any non-Cisco transceivers. So in case a compatible SFP optical transceiver is inserted into the Cisco switches, Cisco checks the Vendor ID and serial number of the transceiver. If the switch does not detect an official Cisco product, it shuts down the gigabit port and can be activated again only by inserting an official hardware. You can work around this problem with a simple two-step technique which will get the Cisco switches to accept your third-party transceivers. The only issue is that when you do this step, you will get a strict sounding warning from Cisco that goes like this:
Warning: When Cisco determines that a fault or defect can be traced to the use of third-party transceivers installed by a customer or reseller, then, at Cisco’s discretion, Cisco may withhold support under warranty or a Cisco support program. In the course of providing support for a Cisco networking product Cisco may require that the end user install Cisco transceivers if Cisco determines that removing third-party parts will assist Cisco in diagnosing the cause of a support issue.
So what this means is that if a third-party transceiver is used and results in any sort of damage, then Cisco can refuse warranty support at their own discretion. If the transceiver was only suspected to be at fault, then Cisco could still refuse support till a transceiver of the Cisco brand is inserted. The important thing to note is that they can only threaten to do this under the law, but cannot do anything to take it to a conclusion because of a regulation known as the Magnuson-Moss Act which strictly disallows original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from revoking warranty support just because an unapproved hardware was used. The OEM has to prove why it’s a mistake of the third-party hardware; otherwise they cannot cancel the warranty.
So, are your Cisco-compatible third-party transceivers safe?
Absolutely! All “third party” transceivers made by us are manufactured and assembled using the same processes as official-branded transceivers from Cisco and other vendors. There is really no difference between an official branded Cisco transceiver and a third-party compatible Cisco transceiver made by us in terms of quality. In terms of prices, our devices can cost $200, while branded Cisco transceivers cost thousands of dollars! We have never known a case when a Cisco switch was damaged in any way by any of our third-party transceivers. Indeed, Cisco transceivers have a much higher failure rate than other types of network hardware as they are based on comparatively basic technologies.
To summarise, third-party SFPs are just as reliable as official branded products from OEMs. You don’t have to worry about anything if you were to purchase a Cisco-compatible SFP transceiver from a reputable company such as 1000 GIG that backs up the product with a warranty. Our transceivers are of the same quality as the official branded version, but are available for a much lower cost.