>>> Anybody have any experience with FlexOptic? Their website seems a
>>> little crazy: http://www.flexoptix.net
>>> But they claim to have an SFP/GBIC programmer, plus tunable optics,
>>> which is what interests me.
>> We just decided to order the starter kit. If the first tests with the
>> included 1G SX SFPs succeed, we'll probably buy some LX and BX gear
>> too; maybe 10 Gbps gear later on. We'll test against Cisco Cat6k and
>> HP Procurve; I can report our findings to the list if people are
> Yes, please let us know.
OK, update: we received our starter kit with 10 included 1 Gbps SX
SFP's. Using the flexBox requires a Windows machine with IE browser, but
that's something we can live with. Reprogramming a SFP is easy as pie:
plug it in, select the desired compatibillty in the (online) web
interface, press the "play" button... and after about 10 secs it's done.
Programmed transceiver works in a HP switch: it's accepted, no visible
difference between a reprogrammed one and an original. Downside: with
automated inventory, you can't tell between "original original" and
"programmed to be recognised as original". Upside: so can't the vendor,
unless they change the authenticity checking procedure.
Got a trial for the Pro version this week; with the starter license it's
only possible to reprogram transceivers sold by FlexOptix, but with the
Pro license you can also reprogram 3rd party optics. This enabled us to
"upgrade" older Procurve SFP transceivers (eg J4859A) to be recognised
as newer (J4859C) versions. Now we can re-use the transceivers in newer
switches, while they would otherwise be limited to old models. Only
difference: the complexity in "authenticity check", according to
Support from the company is OK. Tech savvy, responsive. Transceiver
prices are about 5 times lower than original vendor list price.
We haven't tested the more exciting stuff yet: singlefiber transceivers,
programming an ER SFP+ to be recognised as LR (enabling extended range
on a switch that doesn't actually support it), making twinax cables that
are "vendor A" on one end and "vendor B" on the other... we'll do that
in the next couple of weeks, first have to order the necessary gear.
We won't test stuff like DWDM or even tunable DWDM, since our campus and
remote sites have enough fiber and even MAN rings are < 20 km. For us,
the cost savings on SX, LX/LH SFP's and SR / LR SFP+ are already enough
to get the Pro license. It might be worth your while to get a quote on
such a transceiver and compare it to what you'd pay for a Cisco
As someone mentioned earlier, it's trading one vendor lock-in for
another. Still, the lock-in that flexOptix presents (currently credit
structure for transceiver programming, is being altered) is less
restrictive than the lock-in by our equipment vendors. Also, there are
other companies besides FlexOptix who are also in the transceiver
programming business. One could even reverse engineer the programming
device and figure out what to write to the transceivers... but
personally, I'll leave the research on transceiver programming to this
company who is already saving us money.
Since there's some Cisco-employed folk on this list too: any comments?
I've seen some nice threads about the differences between SFP, XFP and
SFP+ form factors and transceiver interface / intelligence from a device
vendor point of view. Cisco already has a command to enable 3rd party
transceivers. Is the transceiver branding mainly based on economical
arguments or technical as well?
Jeroen van Ingen
ICT Service Centre
University of Twente, P.O.Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands
ps: we have no affiliation with FlexOptix, I'm just happy with with my
new toy :)
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