By now you are probably aware that Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) don’t manufacture optical transceivers for their switches and routers; they source their optics from a small number of Contract Manufacturers (CMs).  At Approved we refer to the largest, most reputable contract manufacturers as the “Big Five” (Although if you are familiar with the industry, recently you have seen several mergers and buyouts within this market space). The Big Five build for almost every major OEM, including: Cisco, Juniper, Arista, Ciena, Tellabs and more. Companies like Cisco purchase their optics from the CM pre-programmed and labeled with their product identification before selling it to their customers at a premium. In fact, an overwhelming percentage of OEM profits come from the transceivers they’re able to sell at artificially inflated prices due to self-imposed compatibility constraints.

You might ask. Why don’t I just purchase from one of the Big Five myself? The answer is simple: As a result of the corresponding manufacturing agreements, CMs can’t provide OEM coded solutions outside of their contractual obligations. They can, however, sell the hardware in its uncoded state.

A select few OEM alternative suppliers, like Approved Networks, purchase directly from the same CMs as the OEMs, then program, test and ship at a fraction of the price (despite paying more for the hardware than the likes of Cisco and Juniper). It really is true that choosing an OEM alternative supplier can save you both time and money.  We’re often asked, “ Does my current supplier purchase directly from Tier 1 contract manufacturers? Am I guaranteed to get the same quality?”

The answer, the majority of the time, is  NO.

The truth is, less than a handful of OEM alternative vendors have direct relationships with the Big Five Contract Manufacturers. Most online stores and brokers purchase from sources overseas with little to no ability to control the quality and/or reliability of the products they offer.  In fact, most suppliers can not program or test optics before selling them to you (a topic for further discussion in another article).

Our recommendation is to research your vendors carefully before making a purchasing decision that will affect your entire campus or data center environment. Spend time talking to your OEM alternative representatives and learn what their capabilities are prior to making any purchasing decisions.  Quite often, just asking for a test report or screen shot of your products working in a live OEM environment is a good indicator of the size and quality of the company you are considering. If you can conduct a site visit, that’s even better.

At Approved Networks, we invite you to drop in anytime to tour our production facility, just as we do with our vendors. Approved is one of the few OEM optic suppliers that has a direct relationship with the Tier 1 contract manufacturers. These established relationships allow senior management to personally conduct both scheduled and unannounced on-site audits of all our manufacturers’ facilities. Taking these extra steps ensures consistency and integrity in the production of our optics. This confidence allows us to provide an unbeatable lifetime warranty on our entire catalog of products.  Our stringent quality assurance processes also results in a 99.97% reliability rating which is actually higher than the OEMs.

Quality is the cornerstone of Approved Networks success and it starts by partnering with the largest global contract manufacturers. This is due to the fact that they are the first step in providing high quality, cost-effective solutions in direct contrast to the budget-prohibitive prices commonly associated with OEM networking products.

Approved Networks’ core competencies include: transceivers, direct attach cables, network cabling, cable management solutions and more…