How to Force Cisco Switches to use Third Party SFPs

how to force Cisco transceivers

Nearly every designer is looking for a way to force Cisco switches to use third party SFPs because their hardware is some of the most expensive on the market. This leaves many Cisco users looking for ways to reduce the amount of money they spend on hardware. Third-party optical transceivers is one way to lower expenses. Some of the most common transceivers chosen are small-form (SFP) transceivers. These transceivers are designed to plug-and-play without requiring a reboot. Though Cisco would much rather you pay $200 or more for their transceivers, here are some of the ways that you can force Cisco switches to use third party SFPs and save some money.

Use Commands to Enable Third-Party SFPs on Cisco Switches
There are some simple commands that will remove the restrictions on the Cisco switches. Many of these commands are not documented and will not show up in the standard help list of recognized commands. Here are two of the most recommended commands to enable third-party SFPs.

1. Service Unsupported-Transceiver
When typing this in, designers will receive a warning message, but the transceivers can be installed, and the software will make no attempt to stop it from occurring. Armed with this knowledge, designers can switch to third-party hardware. A second command may be necessary if the automated port shutdown needs to be disabled.

2. No Errdisable Detect Cause Gbic-Invalid
Enter this command, and your Cisco switch will accept most any SFP transceiver plugged into it. This increases the number of vendors that you can use with Cisco switches.

What Happens When It Still Won’t Support the Third-Party SFPs
Sometimes, there will still be error or warning messages issued with some third-party SFPs. These messages include:

“Cisco will not give support for third party hardware.”
A warning message will be issued if the SFP causes damage to the Cisco switch and it’s outside of warranty. A warning message will be issued if the SFP is causing a problem and will only work with the official model. In general, if the SFP is from a reliable vendor, there will not be a problem. Quality SFPs are recommended for the best results. Even poorly made SFPs, typically, do not cause problems. Most designers enjoy the cost-savings so much that damage to the products are minimal. That’s why it’s important to know how to force Cisco switches to use third-party SFPs.

Forcing Cisco Switches to Use Third Party SFPs Gives You More Options
Designers who can use different vendors for third-party SFPs will enjoy the flexibility of brand or vendors. When upgrades are needed, designers can shop around for the best and most cost-effective solution. There is a minimal chance that it will hurt your design. That’s why it’s important to know how to force Cisco switches to use third-party SFPs. When designers master this concept, they’ll be in a much better position to create designs that are cost-effective, which is beneficial for both designers and customers.