Industry Insights

Connecting The Dots With Rudy: Leave It To Transceivers

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 | by Rudy Montgelas


Leave it to Transceivers…….

Leave it to transceivers to provide a path for upgrading your fiber optic link to the next generation of data transmission speeds, from 10 to 40 to 100 Gigabits/s …..          

Fiber optic transceivers are modular, pluggable/interchangeable optoelectronic devices that are at the heart of a fiber optic communication system. They basically convert the switch's electrical signals to optical signals on one end and back again on the other.




There’s no doubt that the “need for speed”, or faster data transmission rates, is an ever increasing requirement for tomorrow’s data centers, local area networks and digital communication systems.

Did you know?
Fiber optic transceivers also have built-in memory chips that “program” them to work with the specific switch gear, routers and transmission equipment which they are designed to plug into.

Also, transceivers may use different schemes, like PAM4 to increase the modulation of the light containing the encoded data.  The transmission throughput can be increased by adding more fibers (parallel optical transmission) or even adding more wavelengths on a single fiber (WDM).


Therefore, transceivers can come with different formats or in so many shapes and sizes (form factors) in order to fit into the switch equipment “slots”.  It can sometimes be quite confusing to figure out what products you actually need to use.

What about MSA or MMWA?
Transceivers are interchangeable. They are designed that way from different manufacturers, under an MSA, or Multi –Source Agreement, which has been established in the industry by transceiver suppliers to assure standardized and compatible mechanical and electrical interfaces.

So, what about the transmission equipment warranty if you use someone else’s transceiver!!? It turns out that the Government “has your back” with the Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act (MMWA) enacted in 1975. Equipment manufacturers cannot require that only their brand of transceivers be used with the switch in order to retain the warranty.

How do you select your transceiver then? 

First, you need to determine the three major application requirements for your fiber switch gear and transmission equipment:": 1) the transmission data rates you need now and will need in the future (migration); 2) The protocols and data formats required and 3) The type of fiber optic cabling you plan to use or may already have installed (standard multimode, wide band multimode, single mode, cable constructions and fiber counts). 

Once selected, consult your manufacturer’s specification sheets for important technical information such as optical power transmitted and required at the receiver, as well as insertion fiber losses, wavelengths of operation and polarity requirements for all components.

Always make sure your transceiver’s requirements match up with your switch and your cable’s fiber and connector types.

Also keep in mind that Legrand may be able to provide you a "Universal Transceiver" that works with some or all of your network equipment, allowing you to reduce your inventory of spares.  Legrand's transceiver offering has been expanded to operate with a wider range of equipment from popular manufacturers such as Arista, Brocade, Cisco, Finisar, HP, Juniper, and more.  Legrand's transceiver offering is competively priced, TAA compliant and guaranteed to meet or exceed OEM specifications.