We have been using FS.com modules for about two months now and wanted to do a mini-review. You may have previously seen my FS S5860-20SQ Switch Review which was a unique switch combining 10GbE, 25GbE, and 40GbE into a single lower-cost switch platform. As part of that review, we started using FS.com optics and DACs that the company sent for us to try and wanted to share the experience thus far.
FS SFP-10GSR-85 and SFP28-25GSR-85 Overview
The first set of modules we have been using is the FS SFP-10GSR-85. These are the short-range modules that utilize a 850nm wavelength and have a LC connector on one end and a SFP+ connector on the other.
Here are the key specs and the 0.6W or a bit under is very reasonable from our testing.
The second module we are using is the FS SFP28-25GSR-85. This is effectively the 25Gbps variant of the SFP-10GSR-85 above.
Here the power is certainly up around 50% in our testing, but getting 2.5x the speed for a 50% increase in power consumption seems to make sense.
We have been using these for two months and they have remained stable. We have also tried them in a few other the lab switches for 2-3 weeks each and saw the same behavior. This is what one would likely expect, and we know many of our readers use these modules.
FS.com’s model is to provide low-cost optics while also offering coding options for specific switches. For example, if one wants the modules coded for Cisco, Juniper, Arista, HPE, Dell, or others, that can be specified on the ordering page. FS guarantees that its modules will work when ordered/ coded properly.
In terms of cost, the 10Gbps module is $20 new while the 25Gbps module is $39 new which is generally less expensive than modules from the vendors.
We also used FS.com’s optical cables and had two of the company’s DACs, both 10G and 25G, that have been working similarly well.
Especially at the 10Gbps and 25Gbps end of the spectrum, the technology is mature enough that there is less differentiation between modules. As such, we know a lot of our readers prefer to use 3rd party optical modules such as these FS.com modules. In our experience thus far, they have worked as expected which is about all we can hope for. We also know many of our readers have corporate IT policies where they must use certified modules in switches. While the modules may not void your warranty, if there is an issue with the switch, large vendors are quick to point to a 3rd party module whether that is the culprit or not.
At this time, there are certainly two ends of the market. One end must use vendor-certified modules. The other is building a self-supporting infrastructure where that is not a consideration. If you can use 3rd party modules, then there is an opportunity to greatly reduce the costs of switches. In our FS S5860-20SQ switch review, the optical modules were 40-50% of the cost of the switch, and in other switches that can be much higher. As a result, saving money on optics can have a major impact on costs.
Overall, we have been happy with the optics from FS over the past two months. This is not a large sample size, but they have worked well thus far.