If you’re ever confused about which optics work with which systems and other optics, check out Cisco Optics online tools. You’re not alone, and it’s certainly not your fault. Pluggable optics nomenclature and compatibility are inherently complicated, which is why we created these online tools to help make your life easier.

Written with Peter Wong, Product Manager, Cisco Optics.

There are two Cisco Optics online tools currently available, with more on the way. The first one we released is the Optics-to-Device Compatibility Matrix, which tells you which Cisco Optics products are fully qualified and supported on which Cisco networking products such as switches, routers, and servers. The second one is the Optics-to-Optics Interoperability Matrix. When given a specific Cisco Optics product, it tells you which other Cisco Optics products or optical standards are optically interoperable with it. In other words, it tells you which pluggable transceivers it can talk to through the fiber cable.

Both the Compatibility Matrix and Interoperability Matrix offer the user an interactive experience by providing specific search or query options, as well as dynamic output filters. They also provide additional information such as technical specifications and breakout requirements. Together, the two online tools allow the user to have an end-to-end view, whether it is for planning or deployment.

The genesis of the user interactive online tools began with the Compatibility Matrix. The previous reference was a set of static tables in webpages. They were adequate when there weren’t that many products in the portfolio. But over the years the tables expanded as Cisco released new product families, for both networking products and pluggable optics. In parallel, with the introduction of product families such as QSFP100, we began to see breakout interoperability with other product families, and a proliferation of 100G PMD (Physical Medium Dependency) standards in the industry. The end result was that the static tables were so large that they were unreadable.

The Compatibility Matrix tells you which optics work with which systems, while the Interoperability Matrix tells you which optics can communicate with each other optically through fiber cables.

Since its introduction two years ago, the Compatibility Matrix has averaged over 1000 page views daily. The Interoperability Matrix has been receiving around 100 page views daily since its launch in August 2020. Stay tuned for more Cisco Optics online tools!

For a video introduction of the Cisco Optics Compatibility Matrix, please click here.
For a video introduction of the Cisco Optics Interoperability Matrix, please click here.

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