• United States

Watch those port prices

Apr 08, 20042 mins

* With 10 Gigabit Ethernet, a port has more than one piece, each with a price tag

An astute reader recently pointed out that LAN switch per-port prices are not always as they might first appear.

He was responding to a newsletter several weeks ago that referred to a price of $600 per port for the copper 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports on the Cisco Catalyst 6500 switch. That amazing price, it turned out, isn’t the complete price if you want to get up and running with copper 10 Gig.

Obviously, you have to pay for the chassis itself, but there’s more – as the reader writes:

“I was just as ‘excited’ when I read that Cisco was shipping a $600 10G Ethernet port using CX4. However, I became disappointed when I read into the details. I discovered that this is the cost of the 10GBase-CX4 XENPAK module only. You still have to buy a 10G line card… with a cost of at least $3,500 per port. The real news is that you do not have to buy an additional $3,000 10GBase-LR XENPAK module. The total price for the 10G port is then $4,100 – still expensive, but better than $6,500.”

As a colleague later also pointed out, since these ports consist of two pieces – the line card and the transceiver – vendors might emphasize one or the other when touting a new product. It’s definitely something to look out for, and I apologize for not delivering the whole story the first time around.