Common Causes for Transceiver End of Life (EOL) Notices

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Why The Product EOL Notice?

EOL (which means end of life) is an industry acronym for a manufacturer’s official formal notice that a product will be discontinued in the near future.

There are many reasons why a fiber optics product might be discontinued.   A key one is that in order to make better, faster, and more efficient products or meet customer demand, tech suppliers phase out older products.  But there are others.

Knowing why can alleviate some pain points.

Why

There are several reasons why a product is discontinued.  These include the following:

  • Advances in technology. We are all familiar with this scenario for software products and other electronics.  Can you remember your first pc and the software it ran on?  Is it on the shelves now?  Photonics is not immune from this process.   In fact, as technology gets faster and more heavily depended on, we need faster speeds, more efficiency, and more capabilities: i.e., companies are quickly moving from lower to higher data speeds, embracing 100G and 400G upgrades for which they need new components.  New products are developed, and old ones are left behind.
  • Scarcity of a particular resource, material, or component. The recent supply chain problems are causing some of those issues.  The much-reported shortage of semi-conductor chips is a big problem.  Chips are a critically important component of transceivers. Gallium, a hard-to-get metal used in fiber optics networks, is also getting scarcer.
  • Profitability: That product is no longer profitable for the vendor or manufacturer. This might be the case if it’s too hard to source or there’s not much demand for the product.
  • Compliance issues: There are several different types of government regulations but the ones most pertinent now to electronics manufacturers are TAA regulations. TAA regulations stipulate that your product must be manufactured in a TAA-approved country or if you import from a non-TAA-approved company, you must prove that component has been substantially transformed in an approved country.   China is not on the list of TAA-approved countries but it’s a major manufacturing source of electronic components like transceivers and other fiber optic products.  Some projects, especially for the government and military must use only TAA compliant parts.

A current compliance issue is sanctions imposed on electronics manufacturing related to the Russia/Ukraine conflict.  Companies currently are not allowed to import a product if a substantial source of materials or design of that product originated in Russia.  They are also not allowed to export products to Russia.

Trade regulations can also mean tariffs.  The U.S. can decide to impose tariffs on products imported from certain countries.  These tariffs can make that product too costly to import or to sell.

Compliance regulations can change, depending on who’s in power, political or geopolitical tensions or government rulings.

  • Sustainability: A growing awareness of energy and conservation issues, as well as environmental hazards, has meant products/components considered unfriendly to the environment are phased out.
  • Planned obsolescence: Many products have a life cycle built into them and are “phased out” in order for manufacturers to introduce something newer and more profitable.

To read more about what you can do if a product you need is out of stock, discontinued, or EOL (end-of-life), see this article.

Like many other products, fiber optic components have a natural life cycle. Getting an EOL notice can be disconcerting, but understanding why a product you need is no longer available can help you better prepare and plan ahead. Talk to your vendor about alternate sources and last time buy (LTB) options.

Vitex has been providing fiber optics products and solutions to our customers in the US since 2003.  Based in northern New Jersey, we help companies large and small find unique and hard-to-find fiber optic products.  For more information, contact info@vitextech.com.

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