Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Counterfeit Cisco SFPs

The other day I noticed a box of SPFs sitting on a shelf that looked odd, so I grabbed the box and took a look at the individually wrapped SPFs inside. What I saw didn't make me feel any better, they looked like knock-offs I had seen other people run into.

Here's what the box's label looked like that originally got me interested:

Notice how there's no serial number? Cisco always prints all the serial numbers on the box when you buy new equipment.
The quantity is also wrong. This box should have six SFPs not one like it says.

Here's what the anti-static bags looked like that the SFPs were in:

Again, no serial number.

Here's what the counterfeit SFP looks like compared to a real one:

The real one is on the right side. Notice the CLEI code label on both sides that the counterfeit doesn't have.

Here the real one is on the bottom. You can see the serial number on the counterfeit is not in the usual Cisco format.

So now you know a couple ways to spot a counterfeit Cisco SFP when it's not in use. What about when they've already been installed?

"show inventory raw" is the command you'll need in most cases. Just look for serial numbers that aren't in the correct format (e.g. first 3 letters for manufacturer, 4 numbers for the date code, and 4 unique characters for the ID).

More information about "show inventory raw" can be found on Cisco's feature guide for Unique Device Identifier Retrieval.

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