Below is our recent interview with Patrick Beard, CTO of AddOn Networks:
Q: Please provide a brief introduction to AddOn Networks.
A: At AddOn, our goal is to create quality connections around the world through the power of fiber optics. Our optical transceivers and high-speed cabling empower businesses of all sizes to expand their network bandwidth and connection speed, and confidently manage and maximize data growth. By providing trusted, tested and independent solutions that challenge current pricing models, we have removed the barriers that many companies experience when adopting optical transceivers and high-speed cabling. Since our founding in 1999 in Orange County, California, we have since grown to become the world’s largest independent manufacturer of optical transceivers.
Q: What are some of the factors driving the growth in the optical transceiver market?
A: The most significant factor is the data traffic being created by online commerce, social networking, mobile devices, cloud computing, and the like. Reliable, high-speed interconnects play an increasingly crucial role in modern data centers – with optical transceivers being the linchpin to a growth strategy that can scale with an increase in data. Optical transceivers’ ability to support fast bandwidth in data centers and networking environments is well-documented, as the properties of optical fiber far exceed what can be accomplished with traditional copper. So it should come as no surprise that data centers are set to be the driving force behind increasing optical transceiver sales, which are set to reach $6.87 billion by 2022.
Q: What is AddOn’s competitive advantage?
A: In 2017, we completed development of a new state-of-the-art, 10,000-plus square foot programming and testing lab – the likes of which is unmatched today. This lab enables us to test to desired specifications and within the intended environment. Truly a hallmark that underscores our dedication to quality, our testing lab enables us to offer transceivers that are guaranteed for functionality and performance. We also have developed a proprietary tracking system called the Data Traveler process that creates a living manifest and allows us to uniquely serialize, track and ship every part.
In addition to our lab, we consistently go above and beyond the standard to recreate the exact network environment in which the optical transceivers will be used. By installing switches from every major manufacturer, our technicians simulate an environment and test each transceiver to guarantee its performance so our customers are assured that the transceivers they receive from us have been individually tested and serialized/MSA-compliant. This attention to detail has led to our products setting an industry standard by achieving a success rate of 99.98% – compared to an average of 85% from competitors. By guaranteeing the quality, compatibility and reliability of our transceivers, AddOn’s role as a trusted partner in the networking ecosystem removes guesswork and allows IT managers to embrace the current onslaught of data.
Q: Tell us about your channel program. How is that a strength for AddOn?
A: Our products are marketed primarily through the channel. We focus on adding tangible value and have developed strong partnerships with many of the industry’s leading distributors. Our agile business model enables us to be flexible and committed to putting the customer first, with quick response times and competitive pricing. In addition to cost savings, our highly technical engineering staff is constantly creating new solutions to help our channel partners do more.
Q: How did you create a model for delivering affordable optical transceivers that could meet and exceed OEM standards of quality and reliability?
A: We recognized early on that we could create value in providing OEM alternatives with better availability and reliability. We created a production system that capitalized on industry standards while supporting individual OEM requirements. Layered into this production environment is a system that is brand agnostic and capable of supporting the varied needs of each customer. From the traditional reseller/distributor customer segment to telecom service providers, product solutions are tailored to segments unique needs.
It’s our proprietary tracking system that creates a living manifest and allows us to uniquely serialize, track and ship every part. AddOn’s Data Traveler process tracks every part through unique serialization, programming, testing, labeling, boxing, and shipping. We’ve set the blueprint for how to program, test and ship product at a high volume without sacrificing quality or performance.
Q: What are some of the most important markets/applications for your transceivers?
A: The transceiver market is typically sliced into three segments: Datacom, Telecom and Enterprise. Each segment has unique value requirements. AddOn will continue to make tactical investments to ensure our success in the telecom and enterprise markets. We see the telecom segment continue an expansion of their fiber footprint closer to customers. While the datacom segment is looking to the emerging 400G products for their greater port density to bandwidth/power ratio.
Q: What does the future hold for AddOn?
A: AddOn will continue efforts to drive deeper into customer engineering teams – working side by side to develop solutions that ensure customer success. The future AddOn will provide optical solutions with an expanding complimentary product set.
At a base level, we’re focused on creating quality connections around the world through fiber optic connectivity. While it’s true that our transceivers expand network reach, increase bandwidth and improve network performance – it’s the way in which we do this that truly sets AddOn apart. We are completely service-oriented, and every process that we have in place allows us to be nimble and hyper-responsive – while still maintaining quality controls that go above and beyond what any OEM can offer. They may have bigger fish to fry, but our way of thinking assigns every single customer and order the same high importance – and we happen to think that our way is better.