In the past two years, Agilent Technologies has had a unique opportunity to study the reliability of VCSELs from most major manufacturers. We report on our methodology for qualifying prospective VCSEL suppliers, and briefly discuss our findings. The expected use environment for VCSELs is covered, along with VCSEL reliability limitations with existing technology. Differences between maverick and wearout failures are discussed, and examples of each are shown; VCSEL failure analysis is also briefly touched on. Finally, recent challenges in using oxide VCSELs in non-hermetic packaging, and 10 Gb/s operation, are briefly covered.