When Shopping Around, Focus on What You Need

There are a lot of benefits as enterprises plan for the future of their networks. But all the factors must be considered while trying to keep from getting caught up in all the shiny new products. Casey Adams addresses this issue as related to buying a new vehicle in his recent CommScope blog.

When Shopping Around, Focus on What You NeedMy friend bought a new car. When shopping around, he did all of his research and ranked the cars that interested him the most. The features he focused on were: looks, color, miles per gallon, resale value and maintenance.

Everything about the car was considered but four big ones: his wife and three kids. This makes owning the sports car he purchased non-functional for his lifestyle.

My friend sold the new sports car.

When it comes to product benefits and differentiators in our market place, there is a lot of convergence of similar benefits. However, the most important factor to consider is what you are using it for.

The fiber world continues to push for higher and higher density, meaning more connections in less space. While this is OK in a static world of backbone and horizontal cabling, it can be tough when you factor in a high volume of moves, adds, and changes (MAC). Moving adjacent cables to gain access to ports, especially high density / high cable, is not always an ideal solution. Storage area network environments see very little MAC work, so the idea of “set it and forget it” is the benefit for high density ports. On the other hand, cross connects see more action, so consideration should be given to ease of use for the customer versus density needs of the application. For the data center environment, pre-terminated fiber solutions abound as the solution of choice due to their ease and speed of installation.

Let’s take a closer look at the copper side of the house and if it can be looked at in the same way.

Historically, field termination was the preferred method of deployment. If the panel was not fully populated on day one, it becomes difficult to go back and add ports later without interfering with previously installed cables and active ports. A newer more attractive solution to copper installations is a modular pre-terminated copper system. Each component is factory built and tested to the specifications of each panel, which allows for easy changes and additions. Therefore, the end user attains the benefit of fast deployments that are easy to add or move capacity as business needs change.

Again, it is about the application the customer is using and the challenges each installation brings. If an enterprise does not pay attention to the factors of practical use and needs of their infrastructure, they can end up making the same mistake my friend did when shopping for his latest vehicle.

My friend now drives a minivan.