IPIQ: Networked Solutions: The Sum Total
Q: Networking has quickly become a must-have in the service offering of integrators. But when we talk about home networks, many people focus on Wi-Fi. Is reliable Wi-Fi the key to a robust home network?
A: It is certainly a major factor. The sheer number of new devices that require wireless network connectivity are astounding when you consider the technology is barely ten years old. According to a recent study, the average individual owns 2.6 network connected mobile devices. And, it’s projected that by the end of this month, there will be more network connected mobile devices on the planet than there are people! To put this in perspective, essential technologies like the automobile and telephone took several decades to evolve, whereas wireless networking, has been adopted by both consumers and manufacturers alike with a ferocity that has rarely been seen. However, it is important to note that the wireless network is only as good as the routing and switching platform deployed in the home. You can have the world’s best wireless access points and a state-of-the-art wireless controller, but if you are using an over-the-counter router and switch, the wireless system will never function as well as it should.
Q: What are some of the most common mistakes integrators commit when specifying and installing a network? How can these be avoided?
A: Integrators need to consider the sum total of a networking solution, which affects both the integrator’s operation, the long-term support of the project, and ultimately, the integrator’s relationship with the client. When our industry began to interface with the network in the home, it was primarily to service a music server that needed to grab metadata from outside the house. Today we are seeing systems in the field with over 200 devices on the LAN. What we know to be true here at Access Networks is that the traffic levels, the management of the LAN and the ability to service the network are critical factors for an integrator’s success. If an integration company still relies on equipment that is either A) not capable of supporting the deployed solution and/or B) does not offer network visibility, their ability to guarantee their client a reliable experience with their network is severely challenged. As an industry, we need to take a cue from the enterprise and match our custom integration projects with the high-level enterprise-grade networking hardware that can support them. These devices provide both the long term reliability and the backend network visibility our industry requires to remain successful.