All you have to do is browse around our site or any of the many similar sites online, and one thing becomes clear: there is a LOT of network equipment out there for the choosing.
Practically overnight, computer networking technologies have gone from being a luxury, to a convenience, to a necessity. The Internet has exploded our use of data throughout our lives – both at home and at work – and modern networks reflect that.
Buying network equipment today isn't just about sending someone around to Best Buy to pick up a new router. It's an investment in your company's future which will have a significant impact on your ability to do business in the years to come. It's not simply about choosing the right equipment or vendor, but choosing the one that's right for you.
Let's take a look at some of the most important considerations when you're looking to upgrade your network and your telephone system. Whether you have five employees or fifty, this is a decision that requires careful planning if it's going to pay off.
Five Important Issues To Consider Before Buying New Network Equipment
What is your current capability? Obviously, your network upgrade needs to at least cover what you currently have. Do a networking inventory that comprehensively covers your existing setup. How many inbound and outbound lines do you have? How many routers\gateways? How many telephones? How much bandwidth gets used? This will give you the bare minimum for your upgrading needs.
Where do you see your business in five years? Your new network is going to be around for at least that long, so you need to be looking ahead. Are you going to develop more in the physical world, or on the Internet? If you're planning to stay mostly offline, you'll want to focus on telecommunications services such as videoconferencing and Voice-over-IP (VoIP) telephone service. If you're planning to mostly be online, your network should focus on having stable servers, robust backup, and careful use of Cloud services.
Are you changing quickly or slowly? Doing a major network upgrade is a little like pulling off a large band-aid. Whether you do it quickly or slowly, it's going to hurt a bit either way – it's more a matter of how it hurts. Some equipment, like ADTRAN's Total Access line, are aimed at businesses looking to transition slowly. If you'd prefer to get it over with immediately, a more complete solution like a Unified Communications Server may be what you need instead.
Who's your partner? As networking has become more advanced, the need for outside support has also grown. Today, your networking equipment vendor is also going to be your main source for tech support, as well as possibly guiding you through implementation. Finding a company with a long track record of successful installations will go a long way towards ensuring your success.
What's your budget? One of the best things about the expansion of the networking market is that there are now solutions that meet every budget. Sure, most of the big companies use Cisco, but when other companies put out competitive products at literally half the price, is the brand name that important? Another reason you want to find the right partner vendor is that they can recommend the best solutions that still fit your budget.
The key takeaway here is: proceed slowly when upgrading your networking equipment. This has become a much “bigger” issue than in years past, and choices you make today will impact you as the years pass. A wise choice today will pay off in the long run.