Today networking is the name of the game. It is solely responsible for locating the word “ubiquitous” everywhere. No one is an island. Everything sees and talks to everything else and networks are the lines that connect the dots. There are always times when a company has to initiate a network, upgrade a network or maintain a network. Not for the fainthearted this serves as a short guide to ensure one doesn’t end up un-networked and appear to others simply as a dot.
Youth doesn’t always go the distance
When it’s networking time there are still some that blithely volunteer the services of a student nephew that really has his ‘net together. Being able to connect to the internet is no longer as certification to connect to other network elements. Some networks have been around for more than a century (Alexander Graham Bell died in 1922 for goodness sake). So a good place to start is to research how long the prospective companies have been in business. To survive for more than a decade in this fast moving competitive industry is no mean feat.
Smart companies also look at how long the individuals at the top of the cabling enterprise have been around. It’s more often than not the owners’ experience that defines how professional the networking company is. Some nodes on networks that you need to connect to may make use of older cabling technologies such as coaxial cabling. After that twisted pair came about and minimized signal bleeding. Being so new to the game that a network design company only knows how to spell “fiber optic” is not going to help to connect you to your octogenarian business partners.
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe
Take a good look at how a prospective network design and installation company goes about its business. Do they start off by assessing things, taking careful notes of what you say and looking at your existing network technologies? When they throw words around like “plan of action” are you satisfied you read “minimum disruption to my operations” between the lines? Did they convince you that they understand that “voice” and “data” are two strands in the same network? We all know that wireless is the way of the future. Does the prospective company seem to think it is the panacea for all current network requirements? Do they use network planning tools or do they have all your solutions at their fingertips?
And the winner is . . . .
Apply the same sophistication in selecting your network design and installation company as you expect them to apply to designing and installing your network solution. This does not mean to go for the lowest price or for the most expensive. It does not mean the one with the quickest installation time is your networking partner nor is the one with the longest time to completion. Look at the requirements and measurements you assigned to this selection before you spoke to the first company and see how they compare with the proposed solution. As you know, networking an organization is not quite the same as networking over a business lunch.