Discussing the pros and cons of multi-manufacturer integrated solutions

About QED Ltd.

As a single source distributor of technology security solutions, QED supplies everything from your first fix infrastructure to the second fix of network hardware. With over 10,000 products and expert support, we help make security simpler, more effective and more affordable.

To Start

In an industry full of acronyms and ever changing standards, designing networks to suit specific customer requirements can quickly lead to confusion. The first and most crucial step into creating a successful network is the application design. This will ensure all bases are covered and that all network devices integrate effectively.

When networks are designed with thought and consideration, the high performance that is delivered is the seal that the customer has spent wisely. However, some of the most common errors in network design and deployment is the lack of understanding of what the network needs to be capable of; as well as how the system will actually be used. This can depend on what is being transmitted. Although it can also depend on other considerations:

Beating Bottlenecks

It’s easy to assume that your network will cater for all types of traffic. However, failing to consider bottlenecks in throughput can cause some serious performance issues. These bottlenecks can be caused by hardware limitations or by using a variety of infrastructure transmission types.
One of the most common causes of bottlenecks is misunderstanding aggregate throughputs. A simple mistake to make without reading the technical specifications of every product.

This is because manufacturers often mix up their aggregate and directional throughputs. For example, stating that a product is a gigabit port, by which they mean it has the ability to allow a gigabit of data to pass through it. Although technically correct, it is confusing because it translates to a maximum of 1 gigabit in total. An alternative manufacturer might offer double the data throughput and still market it as a gigabit port.

PoE Pitfalls

The growing use of Power over Ethernet (PoE) devices has created another pitfall: the lack of understanding of wattage requirements against budgeted supply. Mainly a result of manufacturers’ classification against standards. Budgets can easily rise beyond expectation when unexamined, rendering features unusable.
If a manufacturer has failed to classify its product correctly, the network switch will give the maximum PoE budget available from that port. Rather than the required wattage as stated in the technical specification. This is due to the switch being unable to identify the item’s correct classification.

Mixing Transmissions?

Mixing different types of infrastructure is not a dark art, but there are always pros and cons. For example, fibre can extend transmission distances vastly. It is not prone to interference or information being accessed without authorisation. However, fibre requires expensive specialist termination and cannot support PoE. Copper, on the other hand, is fibre’s polar opposite. Transmission distances are however limited to 90m (without the use of additional equipment). Wireless solutions cannot support PoE but can extend transmission distances many kilometres. As well as come into play when the cost or other constraints make physical hard wiring impractical. Wireless solutions bring many more environmental considerations than other formats.

With an understanding of transmission types and limitations, you can deploy a trouble-free multi-transmission network. Many suppliers only deal with one or two types; so single sourcing can be time consuming. It can also create technical support issues, with potential for finger pointing: “it’s not our part of the network it’s theirs”. As well as limited evidence to help you tell fact from fiction.

Integrating Everything

With the evolution of remote access and smart phone apps, the demand for integration is a growing market. It is an essential requirement for the modern day network to be able to place everything. From internet access and streaming surveillance video, to unlocking doors and home automation – at the touch of a button or the swipe of a screen. These solutions sometimes require specialist equipment, especially when high bandwidth applications are required. This could be in cases where physical hard wiring is not an option. By integrating various technologies to achieve these solutions, single sourcing becomes a much harder task.

Multi-manufacturer networks can be a cost effective way to meet your application demands without compromising on features. Yet this type of solution can be prone to issues from the risk of non-compatibility or incorrect deployment. Dealing with different manufacturers and sources can be time consuming, making diagnostics and fault finding difficult. Sourcing from a single distributor removes these headaches because the complete infrastructure and hardware solution design is tailored for compatibility.

Built For Tomorrow

The benefit of choosing a complete application solution is clearest when looking ahead. Expansion should be an integral part of the flexibility of any network, whenever that expansion is deployed. A single solution makes that expansion simpler, protecting your investment for longer.

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