Original article published in Residential Systems Magazine in February 2017 and written by Michael Maniscalco of Ihij

CES 2017 was packed with new networking options. Manufacturers large and small showcased mesh networks. New networks were touted to be more secure. Tech startups, traditional networking companies, and old-guard antivirus software developers shared the latest in network and security innovations. With all the options available today, it’s more difficult than ever to determine the best networking equipment to install with your systems.

Not a day goes by that a dealer doesn’t ask what networking hardware I’d recommend. It’s a tough question, and my answer can vary widely depending on that business’s specific needs. Here are 10 questions (in no particular order) to consider when deciding which equipment is best for your systems and for your clients’ needs.

1. How important is the network to this client and their system?

If the network is the backbone of their integrated electronics system or the most important thing in their life, choose the equipment that offers the best performance and reliability. This may require balancing the client’s needs with their budget, or value-engineering other aspects of the project to allow for the most robust network design money can buy.

2. Do they need redundancy?
Many enterprise solutions offer redundancy in power supplies, ports, and the equipment itself. Some even allow for multiple ISP failovers. If the customer sees the value in redundancy and has the budget for it, then specify that solution. They will appreciate it.

3. Should your business commit to specifying the same manufacturer for the router, switch, and wireless system?
As a home technology professional, you’re very experienced in picking best-in-class AV equipment for your clients, and the network should be no different. It would be very challenging to find a network manufacturer that offers the best router, switches, and wireless system in the world. There are a few exceptions on the enterprise side. But your client has called on you to pick the right hardware to make his or her systems perform at the highest level, regardless of brand names.

Read all 10 Questions to Ask Before Choosing the Best Networking Equipment for Any Job in the original article on Residential Systems

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