What You Need to Know Before Buying Networking Equipment

By Ryan Ayers
Updated: August 24, 2011

What You Need to Know Before Buying Networking Equipment

Purchasing network equipment for any size business is best done carefully and with consideration. For many businesses, their network infrastructure represents one of the most significant capital expenditures they will make. Ensuring that you are purchasing the networking equipment that your business needs, and that it will not be obsolete within a short period of time, is generally a matter of asking the right questions and finding reputable vendors as partners.

What Networking Equipment Entails

Networking equipment is a sort of catch-all term that encompasses everything from your computer and data networks to telephone systems, security measures, and a variety of other systems and components that businesses use on a daily basis in today’s tech-heavy workstream. These components are each necessary, and many will make a marked difference in the efficiency and performance of your business. It is important to be sure that you are receiving adequate equipment at each step in the process to ensure that your network will function properly.

Network Equipment Spans a Wide Variety of Functions:

  • Telephone Equipment
  • Telephone Networking Equipment
  • Data Networks (Internal and External)
  • Security Systems
  • Network Specific Software Packages
  • Router, Switches, and Other Hardware

Finding the Right Features

The single most important part of purchasing your network equipment (at any stage in the process) is to have a clearly defined set of goals and expectations for your network performance. Put simply: understand what you need your network to be able to do.

There are ample choices when it comes to network components of all types that are designed to fulfill almost any requirement that your business might have. Finding a particular feature or option for a piece of networking equipment is not a difficult task once you have a targeted expectation of necessary features. Determining if your business needs a greater focus on internal infrastructure, security, or video/audio capabilities, for instance, will help funnel you toward the right pieces of equipment and the best vendors to fit your needs.

Selecting the Right Vendor

Networking equipment vendors range from highly specialized single source vendors (Riverbed) to multi-vendor suppliers (Juniper, Cisco), and can help businesses with everything that they need to deploy and maintain their network infrastructure. While a single source vendor might provide your business with a more specialized product, a more mature multiple vendor supplier might offer flexibility and lower pricing that fits into your company’s budgeting better. Depending on your business’ budget and requirements, you may find that one or the other of these is a more effective choice.

Ultimately, finding the right networking equipment at the right overall cost for your business will begin with your having a concrete idea as to the specific requirements and expectations that you have for your network. Armed with specifications for your new network equipment, you should be able to narrow down the field of potential solutions and vendors fairly easily and find products that will meet your requirements without breaking your budget.

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