Assure quality components in LAN environments
Quality-assurance techniques may play a big role in network reliability.
If you are like most people concerned about network reliability, you probably constantly look for ways to make sure your network includes only high-quality components. You undoubtedly spend significant time and effort researching and specifying the network’s costly, critical components, with the hope of purchasing the best that the market has to offer. But you most likely do not spend the same amount of time checking out the quality of less expensive components, even though they, too, have the ability to bring your network to a screeching halt.
We often view these inexpensive elements as commodity products-available from many sources, fairly inexpensive, and easily replaced. We assume the manufacturer has a good quality-control program in place, and the products we purchase are free of defects. Operating under these assumptions, we generally take the performance of these products for granted, never really giving due respect to the reality that the failure of a $20 component can be just as devastating to a network as the failure of a more costly piece of equipment.
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Key issues worth examining
In light of the impact these commodity products can have on the network, several key issues are worth examining. First, what type of quality-control processes do the manufacturers of these inexpensive components use? Second, does it make sense to seek out higher-quality commodity products when they perform a critical function for the network?
Fiber-optic cable assemblies like these can vary in quality depending on the quality-control process that the manufacturer implements.
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Let’s look at these commodity components from a different angle, to give us some perspective on how these products’ value can vary depending on the role they play in a network. Suppose I am a guide who takes vacationers into the mountains on horseback. Part of my job is to arrange for the supplies, to assure my clients have a great time and are well fed. What happens if, during the first meal, someone breaks one of the plastic knives I provided? What impact does this have on our trip? Probably not much. As a conscientious guide, I most likely packed extra plastic utensils. So, all the client has to do is ask for another.