If you are looking for a router you have a couple of choices. You can go name brand or you can buy a fancy looking mysterious router from a lovely exotic Taiwanese destination.
For the record, we like Taiwan. The Republic of China, now governs the island of Taiwan. There are some pretty neat things coming out of Taiwan it is also a pretty amazing travel destination.
If you are a retailer with 100 or more locations remember one thing. It is not about the router. It is about ongoing interoperability.
What is interoperability (or Inter-op)?
Interoperability is the ability of making systems and communications paths work together (inter-operate) to other products or systems, present or future, without any restricted access or implementation.
Make specific note to the reference to the ‘future’.
In the case of an edge router we want to make sure that this equipment will inter-operate well with the carrier that we connect to. In the case of ADSL or VDSL we want to make sure that there is an immediate and long term commitment to ensure that the proposed router works today and works in three years to the provider DSLAM or Fibre Access node.
In the case of a cable or Wireless service, it is the same; we want to make sure that the Wide Area Interface or Wireless SIM module or receiving radio is supported by the corresponding carrier that we work with.
It is also critical to understand it is not just about inter-op testing at the time of sale. You are going to be using these routers for hopefully a few years (i.e.: 3 -5). Your circuits (either broadband or wireless) will be subject to ongoing inter-op tests. And what may inter-operate in year one (1) many not inter-operate in year three (3).
Frontier thinks about this constantly. We support two brands of CPE in our core. Cisco and Juniper. Why? In our eyes they are the number 1 and number 2 in no particular order. We like them both equally and we know that our upstream providers have a long term support commitment to them as well.
Think about it. You can pay $ 100 for a router yet pay $ 400 or more for the field installation. If it breaks, you can pay upwards to $ 400 – 600 for the truck roll to fix it (we bundle that stuff into our deal FYI). The point being made is that it seems a bit illogical to pay more for the site install than for the actual technology that supports your branch, retail or QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) location.
More and more we are seeing that what worked day 1 may not work in a year or two because of the mass migration towards faster field services.
For the record we were conflicted on this post. We wanted to call it ‘buy a router and get a free roll of duct-tape’ but as usual we are often the only people who understand our own jokes.
Frontier operates a no duct-tape policy.