Identifying Quality Components
transceiver, fiber, laser, networks, quality, downtime, product testing, quality assurance, optical
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The Essence of Quality
At Network Distributors, we take quality very seriously. And in a very real sense, quality is our business.
Why is quality so very important? It’s simple really; many of our customers have expressed their concerns about minimizing downtime. Unplanned downtime is expensive – very expensive. A 2010 study of the average cost of data center downtime put the number at $5,600 per minute. A 2016 study showed a 46% increase, at more than $8,800 per minute! Besides the obvious cost of repair, network downtime costs you in many other ways as well.
- Internal business activity stops (inventory tracking, billing, fulfillment, HR, sales, etc.)
- Paying employees who can’t work while the network is being restored
- Paying overtime to account for lost productivity
- Loss of goodwill; angry customers
- Cost to reach out and restore customer relations
- The list goes on…
Another study conducted in 2015 revealed that, on the average:
- Repairs account for only 5% of downtime costs
- 17% of losses are due to missed sales opportunities
- A whopping 78% is due to reduced employee productivity
At Network Distributors, we feel the best way to serve our customers is to provide network components that adhere to very high standards of quality while maintaining reasonable cost. We neither claim, nor do we strive to be, the cheapest, but we do work very hard at being the best, at a price our customers can afford.
As a stocking vendor, with tens of thousands of parts on hand at any given time, Network Distributors has very fast delivery times. This combination of high quality components, reasonable cost and fast delivery has placed Network Distributors at the forefront of the world’s providers of third party optics.
In the Absence of Quality
Others, who do not share our commitment to excellence, may offer cheaper products at much lower prices, but at what cost? To sacrifice quality in favor of cheap build practices, cheap components and cheap prices is unwise and places your network, your data, and much more, at risk.
Inferior quality components will eventually fail to function properly, causing network problems that could be quite localized, or worse, cause failures across the entire network. While testing a competitor’s transceiver recently we found that it quickly overheated, nearly to the point of being much too hot to touch. Another test of a different transceiver actually fried the port it had been inserted into. Fortunately, as these were part of a test, our technician was present and able to act before any further damage occurred. We were shocked and just couldn’t believe another manufacturer would actually send these parts out as finished goods to their customers.
On a much larger scale, an inferior component could potentially cause a cascading failure. In this scenario, a transceiver fails, extensively damages the switch and causes it to go down. The network compensates by re-routing traffic around the affected area, in turn, overloading the rest of the network, potentially causing additional failures, and hence, the cascade effect.
Other inferior components within the network (Hey, they were really cheap so we bought a ton of ‘em!) are likely to fail more quickly and contribute to an even greater problem, wherein large portions of the network are crippled or even the entire network comes crashing down.
The result: physical damage to network components, costly downtime, network latency, packet loss and the ever-rising cost of repairs. To reduce the likelihood of such unfortunate events, Network Distributors is committed to only provide fully qualified network components that pass our stringent quality assurance protocols.
At Network Distributors, we have carefully developed an extensive quality assurance process to achieve and maintain the highest levels of quality excellence for our customers’ benefit. Many elements went into the development of this process, including a very close look at some of our competitors’ products. Here’s a summary of some of the tests we subjected competitors’ transceivers to:
- Visual inspection: Carefully inspect the product, looking for dents, dings or other signs of external damage. (Competitor – looks good to the naked eye.)
- Microscopic inspection: Get up close and personal with an EXFO fiber scope to detect the presence of dust, dirt or physical damage in the fiber ferrule on the send and receive optical sub-assemblies (TOSA/ROSA). (Competitor – lots of debris and damage.)
- Functionality: Plug it into the appropriate switch and run a variety of tests. (Competitor – module overheated and fried its port.)
- Disassembly: Take it apart and carefully inspect the interior components. (Competitor – their module contained USED PARTS!; very low quality circuit board, extremely poor assembly practices.)
At Network Distributors, we assure the highest quality by carefully testing each transceiver in three major areas:
1) Qualification Testing – Before stocking a new transceiver it undergoes an extensive series of tests to determine whether it can even qualify to occupy our shelves. We look very closely at the quality of the build, the internal components and compatibility. The module is taken apart and carefully inspected with microscopes to ensure that only brand new, high quality components have been used. Once satisfied, we test the unit extensively to be certain that the build is physically compatible across multiple platforms and product lines.
2) Inbound Quality Control – Before any product is given shelf space it undergoes a thorough testing procedure to ensure proper functionality and consistency.
3) Outbound Testing – This is our 7-step coding and customization process. Each transceiver is coded and tested per platform to ensure 100% compatibility. The process includes:
- Per platform application compatibility testing
- Internal/External Optical Monitoring/DOM/DDM verification and measurements
- TX/RX Light meter measurements
- Visual/physical consistency and quality exam
- EEPROM MSA values verification
Quality is King
Of course, initial cost is important, but poor quality will cost you much, much more in the long run. Using low quality components puts your network at risk and potentially affects your users, your customers, data access, data security and uptime/downtime ratios.
Protect your network; know what you’re buying before you buy. And if you can’t test it yourself, buy from someone who already has – Network Distributors.