The most difficult part of selecting a brand of hardware could be the lack of familiarity among the options. This is why selecting an IT networking hardware vendor can be like buying a used car in a foreign country. When presented with several choices, our initial reaction is to go with the cheapest option. However, this is not always the best choice, as there are several important factors to consider when making smart purchases.
When choosing network hardware, service and repair warranties serve an important role. For example, how far will technicians travel to service your network on-site? What services are included, and what costs extra? Once you’ve made your choice of hardware, what can you expect in terms of ongoing support and upgrade options? Before going ahead with the purchase, have a clear understanding of the terms for these sorts of services and how they relate to your network and location.
Many of the bigger hardware vendors set their pricing structure with future purchases in mind. Often, a customer will be able to get discounts on the initial sale if the seller expects that the account will generate future sales as well. It’s a good idea to express your long-term technology goals to the vendor for this reason.
There are some important factors to consider after you’ve selected the right hardware vendor:
Switches: This is what you’ll be plugging the cables into, the ‘spinal cord’ of the whole network. It’s common for networks to contain both fiber optic and copper cable; in this case, the switch will need to accommodate both. Otherwise, choosing the right switch for your office will depend on the traffic you’ll be accommodating and the media type used.
Devices: Your choice of devices should be based on performance expectations and network compatibility. Will the firmware be upgradeable? Will you use regular computers, or thin client terminals? What about articulated arms in the exam rooms? It’s important to reach agreements about device configurations, whether server, printer, or laptop. In fact, physicians should always check before making a computer purchase, to be sure that the device they want will function well on the network. By examining the network on a regular basis, the entire system can be kept in sync and up to date with current changes in technology. This system of updated improvements will help you attain maximum performance results while streamlining your technical needs.
Servers: Keep redundancy in mind when selecting a server. Will one machine cover the power of another that fails? If the hard drive crashes, will an array of RAID drives pick up the slack? How many processors are there, and how much RAM? Select a backup tape drive that is large enough to store all your data yet speedy enough to back everything up overnight. What about the physical setup of the network equipment? Maybe a custom rack or secure housing unit should keep the servers safe, particularly if there is a series of servers as in many EMR system set-ups.
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