Determining what the customer wants

Q: My company was recently asked to provide a solution to extend the network of one of our customers from its offices located on the ground floor of a 12-story building to the sixth floor. I specified a 6-strand multimode fiber from the telecommunications closet on the ground floor to the new offices on the sixth floor. The customer said that this was too expensive a solution and opted to have a Category 5 tie cable run from a port off one of the hubs to a port on the new hub that will be on the

Q: My company was recently asked to provide a solution to extend the network of one of our customers from its offices located on the ground floor of a 12-story building to the sixth floor. I specified a 6-strand multimode fiber from the telecommunications closet on the ground floor to the new offices on the sixth floor. The customer said that this was too expensive a solution and opted to have a Category 5 tie cable run from a port off one of the hubs to a port on the new hub that will be on the sixth floor. I recommended fiber because this was presented to us late in the afternoon before the weekend and I had to estimate this job site unseen. Was my specification of fiber correct?

Tony Hicks

ComputerLand, System Support Services

Tucson, AZ

A: Both your suggestion of a fiber backbone and the customer`s implementation on the copper backbone were workable solutions to the same problem of how to get Ethernet from the basement to the sixth floor. My approach has always been to find out what the customer is really looking for. Does the client want the most reliable long-term solution, the most economical solution, or the most expedient solution? At best, you can achieve two of the three.

It sounds as if your customer went for cheap and fast. I suggest that you revisit this site in three to six months, this time with a design proposal in hand. If their business has been good, they will probably be glad to see you.

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