The LAN Assessment is a crucial part of any system implementation and as a former salesperson a LAN Assessment was the bane of my existence. Before I could provide a firm quote or a contract a LAN Assessment was required, slowing the sales cycle. As a customer trying to budget, decide, and pull the trigger on a solution it slows down your decision making process.
Truth be told, the LAN Assessment is a necessary evil for a successful implementation. Many times customers request a telecom auditto ascertain what equipment and services are in use. A LAN Assessment takes it one step further, testing all cables, connections, and switches. It’s a much more difficult process than a telecom audit because at times, it can require taking down parts of the network during business hours.
- The customer experience will suck if you’re rolling out a phone system with faulty wires so many telecom carriers require it prior to accepting an order for a Hosted System. Larger organizations that manage their own PBX will have IT staff that also manage the network, keeping it in tip top shape. Prior to making a decision, one of the key considerations is whether you want to have a converged or non-converged network. The LAN Assessment will help make that decision.
- IP Addressing, Subnets, VLANs, and security settings need to be analyzed to ensure that there is no traffic interference that would degrading QoS or Quality of Service. Codecs may also need to be adjusted in environments with a reliance on video calls.
- The LAN is the proverbial long pole in the tent. Once you get past the complexities of the WAN, your day to day functionality is dependent upon the wires that connect your end-users together. So many devices rely on the LAN that additional issues can be uncovered by past Band-Aid fixes.
- Construction and lack of existing conduit can dictate what you can do with your LAN. Sometimes you just can’t get a wire there or it’s so difficult to do it that it’s not worth it. No need to break out the Hilti to drill through a foot of cinderblock to install a phone that for a staff member that is typically out of office. Large campus environments may require wireless line of site connectivity that needs to be tested to ensure their throughput.
- The main reason you want to do the audit and LAN Assessment before your roll out is to know what you’re getting into. Proactive collaboration is a best practice for the success of your project. You know the saying, the little things are the big things. This little step can make your budget and implementation timeframe more accurate. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in an environment that had a 100M switch paying for more than 100M of bandwidth from their ISP.
Sometimes, a LAN assessment isn’t necessary or needs to be skipped. When you’re dealing with a system that’s failing and impacting performance you gotta rip that things out and do it right no matter what. Of course you want to be cost conscious but if you’re paying for additional electric, old POTS lines, or rodents chewing through your wires then time is of the essence. Also, if you’re building from the ground up a LAN Assessment isn’t necessary, you’ll need a detailed network diagram proposed to suit the business’ needs.