Feb 27, 2013

Internet Technology: Claiming the Best for our Customers

We talk a lot about service around here, so technology sometimes appears taken for granted. We assure you it is not. How did we get to the point of knowing NEXTLINK, would provide you with the most reliable internet service possible?” One answer is in how we select the best technology solutions that comprise our network. While some other Weatherford high-speed internet service providers are content to do a shallow search, grab the first equipment they find, take the manufacturer’s claims at face value…and simply deploy it; NEXTLINK strives to offer our customers lasting, reliable service through the technologies we select. And you just can’t get there without doing your homework.

We have a selection process that ensures that the equipment we deploy is the most prudent and practical for the job—a process that is simple, but diligent:

  • Define the solution requirements
  • Search for the best-in-class solutions
  • Score on requirements
  • Develop a testing plan
  • Test against the requirements
  • Select the best solution

Define the Solution Requirements

The most important thing before selecting a solution is to know what you are looking for, by first defining your requirements. To begin, NEXTLINK lists the aspects of what we are trying to achieve. We then locate tech vendors to address that list of requirements. Each vendor has its individual qualities: do they have their product in stock? Is it a viable company? Are they actively developing their product? Lastly, we consider cost. Once our requirements are weighed with each vendor, we classify those based on importance to us and to our customers. Then the search for solutions begins.

Search for Solutions

Now filter for internet technology solutions that meet all of our requirements, (or at least come close). We start with best-in-class products and vendors and work our way down from the “top.” Once we have a good field of about five to ten candidates, we begin our scoring process.

Score on Requirements

In this step, we create what is called a decision matrix where we place all of the solutions across the top, and all of the requirements down the side of a chart. We then score the solutions against how well they meet our requirements. (This also takes into account the weight of those requirements against the others.) When all the scores are tallied, we take the top 3 into a testing program.

Technology Claims are Just Claims, Until Proven

Everyone’s heard a sales pitch; it may or may not represent reality. Vendors’ claims must first be taken with a grain of salt. Therefore, we run our potential technology solutions through a rigorous testing program where each solution is isolated.

Testing our ISP Equipment Against Our Requirements

We’ve sussed out our own testing plan that includes equipment potential and technology features, as well as equipment performance parameters. Once the testing plan is devised, we again weight the results based on how desirable those results are to us. Now we can begin actual testing.

NEXTLINK has invested heavily in our lab facilities to ensure we have fully tested all of our solutions to the best of our ability before deployment. As testing proceeds, we record all results in our matrix and score the potential tech solutions based on how they performed, against our expectations. We’ve even found unforeseen issues with potential solutions that at first, we didn’t think to test for…that’s how in depth we go. Often times the equipment’s performance varies widely from what the vendor claimed it would do. Testing is where issues become apparent and potential solutions get disqualified.

Select THE Solution

Once all the testing is completed and all results are weighted and scored, we select the highest-rated solution and move into implementation of that equipment.

Conclusion

Most ISPs, and especially most Wireless ISPs, do not enact any sort of testing. They take other’s opinions at face value, buy blindly and start deploying their new equipment. But this does not ensure the best performance for the customer. At NEXTLINK Internet, all of our technology solutions have undergone thorough testing to ensure our network performs better than our competition.