Consumer-Grade Network Stuff: What a Joke!

Until recently, we used bulletproof “Professional/Enterprise Grade” network switches, routers, cables, certifications, modems, and Wi-Fi Access points for projects in the professional channel because in terms of responsibilities for the installer, if the network failed it could cost the company a fortune. And, we used cheap “Consumer-Grade” network stuff for the residential jobs because, well, residential is residential and no one lose money there if they can't watch Netflix. I think we didn’t really understand that the trend is already reversed and the consequences of a smart house to fail can be very serious now in terms of responsibilities for the installers...

Until recently, our job was to install entertainment AV stuff that our clients only used occasionally. If it failed Friday night, the client was obviously going to be pissed off, but in terms of legal responsibilities it was not a big deal for you. No one was in danger and your client could wait until Monday morning to yell and insult you. Today, we install things our clients rely on 24/7, things that literally rule their entire life. Therefore, the systems that we install and particularly the gears we use to build the local network should be graded “Mission Critical” because it handles lighting, shading, security, HVAC, health, door locks, ordering food, medicine, staying in touch with parents, working from home...etc. It is not a game anymore, it’s not “I just add a Wi-Fi access point to extend the wireless to this room”. Now we handle the daily-lives of our clients and we must change perspective as if every house is a small hospital.
I think here about Michael Maniscalco project to "Turn on Lights if Blood Glucose Levels are Critical". People will have more and more mission critical needs in their house.

Therefore, nothing should fail, everything should be as bulletproof as possible and more than this, you should have the entire mastery and certification of all network gears you install to be able to diagnose and solve all issues.

Now, why do we still have two categories of network gears, with one rated “consumer grade” and one rated “enterprise grade”? A disturbing fact that it is still possible to buy a $20 Wi-Fi access point without a big disclaimer on the box that reads: “This device is NOT secure!”

We urgently need rules and legislations here and I must salute the initiative of the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) (http://www.ul.com) who started a program to certify the security of connected devices. Read the UL press announcement here.

By the way, if you want to outsource your "24/7 MISSION CRITICAL" support to your clients, we can help you: Sign up HERE and let's have a call.