Rise Above Consumer-Grade Networking Products

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Welcome to our first blog post! At Araknis Networks®, we speak with many integrators throughout the product lifecycle – from researching ideas for a new product to troubleshooting an existing product – and we’ve learned a lot about what your networking pain points are. Our goal with this blog is to share valuable tips and information that you can fit into your busy schedule to help you build better networks. Let's get to it!

A router built with you in mind
We’re very excited about the launch of our latest product, the Araknis™ 300-series Dual-WAN VPN Router. During our research and development phase, we spent a lot of time and effort listening to integrators about what they want from a router, and then engineered a product that speaks to those requests and pain points. We value your feedback tremendously and encourage you to keep the ideas and requests flowing our way so we can continue to develop the right products to fit your needs.

What did our research reveal?
At the beginning of the project, we talked to a lot of integrators, spent time in the field, and launched a survey asking what brands you were using at the time. We specifically asked about routers without built-in Wi-Fi based on our conversations and observations in the field. However, we noticed a clear tendency for integrators to cite using consumer-grade all-in-one routers such as Apple and Asus for lower-budget jobs.

Why are integrators using consumer-grade routers?
Our research revealed three main reasons why integrators were choosing to buy those consumer-grade products:

  1. Convenience: It's easy to buy those products from retailers such as BestBuy, Amazon.com, or your local Apple Store.
  2. Consumer Preference: Being a consumer product, those brands resonate well with the end consumer—and the integrator doesn't have to sell on that specific brand.
  3. Price: Every job has a budget and spending extra money on a more reliable network is less exciting to the end user than a gizmo they can interact with on a daily basis.

Why should you use a business-grade router?
With more and more devices connecting to the Internet, networking has become a service that everyone relies on in their daily life. When the network goes down, the kids can’t play their games, the content stops streaming, and the business is virtually cut off from the world—meaning lost time and money from a truck roll for you, and lots of frustration and inconvenience for your customer. To be successful in the custom integration industry, it’s crucial that you set up a reliable network that can meet the performance demands of the modern connected world.

As the gateway to the Internet, the router plays a key role in overall network performance and reliability. Business-grade routers offer many advantages over consumer-grade products that allow you to deliver a future-proof solution to your customer, while providing profitability and ease of support for you as an integrator.

Improved Reliability
How many times have you rolled a truck to a job site just to reboot the router? This exercise is a pure cost on your business because it's the product you recommended that needs a simple reboot. The situation usually gets worse with time, so you’ll eventually end up either putting the router on a timed reboot schedule or replacing it altogether with a better product. Either way, the client ends up suffering from an inconsistent and unreliable experience that can be felt throughout the network. Often, the source of the problem with consumer-grade routers is the tendency to cram a lot of features into one box (e.g. security, Wi-Fi, backup, etc.), all of which can cause interruptions to the processor and memory leaks that render the unit inoperable until a reboot clears all internal resources.

Business-grade routers are designed with a more specialized feature set to maximize performance and reliability. At Araknis™, we took it a step further and streamlined the design of our entire line of routers, switches, and WAPs to interact seamlessly and deliver the best-in-class performance. Our 300-series router survived the most brutal abuse we could throw at it, from ESD, Surge, thermal, and throughput tests.

Easier and Cleaner Installation
When it comes to installation, we found that an overwhelming majority of integrators prefer to mount their equipment on racks. Since consumer-grade products are designed to be installed on table tops or media centers, integrators end up using rack shelves and/or zip ties in order to securely install the product on a rack. This setup is both time and space consuming, and at the end of the day, is just a work-around. We know integrators need flexibility to meet the unique requirements of each job, so we designed our 300-series router to allow for multiple mounting options and included rack ears for easy rack mounting.

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An example on how integrators install consumer grade router on the wall showing all cabling exposed.

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The Araknis™ 300-series router is 1U in height and includes rack ears for rack mounting.

Better Performance
Performance is probably the most important factor when selecting a router. There are two aspects of performance you’ll need to consider:

  1. LAN-LAN: This is important to ensure seamless performance between devices connected on the LAN side of the network (assuming you're using more than one LAN port). Some integrators use one LAN port to a network switch that feeds the network and another LAN port to connect a media server (e.g. Synology). Business-grade routers support Jumbo Frames which guarantees full LAN-LAN throughput ensures the best experience accessing those resources across the router LAN.
  2. WAN-LAN: This is important to ensure the client is getting the maximum speed possible from the ISP contract. If the contracted speed at the ISP is around 20Mbps, a consumer-grade router may be adequate for your needs. If you’re working with speeds around 50Mbps+, you may need to upgrade the level of your router. Consumer-grade routers tend to have lower speed processors with multiple features running at the same time, leaving less room to process traffic—resulting in a lower ISP speed. With the Google Fiber rollout plan, more ISPs are providing faster Internet speeds at a lower cost and the era of much faster Internet to homes and small businesses is dawning quickly.

Support and Management
With consumer-grade products, you can get some level of support by visiting your local "genius" or consulting a "geek" from the nearby squad. But as a professional integrator, you need a manufacturer with a support model and warranty terms that fit your business needs. At Araknis Networks®, we offer a 2-year warranty, free advanced replacements, free lifetime live technical support, and free lifetime firmware updates.

When it comes to providing product support to your customers, having an app to manage your router may seem adequate. But to stay competitive and on top of your support game, you need to look for cloud-based products. Remote management can significantly cut down your support time, leading to a better customer experience and lower OpEx for your business. Our 300-series routers are cloud-managed through the OvrC platform, allowing you to easily manage and troubleshoot your client’s network remotely.

Let us know what you think
With the Araknis™ 300-series Dual-WAN VPN Router, we believe we delivered a product that speaks to many of the challenges integrators face, equipped with consumer-grade products at a compelling price point to the end user. If you have any comments or ideas you would like to share with us, please feel free to send us a note at info@araknisnetworks.com. We’d love to hear from you!

Ayham Ereksousi
Product Line Director