Research & Recommendations

Satisfying engineering requirements and budgetary constraints by ensuring that equipment suitable is matched to application is a challenge even the best operators in the business contend with. Our research team works to provide clients with standardised, comparable, and quality information; cutting through the fog and ensuring operators are investing capital in the right places.

There are many factors that contribute to making this challenge considerably more difficult than it first appears with the primary culprit being a total lack of predominant standards regarding the conformity of testing methods and datasheet publication.

Providing advice is not simply an academic decision based on a fixed set of parameters and it often involves developing a complex hybrid of evaluating criteria unique to the operator’s application including factors such as: product performance, quality and reliability, associated risks, delivery to schedule, capitalised cost, cost to benefit vs alternate option, etc. Our small research team is comprised of industry experts with personal experience in both engineering and finance and by combining this exceptional blend of professions the firm offers pragmatic hardware advice.

Our insight is most beneficial where products being ‘fit for purpose’ is fundamental to a project’s success, such as in IoT / M2M, technology that requires large procurement or financial outlay, longevity, quality and performance.  It is here that our Vendor Neutral market position becomes indispensable to clients.

Investing in Wireless Hardware

As a demonstration of how our research relieves the burden of selection from clients and the complexity involved in making these recommendations, the following is a greatly simplified example of how just two select factors (cost + performance) overlap and combine. For this scenario, we assume that we have tested and certified that the performance of the equipment matches what is claimed on the manufacturer’s datasheet, a crucial first step to ensure like-for-like comparisons.

Efficient Frontier

What products, suitable for this application, will provide the client with the best performance for the fiscal outlay?

This can be answered by displaying a product’s performance compared against the item’s total cost and then plotted alongside alternate options. With enough data points, what is developed is an efficient frontier charting the position of different products relative to each other and establishing a distinct curve as shown. The frontier that emerges indicates products that provide the best performance and most efficient investment of capital.

All investment in wireless infrastructure should be somewhere on the efficient frontier, if not, capital is being under invested. It can be seen here that for the exact same financial outlay as product X, product Y will deliver far superior performance.

RF procurement efficient frontier

Diminishing Returns

What product best suits the client’s budgetary constraints?

If product selection was based on performance alone this constraint would not exist as the client would simply procure the products with best performance regardless of the price. However, with the knowledge that a product is sitting on the efficient frontier, financial limitations still dictate that it must be evaluated against the project’s budget. In this circumstance, a modified version of diminishing returns can be applied. Performance is not linear to cost, compare Y and Z, although both meet the application’s minimum performance requirements the significantly greater cost of Z for only slightly better performance than Y is hard to justify.

As seen; although product performance continues to improve as more is invested into the product, equipment performance suffers a reduction in amount of improvement. Larger improvements are easier and cheaper when starting with a simple product and become harder and more expensive to achieve as it becomes more developed. What must be determined is what the practical amount to invest in a product is before incurring an unnecessarily higher Capex, this is based on intimate details of the specific project/application.

Diminishing returns to RF performance

What can be taken from the above is that a balance must be struck between the engineering department (application specific requirements) and the finance department (budgetary constraints) by selecting the best performing product in its class at the best cost per unit.

With accurate information and objectivity, our company is able to provide this advice and other powerful recommendations to clients that help drastically lower the initial costs (reduce capex), minimise risk, improve network performance and reduce ongoing costs by future proofing solutions (reduce opex).