Looking for the best solution for the customer together

11-03-2021

Together, we can achieve more than alone. This is also true for Relined Fiber Network. The Dark Fiber supplier provides a network offering nationwide cover, but for the setting up and managing of these networks often works with System Integrators. They are experts in all the technical aspects involved in linking up a broadband network. Relined cooperates with them in an open, transparent manner to achieve the best solution for you, the end user: a reliable, secure, rapid network connection that is endlessly scalable.

The best connectivity solution for your organisation

You are not looking for (unlit) fibre optics – you are looking for connectivity. Which is why I, Edwin De Steenhuijsen Piters, like my colleagues at Relined, often work with System Integrators. They can support you from design and installation right through to the management of broadband networks. Together with these System Integrators, Relined looks for the best solution to help you.

It was a long time ago now, but there is one great lesson I have never forgotten. A teacher once told me: it’s not about who uses the best terminology or has the best equipment, but what counts is that the customer’s problem is solved. If the best way to do this is with a competitor’s product, then that’s what you do. I still live by this rule today‘.

It’s a rule that is very applicable when organisations want a Dark Fiber connection. Relined has a network offering nationwide cover and connections to the majority of the data centres in the Netherlands, but for network equipment or to set up the network, we have to work – directly or indirectly – with System Integrators.

System Integrators are good at the design and arrangement of the connection to the fibre-optic network and the management of all the technical aspects this involves. They know, for example, how to keep office data and production data separate, and how to ensure the lowest possible latency. By nature, System Integrators have a close affinity with a business’ IT side.

Foundation for businesses

Good connectivity is an increasingly essential foundation for businesses, so you may well already have had a discussion with a System Integrator. For many organisations, this is the first building block. To give just one reason: support software is disappearing into the cloud. Whereas previously, programs and data used to hum away on the business’ in-house servers, these now run at an external data centre.

The move to online is a trend that has been taking place for years. Research by Science magazine from February 2020 shows that the workload for all data centres worldwide increased by a factor of six between 2010 and 2018. During this period, the volume of data traffic increased tenfold, and data storage grew by a factor of twenty-five.

We can also see this in how you and I work today

Whereas in 2020 approximately 26.5 percent of the working population of the Netherlands worked mainly digitally, the Dutch Data Center Association predicts that by 2025 this will have increased to 36 percent of working people in the Netherlands – that is 2.9 million people. Statistics Netherlands reports that in 2019 already, four out of five companies with ten or more employees offered their personnel the opportunity to work remotely – and this was before the coronavirus pandemic. So good connectivity really is becoming ever more crucial.

Now, the connection between office and data centre can be realised in different ways. Simple programs that run in the cloud – for example, Salesforce or Microsoft Office – can be used well over a standard internet connection, which is fast and secure enough.

However, in the case of essential data or programs such as electronic health records at a hospital or the unique market knowledge and software of trading companies, privacy, security, certainty and speed are at a premium. If this is true for your organisation, you are better off with Dark Fiber – your own fibre-optic connection that precisely fulfils your requirements. And more.

Every connection is different

As stated above, however, Dark Fiber alone is not enough. Because, even if the wishes of large organisations in particular are much the same, the way these are made reality is different in every case. One organisation might want a data centre very close by; another may want to connect two locations with two separate data centres. One party may tell me that it is satisfied with a non-encrypted signal and little bandwidth, while another demands certainty and therefore chooses a redundant network.

Because we aim to achieve the right connectivity for each customer, my colleagues and I work with various System Integrators. This means you have two options. If you call Relined first, we will help you to find an appropriate System Integrator. When doing so, I will take into account the aspects that are important to you. Is 24/7 support with a human being on the other end of the line a priority? Or perhaps knowledge of your sector is more important? Whatever the situation, I can put you in touch with the right System Integrators‘.

Or you could first call a System Integrator, who then chooses us on the basis of previous experience. They choose us because System Integrators know that Relined already has a link to more than half of the data centres in the Netherlands, or because Relined often has the most direct routes, following the Netherlands’ railway network.

The best solution

Ultimately, it will usually be the System Integrator who takes the lead – I will not interfere in his tasks. He will draw up a list of your wishes: where should the data centre be, do you require redundancy, what is the desired bandwidth, what latency is acceptable, does data have to be encrypted, et cetera. Who owns the data centre and the fibre-optic network may also be a factor. Many organisations don’t want companies based in another country to have access to their data‘.

Often, various aspects have to be weighed up against one another. Data centres, for example. A data centre located close by can be handy – but it could be that another data centre situated a little further away is linked to the desired Dark Fiber network, and so easier to connect. One data centre might be located close to a power station, so you never need worry about power outages. Another may offer very low latency.

Choosing to prioritise one aspect often has consequences for another. For example, a non-encrypted signal with lower bandwidth can reach further than an encrypted signal with a high bandwidth. So choosing the latter means you will have to find a data centre close to you. Unless you choose to amplify the signal along the way – which will mean incurring extra costs.

Clearly then, it is good to have a System Integrator help you take all of these decisions. And this is why it’s so good that my colleagues and I work so closely with them. What are the customer’s wishes? What is needed to make these reality? How much is the customer willing to pay for this? We will sit down with you, in an open, transparent discussion, to find out whether we can achieve this. This is only way to find the best solution for you. Exactly as my teacher told me, all those years ago‘.

Discuss the options for your organisation with Edwin!