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How to Advance Your Legacy Telecom Equipment into the Modern Era

By Andrew Erickson

August 8, 2023

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When you work with telecom infrastructure, you'll get an inevitable encounter with the age-old dilemma: What do you do when your legacy equipment starts to show its age?

At DPS, we've been grappling with this challenge for decades - not just as a problem but as an opportunity.

The Legacy Telecom Paradox Has You "Stuck"

For organizations, especially large ones, there's an inherent resistance to replacing existing infrastructure. If it isn't completely broken, why fix it? With "office politics" in full force at large organizations, the personal risk of firing from "doing something wrong" leads to long-term decision paralysis.

But this often conflicts with the rapid advancement of technology. Over time, your legacy equipment becomes a weak link in the system. It lacks modern features, interfaces, and security protocols.

DPS Engineering Builds Semi-Custom Modern Replacements

At DPS, we've built up an in-house engineering team specifically so that we can handle your scariest technology challenges. If you have something that's discontinued by the manufacturer (MFD) or the manufacturer is out of business entirely, we can replicate the old box's functions in a modern wrapper.

We believe in not just replacing, but enhancing. Our mission is to create custom-engineered "smart" replacements for legacy telecom equipment.

The advantages of this approach are two-fold. First, we provide a seamless transition for clients like you who cannot find replacement devices in the market.

Secondly, we give you the conveniences of the modern era, including web interfaces, encrypted protocols, and HTTPS. This ensures the new devices are secure and easy to manage.

Our expertise doesn't just stem from our engineering prowess but from our ability to understand the unique challenges our clients face. We don't just create equipment. We craft solutions.

What You'll Get With a Modern DPS Replacement for a Legacy Device

  • Customization: We don't believe in one-size-fits-all solutions. We work closely with clients like you, understanding your specific requirements and constraints. This allows us to design solutions that are tailor-made. They fit seamlessly into the existing infrastructure while bringing in modern advancements.
  • Field Trials: Theory and practice often diverge. That's why, before we finalize any product, it undergoes rigorous field trials. We test, learn, iterate, and improve until we have a product that not only meets but exceeds your expectations. In most cases, we want to arrive at the same time as the first article device so we can improve it together with you.
  • Interactive Learning: Every engagement is a learning experience. We value client feedback, which becomes the foundation for our next innovations. Our products evolve based on your direct input, adapting to the changing demands of the telecom environment.
  • Intelligence Built-In: Modern challenges require smart solutions. Our replacements come with built-in intelligence, designed to detect threats and allow you to respond before they become critical.
  • User Experience: We believe in empowering our users. Our devices come with intuitive interfaces and the ability for you to get started and succeed without extensive training.
  • Endurance Testing: Reliability is at the core of what we do. Before any rollout, our products undergo prolonged endurance testing, ensuring that they can withstand the test of time and demand. We commonly use temperature and EMI test chambers and repeated "torture testing" to simulate (excessive) real-world use.

Examples: Holding On vs. Moving Forward

In the dynamic landscape of the telecom industry, professionals often grapple with a complex paradox. On one side is the allure of the tried-and-true. That's your legacy equipment that has served you well for years.

On the other is the pull of modern technology. It promises efficiency, security, and competitive advantage.

Let's imagine some scenarios, which are entirely inspired by real-world DPS projects (we often have to conceal identities of corporate/government clients):

  • The Network Administrator: Imagine Jane, a seasoned network administrator in a mid-sized company. Her organization's telecom backbone relies on older PBX systems. These systems, while functional, lack many features that newer systems offer. They don't support VoIP or video conferencing capabilities. When problems arise, she spends hours troubleshooting because there are no modern diagnostic tools available. She is familiar with the PBX's quirks and knows its ins and outs, making it tempting to stick with the familiar. Yet, every time she hears about competitors leveraging advanced features, she wonders if her company is falling behind.
  • The CTO of a Growing Startup: Sam, the CTO of a rapidly growing startup, faces a different set of challenges. His company's initial infrastructure was built on a shoestring budget. Now, as the business scales, he notices performance bottlenecks and security vulnerabilities. He's tempted to keep patching the older systems. After all, they've supported the company's growth until now. But, in board meetings, discussions about scalability and the ability to adapt to future needs remind him of the limitations they currently face. It's a full-blow "in-house solution stack hack".
  • The Telecom Consultant: Then there's Aisha, a telecom consultant hired to optimize the infrastructure of various businesses. Often, she encounters companies using dated equipment because "that's how it's always been". They are hesitant about the upfront costs of modernizing. But Aisha sees beyond the initial costs. She understands the long-term savings in maintenance, the increase in productivity, and the potential for introducing new revenue-generating services. Unfortunately, she's not aware of a manufacturer like DPS who can give her semi-custom equipment to meet client specifications.

What is the Allure of the Status Quo?

Holding onto legacy systems can offer perceived advantages:

  • Familiarity: You (might) know your existing systems inside out, reducing the learning curve.
  • Perceived Cost Savings: On the surface, it might seem cheaper to maintain an existing system than to invest in a new one.
  • Fear of Transition: Migration to new systems can be daunting, carrying risks of downtime or data loss.

What are the Benefits of Embracing Modern Telecom Equipment?

  • Efficiency and Productivity: Modern systems often offer automation and integration capabilities, reducing manual tasks and streamlining processes.
  • Security: Updated systems come with the latest security protocols (SNMPv3 instead of SNMPv1, TLS 1.2 instead of TLS 1.0 or SSL), protecting you from evolving cyber threats.
  • Competitive Advantage: Companies that modernize can offer new services, enhancing their market positioning.
  • Personal Growth: For professionals like Jane, Sam, and Aisha, embracing modern solutions means acquiring new skills. They stay relevant in their careers and experience the satisfaction of optimizing their work environment.

Technological Evolution is Your Only Long-Term Strategy

The "Telecom Paradox" we've discussed here is a manifestation of the broader challenge all industries face: there's a tension between the comfort of the known and the potential of the new. While the status quo offers a sense of security, it can also lead to stagnation.

On the other hand, the journey to modernization, although riddled with challenges, promises rewards both for the organization and the professionals steering its course.

In the end, the choice to evolve or remain static defines the trajectory of both the enterprise and the individuals within it.

Evolve Your Remote Site Monitoring With DPS

Our promise is simple: to transform legacy challenges into modern triumphs, ensuring that our clients are always a step ahead. They'll have equipment that's smart, secure, and sustainable.

If you are "stuck" with legacy equipment today, you always have a path forward with DPS. We specialize in remote site monitoring, but we can also provide related telecom equipment in many cases.

Your first step is simply to give us a call. Tell us what you're trying to accomplish.

Call DPS now at 1-800-693-0351 or email sales@dpstele.com

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Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson is an Application Engineer at DPS Telecom, a manufacturer of semi-custom remote alarm monitoring systems based in Fresno, California. Andrew brings more than 17 years of experience building site monitoring solutions, developing intuitive user interfaces and documentation, and opt...