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Explaining Common NEBS Misconceptions


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September 08, 2011

Explaining Common NEBS Misconceptions

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Companies rely on network telecom equipment to ensure the optimal performance of their communications platforms. This performance is assured through the Network Equipment Building System (NEBS), a set of technical requirements that aim to make such equipment completely fail-safe. 

This recent NEI blog focuses on the value delivered to telecom carriers when deciding to go ahead and purchase NEBS-compliant equipment. When equipment receives this distinction it means that it has been designed according to these standards for continuing operation, even if unfavorable environmental conditions exist.

While NEBS is an important standard for telecom carriers, there are three common misconceptions associated with the standard, as well as with compliance. These misconceptions include the assumption that there is only one level, the association of NEBS-compliance with certification,-and the assumption that the whole is the sum of the parts.

 Misconception #1 – NEBS is one level

In reality, there are actually three levels of standards that deliver different degrees of fail-safe assurance for telecom carriers. The first two levels are designed to address relatively benign environments and thus are rarely used. The third level is designed specifically for harsh environments, such as fires or earthquakes. This is the level people are in most cases referencing when discussing NEBS. 

Misconception #2 – NEBS Certification

Equipment in the telecom space is often referred to as NEBS-certified, which is actually a misnomer. There is no third party agency that provides certification for this equipment. The equipment is tested in an approved lab against standards to determine compliance. The test results are then used by the telecom engineers to determine with a certain level of accuracy how the equipment will behave within their environment. 

Misconception #3 – The whole is a sum of the parts

While an entire solution may be designed with NEBS-compliant equipment, the whole solution must be tested to determine compliance according to the standards. The individual testing is just not enough. The connections and interactions between the different parts could result in a failed solution that does not meet standards and assuming the opposite can lead to significant problems. Likewise, any changes made in the equipment could require retesting of the equipment or the solution as a whole. 

Once you understand the truth behind these misconceptions, you can more accurately approach a solution that is compliant and will be assured to work within the challenges of your environment. It is also essential that you work with a team that understands the true meaning of NEBS and how it applies across the industry. NEI is a proven player in this space, empowering telecom carriers throughout the industry to achieve NEBS compliance and optimal equipment performance.

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Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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