Just last weekend I was considering replacing the screen on my back door. It had a number of tears and certainly needed to be replaced. I’ve never replaced a screen before, but how hard can it be? A quick trip to the Home Depot yielded a new screen and a bit of spline.

About three hours and two trips back to the mega-hardware store, and the screen was still not in the door. At that point, I realized that I must be missing something. It seemed so easy, but I had run out of patience. I needed to bring it to a professional to have it replaced. It pained me greatly and wounded my pride, but the job needed to get done.

On my way home from work I stopped at the local glass shop with my torn screen. Having fully recounted my frustrating and fruitless experience to the proprietor of the shop, he chuckled and said, “It’s all in the tools and experience.” He proceeded to put a new screen in the door in about 5 minutes flat. He used a few tools I didn’t have and a couple of tricks I didn’t know.

Searching for network is in some ways very similar. Seems like a simple proposition to connect point A to point B. Call a few carriers, get a few quotes and then order service, right? In theory, yes, but in practice, no. You need the right tools and the experience to make the right decisions.

There are a vast number of carriers and each has a wide variety of options. Unfortunately, the “right option” for you and your business is most likely whatever the carrier (or the sales rep) makes the most money selling. Is that best for your connectivity needs? How can you be sure?

In order to be confident about the decision that you make, it is important to have an unbiased view of the available dark fiber or lit service options and a trusted advisor to explain them all. The lesson I learned this past weekend is to consult a professional. Trial and error is a great method if you have plenty of time and money to throw at a problem — two things that I always find to be in short supply.

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