New England Rugged Systems LLC is a Value Added Distributor/Integrator Specializing in Industrial computing and networking products.

Our focus is to provide solutions for the Industrial Internet of Things by providing products and services that help connect end-points to the cloud.

We specialize in meeting the demands of the  Transportation, Railway, Medical and Factory Automation Sectors.

Instead of the usual ‘About Us’ page we decided to ask you the age old question: Why?

With a few questions the right salesperson can help you narrow down the options and find the right solutions for you.

What’s with the 20 Questions from the salesperson when all you want is a widget with a Big Semiconductor Model 5+ CPU?

From the 10,000 foot level that is really a big question.  Consider that Big Semiconductor has five generations of model 5+ in production.   Each generation has a different feature set, a different end-of-life plan, different pricing models and different performance capabilities.

A 5+ could have 2 cores, 4 cores, multiple thread support,  fancy WiFi support, graphics that support different standards, out-of-band management and different performance, cache sizes, I/O and storage… you get the picture.


What is important to the success of your project?:

The Questions

  • Price
  • Availability and Longevity
  • Performance
  • Flexibility
  • Quality
  • Support



Price is obviously very important.

However, TCO (Total Cost of Ownership ) is likely just as important. With low cost comes compromise. The functionality between products from lower cost suppliers and suppliers who provide that extra revision control and life-cycle control may be very close but what is important to YOUR success?  Is it just price or are 3, 5 or 7 years of product stability and industrial design practices more cost effective in the long run?

Can you afford to have rolling product changes and short life spans?  There is no wrong answer here. It is really just what is important for YOUR project.

  • Is it ok to retest and qualify changes for each production run?
    • Will you need to update your manufacturing or product certifications with each product change.
      • Is it more cost effective to select a product with long term availability and solid revision control.
        • Are the savings in manufacturing, engineering time and re-certification costs worth selecting a product with higher initial costs?


Availability and Longevity

Availability has several facets.  Does the supplier build one batch of products and make changes to the next batch or discontinue the product all together when inventory is depleted?  

Many consumer and commercial products are perfectly functional in embedded and industrial applications.  That $69.00 motherboard can look attractive and may be a perfect fit for your needs.   But… does it have the operating temperature range you need?  Do you need more life cycle stability?  Is it going to cost you more in manufacturing and purchasing later?

Is the supplier using parts that have long-term component availability commitments from Big Semiconductor?  We forgot to mention earlier that Big Semiconductor has models of the 5+ processor that have very short life spans intended for the consumer and commercial markets.  They also have processors with 5-7 year life spans.  Is this important?

Just-in-Time availability, that is another factor.  Is the product readily available from the manufacturer or channel stock?  There is a big difference in the manufacturing models available for higher volume consumer and commercial boards and industrial manufacturers.

Both typically build in batches based on orders and/or historical consumption.  The consumer market production runs may be in the 10’s of thousands per batch, the industrial manufacturers are typically low volume high mix manufactures that build in the hundreds per batch.  That makes ERP planning an important part of the decision tree.

What is important for your project?

  • I  really like Big Semiconductor 5+ generation 99
    • Expected to be available in Q3
      • I needed to go to production in Q4
        • What are the risks
        • Will there be errata?
        • Will supply be guaranteed?
        • Will it really release on time?
        • Is it lower risk to use 5+ generation 98
  • What is the production lead time?
    • Can you guarantee that the supplier will always have stock?
      • What is the production lead-time for unforecasted requirements?
      • Can I push/pull my shipment schedules?


A high quality design and manufacturing process is critical in a supplier.  It is also important that your supplier understands your needs.

Does your supplier have have the right skill set on staff, do they have the right quality and design practices in place to meet your needs?  Do they have industry specific skills to design and test to your certification in the unique requirements of your industry.  How about their AVL and component traceability practices; do they meet your needs?  Forgetting some of these key questions on the front end can be costly to correct later.  


Flexibility on the sourcing side is an important part when selecting a supplier as well.  Just as important are design and manufacturing flexibility that won’t break the bank.  Can you remove unneeded features to reduce cost or to meet a specific mechanical requirement?  Can you add additional regulatory certifications easily?   Can you get it in your color with your name plastered everywhere?  Can they respond to unexpected upside in your requirements?


This is probably the most important factor.  What happens if you have an issue?  Can you quickly get to the right people to get a good solution?  Is the manufacturer responsive?  Does your supplier really know the manufacturer; have they audited their factory and systems?

So what About Us

When you ask for the price of the Widget with a 5+ Processor and the sales person seemingly avoids a direct answer they may not be trying to sell you a used car.

It is really hard to know what the real cost is until we all understand the big picture.  The ‘20 Questions’ should help narrow things down enough to get you a budgetary number without too much pain.  However, until you refine the requirements, the real answer is usually not known.  None of this of course is important if the value provided by the typical industrial supplier is not required for your product to be successful.

So what about us? Our team members, with decades of experience in the embedded and industrial markets have the experience in dealing with a wide range of applications and project sizes.  Medical, Telecommunications, Railway,  In-Flight Entertainment, Food Packaging,  Oil and Gas…the list goes on.   Each market has unique needs and we’ve seen where some of the stumbling blocks are and how to avoid them.

We like to think we know some of the questions that will be important to you even if they are not in in focus yet.  We believe that the sooner you consider the requirements for the entire life cycle: “from the paper napkin to the end-of-life”, the more successful your project will be.

Please let us know how we can help you.

Call to discuss:

New England Rugged Systems LLC

T. (603) 821-0408

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