Whether building individual Wi-Fi devices or managing larger projects for the wireless market, it's important to consider all design-related expenses to better keep the cost of production in line with a business's budget and profit creation strategy. As design engineers are responsible for determining the specific components for their Wi-Fi solution, going back-and-forth on redesigns due to budgetary constraints can be very frustrating. It may be easy to lose sight of overall business goals when searching for the perfect part, but there are some key areas to keep top-of-mind while selecting components that will help reduce design costs and keep production budgets on track.
The following suggestions for working component costs into your Wi-Fi design budget can help keep teams aligned and prevent costly, and frustrating, redesigns. This checklist applies to any size project and is designed for both first-time planners, as well as more experienced project managers.
Identify Your Target Market
Knowing your end user is critical as the Wi-Fi market for high-end products is significantly different than that of lower-end products. The variance in user demographics comes with established price ranges, expected features and performance criteria that will all directly affect your budget from both a design standpoint as well as sales and profit outlook. Depending on the budget with which you're working, tradeoffs in performance and features can come with big shifts in the cost to source the needed components, as well as end-product pricing. Knowing what can and cannot be sacrificed will provide initial guidance on how to look for components that fit your budget as well as the quality and reliability needed for your solutions to sell effectively. While a higher-quality component often correlates to a higher procurement cost, this isn't always the case. As we'll cover later, choosing the proper Wi-Fi RF front-end (RFFE) solution can provide high performance along with cost- and space-savings.