In many of these cases, although the individual function or design cannot be assessed by the design six sigma quality methodology, the system architecture can be evaluated using six sigma techniques. For example, a combined software and hardware system，such as a communication system for downloading data to many remote location can have specifications such as total new information download time to all receivers or subscribers in less than a specified time.
In a typical communication system, variables could be software- based, such as the data transfer rate, the maximum message size, the actual data packet per frame, and the size of overhead and control bits. Hardware-based issues could also be varied such as the number of control units to channel the messages, the cabling scheme to distribute the messages, the interface converters for each receiver, and the number of receivers per interface.
An example six sigma analysis could be based on the overall specification to download all information from the central node to all receivers in the system to less than one minute. The design of the system architecture, such as different frame sizes, content overhead, timing allocation through the system, and cabling schemes can be examined, and trade-offs made to achieve maximum design quality or | six sigma. The design quality characteristic to be used in six sigma calculations is based on download time versus the number of receivers in the system.