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Wireless Networks Thread, External Infrastructure Support - does anyone have any??? in Technical; ...
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    External Infrastructure Support - does anyone have any???

    Hi all,

    I was wondering if anyone on this forum had any kind of support contract for any of the network hardware (or telephony) you have in your schools.

    The reason I ask is that we were a new build three years ago and whilst I was involved in the design and specification of certain aspects the money was dealt with externally. We have reached the end of our three-year warranty period and the renewal invoice for 1 years support on network infrastructure has come through at £23,000!

    My first thought was quite a simple, lets drop the support and continue maintaining everything on site. We have only used the support contract around 4 times in the past 3 years (and we could probably have resolved two of those ourselves with a little more time) and never needed them in an emergency. In addition both myself and our technician are relatively highly skilled and happy making simple config changes to the network/telephony.

    My only concern is what to do if something goes really wrong and it is something we cannot fix... particularly as our telephony contract is involved! What does everyone else do?

    Cheers,
    Michael

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    dwhyte85's Avatar
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    Re-define the contract. Include telephony support and ask for solely third line support, see if it comes in any cheaper? Or just see if you can get them on a call-out on those emergencies, it may cost a bit more - but if it's infrequent (like you've said), it'll come to nothing near 23K.

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    they are actually looking into the contract now but I can't see it dropping a significant amount. Also, I have asked them about ad-hoc support and they aid it is something they provide but we could be waiting around 5 days for an engineer.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    I suppose it is a question of risks as well. If it is IT support, we are always here 24/7, and if you look around you will find not one querstion that has not been answered, and all for free! As for hardware and telephony, many here setpu and manage their own systems with no support at all bar EduGeek. If I were you I'd budget for emergencies, say 10k per annum, and what is not spent at the end of the bugetary year you use for network upgrades. When it comes to fixing things it is all about experience, competancy and ability. Modern networking hardware is quite resiliant and rarely fails, and if it does, is either swapped out under warranty or repaired. You can repair most items yourself (saving oodles of cash) or call someone out and pay them to do it, but I would always see if it can be fixed in house first.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    I forgot to add, what was it you had repaired by them in the past? I would like to know, becuase it gives us an idea of what areas you could be doing yourself without realising.

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyBeRkId2002 View Post
    they are actually looking into the contract now but I can't see it dropping a significant amount. Also, I have asked them about ad-hoc support and they aid it is something they provide but we could be waiting around 5 days for an engineer.
    have you shopped around for cheaper quotes for support 'contracts' or even other options for ad-hoc support with callout/hourly rates and typical response times.

    i know where your coming from with the concern about wanting that backup for situations where you do have problems which can't be resolved between yourself and your technician [or you don't have the luxury of time to resolve major issues]. it'd be a bit too good to be true to get a support company that would respond to ad-hoc requests at non-punitive ates within 24 hours without you having to buy into a support contract....do such companies exist ? do you even need that ?

    how would mgmt feel about your third line support plan being effectively your own expertise and info you can gain from forums such as this ? in other words DIY solutions. as dos_box says others seem to have managed but i bet not without quite a few grey hairs along the way.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Indeed. Just what is it the contract covers? IT Hardware, software? Cabling (which rarely, if ever fails). Do they still bill you for parts?

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    Hi again,

    At present the invoice covers all aspects of the network (inc cabling, hardware, upgrades etc.) but they are adjusting that for core items only at present.

    The kind of problems I am talking about and concerned about are not the run of the mill things and are very network specific (ie. what to do if our Cisco Call Manager Express goes down. We have backups of the config in place but have never needed them *touch wood* so am not sure how smoothly this would go in practice. The fact we have various QoS, VLANs etc. involved just make me think that one day something will come up that I cannot fix). As such I am not sure such aspects would have been covered on here.

    I think my best approach would be to get a few quotes on ad-hoc support mainly on the telephony side of things and see if I can get some kind of SLA if I agree to buy X number of credits in a year...

    Would love to hear anyone else's opinions.

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    Dos_Box's Avatar
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    Why not ask your work to send you on said appliance training? Ir would proberbly be chepaer and you would feel a lot more confidant in your abilities. After all, teh sectret to being a sucessful techy is 60% experience and training and 40% the knowlege and cofidance that you can climb out of any holes you may have dug!

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    ooops, forgot to add. Support requests so far have been once when the entire WLAN went down which turned out to be a certificate issue on the Wireless Controller (something they did not inform us about during the handover) and a strange voicemail issue (around 50% of voicemail was being stored, the rest lost) which was a config issue when the system was commisioned.

    As above, generally we are fine when it comes to most things (commisioning handsets, reconfiguring voicemail, changing VLAN ports on switches, making regular backups) but all the same would like to have a plan in place should one of our critical system fails to a point we cannot fix.

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    SpuffMonkey's Avatar
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    Have to agree - that our network support contract is the one I'm least happy with - its very expensive, and the firm is never very helpful around the edges of the stipulated contract.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    I would scrap the support contract or keep them on with a contract where you only pay if you need the help at c per hour as for that kind of money you can employ another technician

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