Reggie Grant, cofounder of BradReese.Com Cisco Repair, discusses repair as an alternative to Cisco SMARTnet. The highly successful Cisco business model has customers purchase Cisco equipment, brand new, through their channel distribution system. This new Cisco equipment comes with the standard Cisco 90 day warranty. For a customer to get support on this equipment, they need to purchase an annual Cisco Smartnet Maintenance Contract on the equipment. Cisco SMARTnet provides the customer with a contract allowing telephone access to Cisco TAC engineering support. Cisco TAC has a superb reputation of helping Cisco equipment customers with engineering support as well as advance replacement warranty if the equipment fails. The SMARTnet contract also allows Cisco equipment customers to download the latest revisions of software if they wish to upgrade their equipment. Trade Journals indicate Cisco SMARTnet accounts for around 20 percent (one article said close to 30%) of Cisco annual revenues. Brand new Cisco equipment purchased through channel distribution and Cisco Factory Refurbished (part numbers end with “RF”) are both eligible for Cisco SMARTnet maintenance contracts. There are Cisco equipment customers who, for various reasons, do not wish to purchase Cisco SMARTnet maintenance. In Cisco’s business model there is no plan or service for the repair of non-covered equipment. If non-covered equipment fails, then the owner of the equipment will need to dispose of it (in an environmentally safe way) and purchase new or refurbished replacement equipment. There is an alternative! Several companies in the United States have invested a great deal of capital into hardware engineering time and equipment to develop methods and processes to repair Cisco equipment. Since Cisco does not have a provision for the repair of this equipment, they do not provide schematics and other support of repair services. It takes a great deal of time and investment in the repair lab and systems to be able to repair Cisco equipment. This is the reason there are just a few companies providing repair services on this equipment. We found the length of time to reach the point of being an economically reliable repair facility is at least 3 years. We have been focused on Cisco equipment repair for over 8 years. Not all Cisco equipment is repairable, but many problems are fixable. There are several reasons that Cisco equipment may be beyond repair. Electrical storms can sometimes destroy many parts of a piece of Cisco equipment, causing the equipment to be beyond repair. Some board level chips are not available, and if one of these has failed, then there is nothing that can be done. Shorts or problems within multilayer boards are beyond repair. Another problem we are seeing is equipment with attempted repairs, which actually destroyed repairable equipment. Occasionally we have a repair customer who feels that their problem is isolated to a particular part such as a single blade or a power supply. The repair is completed of the part but once installed by the customer, the failure re-occurs. Many of these Routers and Switches are of a Modular design – basically complicated systems. Something else in the router or switch can be causing the problem and system failure. For instance, if you have a power supply failure, it is recommended to have the whole unit shipped in, and repaired. The Lab will repair the problem and run the whole piece of equipment through the testing process to make sure there are not other problems with the equipment. Most problems with Cisco Equipment are repairable. Questions to ask your Cisco Repair depot. 1. How many years have you been focused on Cisco equipment repair? 2. Do you have the correct chassis or test bed to work on your particular equipment? 3. What is your Warranty on the repair and how do you handle your repaired equipment problems? 4. Where is your Repair Depot? What I recommend that a Cisco equipment repair customer do, is to provide your repair consultant with a good description of the problems or symptoms of the non-working equipment. This gives the Lab Tech, assigned the repair job, a starting point to run the piece of equipment through the testing process and begin the repair. Also be sure to mention any history issues with the equipment. The main reason that Cisco equipment owners decide not to purchase Cisco SMARTnet maintenance is economic. We have one customer with multiple locations. The IT department keeps spares of routers and switches on the shelf. If any thing has failed, they have a spare unit to put in place and collect the failed units. When they have about 10 pieces they request an RMA # to ship in the equipment. A quick calculation gives me a rough estimate that Cisco SMARTnet will cost this company $400,000 per year. Last year, this customer had equipment repair costs of $24,000. Saving $376,000 is a lot of money for any enterprise. Another company has time issues with SMARTnet. This company has locations in close proximity to their core location. Their group IT leader is committed to having any location which goes down, back up in an hour. This is less time than Cisco can provide with their highest level of service. This company has spares on their shelf. When they have a failed unit, they get it repaired and then place it on the shelf as a spare. Cisco repair service is not for everybody. But there are companies making good use of BradReese.Com's expert board level Cisco repair service. Do you have a Cisco repair question? Reggie Grant will be monitoring this blog in order to answer any questions you may like to ask. http://www.BradReese.Com
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