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Step 1: Buy from Authorized Cisco Reseller

Here are things you need to know up front when you plan to buy Cisco (non-Linksys) equipments.

1. Buy a new-never-used Cisco equipment from reliable store or seller, which a local Cisco reseller is preferable. Following is a list of some of them that are specialized in home users and small businesses.

7025 Kit Creek Drive
Lake Building
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709
Phone: 919-574-1809
Fax: 919-392-9999

7100-8 Kit Creek Road
PO Box 14987
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709-4987
Phone: 919-574-1809

7200-11 Kit Creek Road
PO Box 14987
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709-4987
Phone: 919-392-2000

The below is a just a small (one person) sales office.

7900 Triad Center Drive, Suite 337
Greensboro, North Carolina 27409

The above Cisco offices in RTP are known to be "crazy", with 30-50% discounts or more. The reason that they are also a corporate location, and they want market share.

Ask about "small business discounts", "bundles", promotions, Cisco refurbished etc.

For additional list of Cisco authorized resellers, check out the following official Cisco link
Locate a Cisco Partner Near You

2. When you buy the equipment, don't forget to buy also the proper Smartnet contract for the equipment. Following FAQ has more info on Smartnet.
»Cisco Forum FAQ »What is Smartnet? Do I need one?

3. To make it easy for you, buy both the equipment and the Smartnet contract from the same store or seller; and have them register the equipment

4. For most home users and small businesses, current Cisco 800 series router should be sufficient

5. Talk with local Cisco pre- and post-sales to ensure you are on their radar. You will need these folks to help you to get through Cisco support process.

If you don't know who your local Cisco pre- and post-sales are, your local Cisco reseller should be able to help you to get in touch with them.

Step 2: Finding Suitable Cisco Equipment

Now let's say you already have the equipment and it is time for installation and configuration. When you have no or limited knowledge of networking, here are some tips.

1. When you plan to connect the equipment to your ISP, make sure you have all the info you need. There are things you need to ask your ISP and other things you might need to ask your seller or store where you buy the Cisco equipment.

2. Questions to ask your ISP include

* Connection method to ISP: PPP (either PPPoE or PPPoA), static IP, DHCP (dynamically assigned)
* IP address you will get from your ISP (the public IP address) along with the subnet mask, default gateway, and DNS server IP address
* Equipment speed setting necessary: full duplex, half duplex, or auto

Following FAQ lists some things to expect when dealing with ISP to setup network for home users and small businesses.
»Cisco Forum FAQ »Things to expect when setup network for home or small business

3. Questions to ask your seller or store include

* Cisco TAC or Support Center phone number and email address
* Serial number of the Cisco equipment, which your seller ought to prove that it is in Cisco database

4. Once you have all the necessary info, follow the Quick Start Up instruction that come with the equipment to install and setup

Step 3: Be Prepare of the Worst

With any device, a top notch technical support can be a lifesaver to avoid experiencing the following situation.
»Re: [Config] Hmmm. interface ATM0 remains down, line protocol remains down

When you have the following, most of the time you will never experience the worst.
* Active Smartnet contract
* Online Cisco account with updated info (name, company, phone number, email address, and shipping address)
* Cisco TAC or Support Center phone number and email address
* Serial number of the Cisco equipment, which has been verified to be in Cisco database
* Contact number and email address of local Cisco pre- and post-sale team members


For a glimpse, it looks like there are a lot to prepare when dealing with Cisco equipment. Well, don't quit just yet. :)

All those things are necessary (sometime required) to make things go smoothly. Keep in mind that Cisco equipments are built with reliability as #1 priority. Therefore Cisco equipments can be "picky" in terms of installation, configuration, and support. All of these are to ensure that everything work just as is supposed to be.

You might ask, "why do I not have to go through this with Netgear, Linksys, DLink, or similar brand?". Yes, those brands are easy to use, are they? :) However that easiness comes with big consequences. The brand sacrifices reliability a lot. That is why when you poke into Netgear, Linksys, or DLink forum; you always find horror stories that leads to unreliable equipments.

So prepare yourself. There might be few bumps in the ride. Relax, it is only a process. We are always here to help anyway. Once you get through it, you can just leave your Cisco equipment alone and never to be touched again. It runs solid as a rock once you get it right :D

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by aryoba See Profile
last modified: 2014-06-24 23:34:24